Friday, 30 June 2017

Beautiful music

This song makes my heart ache every time - both joyful and a bit sad all at once 

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Let me see you yoga!

Good morning!

Yesterday I felt a renewed urge to commit to my previously held ideal of doing yoga each day. So I started a 30 day yoga challenge.

And I immediately felt better for it.

It's easy to find excuses, and boy have I found them! Sometimes I need more sleep (a hangover from a nasty case of glandular fever a while back), or want to go for a walk in the morning before work (ideal in conjunction with the yoga, not instead of), or I need to make lunch because I didn't do it the night before.  And I'm a night owl, so it's not my normal preference to go to bed early.

But every time I get on the mat, I wonder why it took me so long to get back here. For me, yoga isn't just about physical fitness, or flexibility - although it is great for those too. The biggest benefit for me is always the dedicated time to be focused, and check in with myself, both physically and mentally. I work in a fast paced job, so it's an everyday occurrence for my mind to be racing at 100 miles an hour, and sometimes it's hard to break out of that pattern. Yoga is mindfulness, alignment, and deep breath.

I can see why it's such a popular pastime in western culture, where things buzz along at a hectic pace at all hours of the day. If you can't get to the countryside, mountains, or the beach, get to yoga!

I am fortunate to live in an area closely to a river, parklands, and not too far from the botanical gardens, and I love to take walks (or a bike ride) through these natural spaces, but it is also totally divine to take my yoga mat down to a grassy spot near the river early in the morning or just before dusk, and get some fresh air, and a few mindful moments.

My favourite go-to yoga at the moment is the wonderful Yoga with Adriene, and I'm working through the 30 days of yoga playlist.

If you're new to yoga, or feel like an intro to the course, jump in and check out the above.

I'm on day two, as below:

And if you feel like a sweet sitar mix to go along with your yoga, wrap your ears around this mix by Dubtrak.

Namaste :)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Feels like Sunday!

Happy Easter! 

It definitely feels like a gorgeous Sunday today.

No chocolate eggs for me, but I did sneak a piece of divine flour less chocolate cake for afternoon tea. I'd show you a picture but it's all gone - too delish!

I've been down at the cultural precinct this afternoon soaking up some sunshine, enjoying the green spaces and high-ceilinged spaces, under the pre tense of planning my forthcoming trip. 

Sadly no planning has yet been done, it's been too gorgeous a day! 

Check it out:

It's a beautiful day to be outside!

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Work and changing jobs

So it seems my version of 'regular blogging' leaves a bit to be desired!

I've been on a bit of a journey in the last 12-18 months after leaving a job which made me seriously miserable and was less than helpful to my health.

It's surprised me how long it's taken me to get back to feeling like my normal self; mostly because in the downhill unravelling of myself which led up to said leaving-of-job I didn't really notice the change. But boy was it some change!

I'm enjoying once more being able to go for long hikes / walks / bike rides without falling asleep immediately afterwards, and I'm also enjoying having enough energy that I want to spend time with people again. 

An aside, social anxiety is a fucker.

Anyhow, I left my job, had some semi-deliberate time off (the  Christmas / New Years period is not the most abundant for job-hunting), did a bunch of temp work, made some new friends, and then found a job with a company that is amazing. 

Now I'm learning a new role with them which is challenging but very interesting. It's challenging in some ways because by the nature of it, it contains some of the aspects of my previous job which at the time were quite negative experiences for me. 

It's an interesting task to re-train my brain that those aspects are not necessarily negative in and of themselves, when you have a supportive team, manager, and organisation. Which is nice! :)

And to the time that I left, I felt so stuck that I had put off leaving because I couldn't imagine there'd be another job which wouldn't just be more of the same. 

If you are thinking of leaving a job which is making you miserable, take heart, you have options, even when you think you don't. 

Resources which helped me:

"Who moved my cheese?" by Spencer Johnson
"What colour is your parachute?" by Richard N. Bolles
"Crush it!" by Gary Vaynerchuk
"How to solve our human problems" by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - I went to some kadampa buddhism day courses and teachings as well, which were great.

Above all else, make sure you put some good networks in place before you leave - LinkedIn profile can be your best friend, and don't be afraid to reach out to people who work in your desired field / organisation, particularly those who are in hiring manager positions or human resources. A great recruiter can be your best asset, too. :)

Friday, 14 November 2014

Welcome to the red zone!

It wouldn't surprise me if I began to dream of the sound of endless choppers over my head after this past fortnight!

I live pretty close to the so called 'red zone'  for G20, so things have been a little bit surreal in my neighbourhood of late, with hundreds of police on the street, extra patrols down suburban streets, and even police boats on the river, from little zippy ones to the giant ominous looking ones. I'm pretty happy I live in a part of town which is frequently open on public holidays etc, and I have most things I need right here - lucky too, as public transport will be a bit of a trick this weekend.

I was walking home from the city on Thursday night (missed the last bus before 7pm public transport mayhem commenced!) and was witness to a large motorcade coming through off the expressway and across George Street. Which was on one hand quite impressive, but on the other, sort of just annoying as it held up the traffic and crossing lights for a while.

Although academically it makes sense to have additional security for this many heads of state all being in town at once, I do get the feeling that Brisbane thinks it's all a little bit funny, really!

I mean, all the buildings around Riverside started to go into lock-down from midway through the week - but quite bizarrely you might have 3 in one block with MEGA security, and then one (e.g. my building) which had no lock-down or security at all!

Having to go out on meetings through the course of my day, I encountered my first secured building and was told that if I did have a meeting with this person I would have to call them and they would have to come down and meet me. Now, given the extra security wasn't expected that early, I hadn't thought to bring the phone number with me. Which I explained to the security guard as we were chatting. I showed him emails on my phone demonstrating the meeting confirmation, and asked him if I would be able to be swiped up to the relevant floor.

To which he very politely obliged!

Hmm. I'm pretty sure that I shouldn't have been able to talk my way up there!

I had a few similar experiences throughout the week, and came to the conclusion that us Brisbanites must on some level just not believe that anyone would really be bothered to blow up our buildings!!

That said, I am glad that the police haven't taken that approach, no matter how unnerving it is to look up from one's phone and see 35 police walking along the street toward you, or making tourists show them all the pictures of produce they've just taken at the fruit & veg market.

I'd say I'm off to the local pool for a swim on this muggy afternoon, but wouldn't you know it, the G20 summit has red-zoned the pool. :)  Be careful of those girls in bikinis, leaders, you never know what they might be concealing!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A brief thought on decision making

I tend to be a fan of the idea of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence.

Sometimes I encounter an idea or theme several times in quick succession from unrelated sources. 

For example, recently there has been a running theme of people in my life REALLY itching for major change.  This week the theme seems to have been around joy.

I have to being by confessing that I am a total nerd sometimes, and was reading an article about home organisation, entitled "Kissing Your Socks Goodbye (Home Organization Advice from Marie Kondo)". Often these articles will be framed around 'have you worn it in the last year?'; or 'is it classic or trend-based?'. Yep, those navy, knee-high socks with the gold anchor button on the side are totally classic! 

This article was framed around the question 'does it spark joy?' - which as the author points out, seems to be a high bar to set for something like a sock or a tee shirt - but is a pretty good question to ask yourself of most things in your life, if you really think of it!

This evening I also read a short piece from Rebecca Campbell, called 'Will it light you up?'

Central to these is the idea that all your small decisions in life ultimately make up the larger picture.

Which seems obvious, really, but is sometimes so far away when you're mired in the situation itself.

Annie Dillard said it best, I think, when she said "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

"In Defense of Ms Hill"

What a beautiful Sunday morning!

After a much needed 15 hour nap (more on that one later) I was woken up by the birds outside my window, and a morning that was fresh and cool - a welcome relief in the muggy, pre-summer heat.

In the spirit of Sundays, I've been relaxing, reading, and basically having a lovely slow start to the day. Something I'd love to say I do every day, but alas! Not yet to be.

So this morning I was having a look through Gala Darling's weekly round-up (aka 'Carousel'). Carousel is almost always full of some pretty interesting articles - thought provoking, cute, uplifting, or just giggle inducing.

Talib Kweli's article 'In Defense of Ms Hill' definitely falls into the thought provoking category. It's long for the twitter / instagram-age standards of today, but certainly worth a read.

I'd suggest you read the article, but as a summary, Kweli talks about the criticism and judgement that seemed to be thrust upon Lauryn Hill after her musical style changed direction. She was in the press on fewer occasions, her music sounded different, and she generally seemed to want to have her own life and pursue things for herself and her family, rather than live her life on a public stage.

Which, yannow, seems like a pretty reasonable thing to want to do.

But what seemed to happen was that people felt that Lauryn Hill owed them something. Like her live show should remain in stasis and always be perfectly representative of the songs we heard on 'The Score', or 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'.  Like she should perform when and how we wanted her to.

There were blogs posted about why Ms Hill was no longer worthy of our attention, like 'we' were some pubescent brats with an overinflated sense of entitlement.

I thought about how we view public figures, and artists particularly - musicians, visual artists, writers, or otherwise.  I can't think of a great artist whose career has endured who HASN'T gone through different creative periods - these different periods allow the artist to develop and hone their own style.

Picasso is a great example in the art world - most people know him for his cubist works like 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' or 'Guernica', but if you look back over the course of his career, you can see certain stylistic devices developing over time, and it is these devices that help us to recognise his unique style.

In terms of a dramatic change of style in music, we need only look to Madonna. I can't imagine she'd be doing too well if she were still running around playing only 'True Blue', 'Holiday' and 'Material Girl'.

Lots of artists live parts of their lives in the public sphere, but it doesn't mean we should have an access-all-areas pass to know and judge everything about them. At the end of the day, even people like Madonna (who has actively courted the media through her career) are entitled to change their creative style, do so more or less in the public sphere, and retain their privacy to their personal lives.

Kweli makes such a great point - that we as an audience are gifted with the fruits of an artist's creative labour. They do not owe us anything. We are in fact privileged that they have chosen to share something so personal with us.

Creating is a personal process, it's humbling and vulnerable - it's not like manufacturing, where you produce thousands of identical items to a brief from your client. You're creating something which is uniquely of yourself, and your personal experience.

For an audience, what could be more privileged than that?