Know-How develops with experience

There is so much of Australia I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing.  I grew up in Canberra, had four of my children here and then lived interstate for over 20 years. Having done full circle in two decades I’m living in Canberra once again enjoying my first autumn after many years.

Autumn in Canberra is spectacular.

Different shades of reds, orange and yellow colours make for quite a display in the suburbs. It’s as though someone has come along and opened the big wide doors to nature’s own art gallery.

The temperature is quietly getting colder week by week.

Every now and then the smell of wood burning catches my attention immediately taking me back to childhood and simplicity. So many memories and moments have filled up time and space creating my story and unique experiences crafting me into the person I am today.

Some decades ago as a toddler I took my first steps (although I have no memory of that) those first steps would have been taken with caution and new found excitement!!! A whole new world opens up to a toddler once they start walking. Everything out of reach becomes a possibility. Every step taken accomplishes new ground and builds strength and balance. A walking toddler begins a season of learning and discovery.

As children we begin life inexperienced, relying on significant people in our lives to teach us the basics. School educates us to read and write while socialising and being a part of families and society teaches us basic life skills.

Everyone begins with a clean slate, no experience, until we step through each stage in life. Whether we get through those stages successfully or not there will always be lessons learned. These crucial lessons are ones in which you would never be able to grasp simply by reading a textbook!

Do we always get it right?

NO!!! heck no….

Life is somewhat trial and error.

Most of us begin each stage of life with a positive outlook. At times we experience apprehension and nerves while occasionally bursting with wild excitement at the anticipation of what we have to look forward to.

The fear of the unknown is something I have grappled with all of my life. When something is foreign or unknown to me I can get nervous. I much prefer to be prepared. I am not one for too many surprises and unexpected situations.

TRUE FACT ABOUT ME:  If caught up in the scene of a critical emergency such as witnessing a bad car accident I instantly FREEZE. My brain might scream at me to DO something, anything YET my body won’t cooperate. I’m completely useless as I stand there unable to flinch a muscle horrified and shocked to the core.

In much the same way if a person approaches me with an expected harsh tone of voice & words I will more likely freeze on the inside. When unprepared for a conflict or simply someone’s rudeness my response is one of surprise and shock. I’m certainly not quick with come backs in those types of situations.

I’m more likely analysing the situation picking it to pieces attempting to find out what just happened?

What did I miss?

What is this person’s problem?

As a young person unexpected tones and words had potential to trigger me into myself. I would behave as a turtle and attempt to hide out of harm’s way.

I was inexperienced.

I had no confidence or healthy self-esteem.

A person’s reaction or behaviour was always about me!

It had to be me I would reason.

My self-worth and value was always measured by other people. If they seemed to dislike me then I believed the problem was me, most times!

It didn’t occur to me that it may have had NOTHING to do with me. Perhaps the other person was having a bad day, a bad week or a bad life.

OR

Perhaps this other person had issues of their own that were triggered whenever I was around. Quite possibly the person didn’t like me, my worst nightmare. I always wanted people to like me.

It has taken decades to detach or separate my self-worth or value from another person’s treatment of me. I’ve been learning that despite how a person chooses to treat me it isn’t my fault. If I had nothing to do with it then I had nothing to do with it.

Simple…..

Having lived life for over four decades experiencing a countless number of scenarios in circumstances and relationships I have developed and matured as a person. In many of those scenarios I was inexperienced lacking confidence and direction. I was easily led by others, sometimes led into the wrong direction contrary to the values I held.

The inexperience made me vulnerable; at times I trusted too much ignoring the contradictions which were set off like a warning bell. I fought against those contradictions over and over again. I talked myself into believing my own thoughts and values didn’t matter. Decades of burying and ignoring what was important to me started taking its toll.

I lost myself….

No matter how hard I tried to convince myself that my thoughts, feelings, values and ideas were not that important, I gradually became aware of how much I was missing out on being the person I was designed to be. Once the awareness started I could no longer ignore what was important to me.

Awareness took place over denial…..

Life is a journey of discovery! Every new stage presents unknowns as we step through inexperienced. We have the potential to make mistakes and “NEWS FLASH “we do make mistakes….

One more fact about me: I can be known for being a bit of a perfectionist! Making mistakes is something I do my best to avoid. My best intentions can’t stop mistakes. The more experiences I have walked through the less I have held onto the idea of perfection!

I’m far less concerned about what people think of me now than when I was younger.

Last July 2016 as my marriage of 27 years literally toppled over in one night I had moments in which I was angry with myself for being married soooo long in an unhealthy relationship.

HOWEVER,

After some nine months or more I’m no longer angry with myself. I see the failed marriage as experience that I could have never gained from a text book. The experience will continue on with me for the rest of my life of which I can share my learning with others who may be in a similar situation.

As tempting as it might be don’t beat yourself up for mistakes made remember we are all inexperienced as we begin life.

NO ONE is an expert!

Don’t allow your past mistakes to prevent you from moving forward in life. The truth is if you sit still in order to remain safe you risk missing out on something wonderful.

Don’t stay frozen!!!!

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Don’t discount the little things.

Let’s face it, in today’s climate it is all too easy to get swept up into believing only large headlines are important and impacting. We can easily be drawn into attention grabbing successful highlights seen on t.v, social media and magazines or in the lives of people we rub shoulders with. Sometimes attention is placed on that which shines brighter and sounds louder coupled with a belief which provides the illusion that amazing happiness will follow once we reach this unreachable dream we are all seemingly searching for?

That until you have the most important job, biggest house or richest bank account and large influential group of friends you have in some ways not made it yet…  How is it that so much of life that shines brighter and sounds louder has been exalted to such a point in which all of the little things can be discounted and unnoticed?

Personally I have nothing against success or highlights, wins or gains!

How many of us have experienced amazing success?

In life we all experience different wins and gains which come wrapped up quite uniquely.

A big win for me came about only a few months ago when I finally got accepted for employment. While it is only a three month contract at this stage I have learnt so much from the job itself. In my job I get to talk to people who are at their worst and often feel very distressed. I talk with people who were like me only a few months ago and are searching for employment. These people are struggling financially and some are facing all sorts of personal challenges. As I sit at my desk each day I witness individuals pouring out their hurts and fears. These people tell me how hard their life is. I hear of tragedies’ and personal deep challenges some are fighting! I hear about their rejections in life and the hopelessness they feel as they keep searching for someone to give them a job. Many of the people I see are highly qualified in their field. I get to sit with the average mum who is looking for a job to the once very successful career high flyer.

Each person that sits at my desk I take notice of.  Each life is valuable. I don’t discount my position in that moment. While my job is not one of bright lights and glamour it is one of the most important roles I have ever had the privilege of working in. Each day as I walk out of the doors to head home I smile as I think about the ways in which I’ve sprinkled a little hope purely by listening, encouraging and supporting.

When was the last time you sat with someone and truly listened to what their heart was saying?

Listening, caring, encouraging, understanding, supporting and empathy are powerful tools we all have in our tool belt. These tools or qualities are not loud or noticeable to the world.  They are all too often forgotten and discounted. Yet when you consider the power these tools have to help someone why are they less utilised?

Think about it for a minute!

What are your fondest memories?

For myself I can remember several occasions throughout my childhood and teenage years in which there were significant people that took the time out to ask me how I was. At the time it meant the world to me. I have never forgotten those people or those memories.

In today’s climate it’s often easy to get shocked when someone genuinely cares about how you are doing?

These ‘little things’ are not little at all.

There are days when I sit at my desk and get frustrated that I can’t do more for people yet the little things that I can do are welcomed more than I could have imagined. In fact I’m regularly taken by surprise after the person I have just spent a little time with genuinely thanks me for believing in them. It is as though they are empty and haven’t heard anything positive for a long time.

A sprinkle of encouragement goes a long way.

Encouragement has the power to make a person’s life brighter and their smile bigger.

People are people despite their status in society. Some I sit with work packing shelves while others are highly educated and have held positions one can only dream about. No matter the status they all appreciate being heard, encouraged, believed in and supported. What is more amazing is that no one has questioned my credentials or experience. It is an industry I have never worked in before and while no credentials are needed to perform my role in this job I take the position seriously and regard each person I have appointments with as someone I have the opportunity to speak hope too!

Most times it is those quiet little things that are more powerful long term then anything that shines bright or sounds loud.

Jobs, relationships, finances, possessions, qualifications, status, friends, health can all change in a moment without warning.

While encouragement, support and genuine care and concern are always available if we choose to use them and are never forgotten by the people we give them too!

Let’s not focus on the shining lights and loud attention grabbing illusions but rather put our energy and efforts into the little things that make life bigger and better for each of us.

And in the meantime …….

Over the past few months after commencing employment  I have experienced UPs⇑⇑ and downs⇓⇓accompanied by ‘out of my comfort zone’ episodes. Being someone who would rather DO life prepared for how things were going to work out I have had to develop another level of patience and trust. If it hasn’t been enough to deal with everything involved in a marriage breakdown having started a new job in an industry I have never worked in before has stretched me beyond my limits and my wildest of dreams.

The fact is all I have ever known for the past 27 years is how to function in the role of wife and mum. Having been uprooted from Brisbane to Canberra some eight months ago as a single mum I’ve been travelling through a process of discovering who I am?

Questions continually bubble to the surface such as;

Have I got what it takes to make it on my own?

Is my life going to look like the typical ‘single mum’ movies in which I am working my arse off to make ends meet?

Will I ever be able to trust another man completely?

How long will it take until I feel whole and free of everything attached to my previous relationship of 27 years?

IF I get the opportunity of being in a relationship in the future will it work out?

OR should I just swallow the painful bullet and stay single for the rest of my life?

These are all valid and important questions.

Everything I knew previously has been uprooted!

I experience moments of uncertainty, fear and plenty of ‘unknowns’….

Most days I appear calm and confident on the outside while often trembling on the inside. The truth is that I had the wife and mum role all sorted out. Regardless of any relationship issues I was familiar with my life and knew how to function without too much thought. Similar to driving the same route every day, there is no need to think about it, you just do it!!!

It becomes AUTOMATIC!

Life was routine and manageable. On the difficult days I had worked out how to ignore the pain. I kept myself occupied and busy with study and housework. I managed to find reasons for being THANKFUL despite the thousands of questions that circulated around in my head like the spin cycle of a washing machine. For so many years my kids kept me sane and filled my life with purpose in the midst of feeling insecure and confused.

Life continued on as the sun went up and the sun went down. Days and months meshed into years’ worth of doing the best I could with what I had. In the meantime I was growing on the inside. I got stronger and wiser. I began to recognise my worth and value. The more I recognised my value the harder everything got in my relationship. I was no longer satisfied with how I felt treated. Eventually I found myself sticking up for myself!

I was able to say enough is enough!

In this new season of life while my heart is healing the sun comes up and the sun goes down. I’m growing in confidence in what I can achieve on my own. So far after eight months I have gotten my own place to live and a job. In the meantime I am growing stronger every day functioning in my new role as single mum. I don’t know what I am doing most of the time so it is a bit of a walk in the dark as I navigate new territory.

At work I often feel like I am in a boxing ring with myself and my doubts. The doubts start beating me into the corner while my determination fights back. I can’t afford for doubts to win.  I’m not used to being in the boxing ring by myself. I do have friends and family who have my back and support me outside the boxing ring yet it’s up to me to keep fighting through all of the challenges as I create a new life for myself and my two boys who live with me.

In the meantime as life continues it is all about going through the daily motions staying hopeful of better days to come. I often remind myself that it doesn’t matter if I don’t have it all together, it doesn’t all need to make sense. I can learn to enjoy the season I am in right now regardless of how it looks or feels.

In this new season I am a novice but soon enough I will have gained experience and confidence in my own decision making. I suppose as a young person I wasn’t very good at making the right decisions which led me to where I am today… Nothing is ever wasted or lost as I pick up the pieces and not only make a new life for myself and my two boys but use my story to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

In the meantime, as you remain hopeful for life to gain clarity and direction enjoy the moment!!! Every moment matters, enjoyment isn’t limited to the loud and exciting highlights we experience.

 

Mixed emotions…..

Are you feeling the pain of loss?

I get it !!!! so im keeping it real...

Mixed emotions can feel like pieces of you have just been cut up and put into a blender to be made into some kind of smoothie. Only this smoothie is bitter and tasteless, it’s one of those drinks you wouldn’t make for your worst enemy.

It sounds like a harsh recipe but life can be harsh sometimes!

When living through an extremely harsh time it can feel like you are slowly sipping that bitter tasteless smoothie by force. You don’t want to drink it but somehow it feels as though you’re being forced too.

While you are drinking this horrible drink you can see others enjoying their chocolate smoothie and you just wish you could swap with someone for just a moment and have a taste of something better instead of bitter.

The mixed emotions start to have a voice and all you can hear are the words “Why me?”

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