Thursday, November 27, 2014

Self Care

I'm procrastinating...I'm up to a really hard part in the book  - 'Our Story' - that I'm writing with my Father. I admit, I'm not looking forward to this part, but it is this journey coupled with how things have been in the past couple of years that have made me realize the importance of 'Self Care!' - not just the physical, the mental too!

Sometimes you have to find it within yourself to be selfish - which is not easy when you have a lot of people relying on you!  You have to find it within yourself, to look after your health and sanity and make sure that you're all together, so you can be the best person that you can for the crowds who need you most. I'm grateful to have a Father who admonishes me when I don't take enough rest, or I don't eat properly, or I stress too much! 

So recently I've been on a quest to better self care. I was probably the healthiest I'd been in a long time while living in NYC. I had my live-in Chef/s, we always ate well, we lived on spinach which really made a huge difference to me...I always ate oatmeal for breakfast which is awesome for losing weight, and I walked up to five hours a day! I came home and sat down to write and I've not been as diligent since coming back to Australia almost six months ago. I can't believe I've been home as long as I was gone...well almost...I'm loving it! I adore where I live but I am not as motivated to walk because I have a vehicle to get me places, which we didn't have in New York. I'm not carrying home groceries anymore, I'm not pushing a stroller for miles each day, through snow (which is bloody hard going) and I'm not walking up and down a million flights of stairs of week on the subway! So...

So...I had to change my thinking since coming home... I don't love walking....but I learned to like it. So we do laps around the Lake and I'm grateful there are at least four different routes I could go... But I'm not dedicated to it like I was, so I've had to change the tempo of my life. It's far too easy to become sedentary - especially since moving, running my PR biz and going flat out with our new clients... working on my books, and catching up on all the shows I missed, I have definitely chilled out. Which is really hard when I am so focused and so motivated usually. So in knowing something had to give, I joined a Facebook group for exercise motivation...and I downloaded some apps on my iphone 6. One of my faves is the '7 minute work out' - and if you think 7 minutes is nothin', then you ain't seen nothin' til you've gone hard (or gone home) on this one... it's a bloody killer! But I am loving it. I've also decided to take up dancing again, because walking is no longer cutting it for me, and I am just not excited by the thought of running but...admit I am going to give it a go!

Getting fit is not just about a healthy body, it's about a healthy mind. When you can pour yourself into that cute little dress, svelte figure-hugging stuff, when you are proud of your shape and happy with who you are it goes a long way towards confidence and mental health.  When I gained a little bit of weight I was reading an article about a fitness nut/gym junkie who was basically telling all the fat chicks to get off the couch - coz (she says) you have NO excuses! But I know it's easy to make excuses. I would have surely made them in Brooklyn if my brother hadn't said to me 'If you don't walk you get nothing done and you'll be stuck in the apartment. You won't see anyone and you won't do anything!' And I was determined not to live in NYC and just see it from an apartment window! I knew I had to progress...and I did and felt amazing for it... And nobody wants to hear 'Get off the couch fat chick!' Am I right?

Now I'm talking to myself in a different way to establish and reflect my change in routine! And now that I have a full length mirror again that certainly motivates me A LOT! I have it facing the bedroom door so that every time I enter the room I can't help but catch a glimpse and it motivates me to sculpt and change my shape...regularly!

Now that I'm on the slopier side of 40....smiling at almost 46 and can barely believe it... I'm starting to think about an altogether different version of '50 shades of Grey!'... or my '50 Shades of 50!'... as men that are 50 plus now want to date me and I think 'Wow, I'm too young for them...' and then I realize - 'Honey you're not that much younger than them!' I catch myself in the crossfire of the dream... And while I'd LOVE to still think I'm 20... the mirror tells a different story (sighhhhh) and as you age everything slows down.... after ten babies, my body has taken a bit of a beating (not that I mind, I chose to have them and that's how it goes!). I proudly tell people I have ten children and they proceed to tell me how great I look for my age and having had sooooo many babies...and then I tell them I'm a Nanna... and thanks to my new friend Jade for labelling me 'the hot Nanna' the other day - I shall wear that badge with pride... just call me Glamma - not Grandma! But all of that said, if I don't look after myself the crown will surely slip! 

Self care is such an important part of the journey because it means maintaining your health for as long as you can. Thinking about what you put into your mouth makes all the difference. I've become very good at depriving myself. I can be in the supermarket and the chocolate will be calling my name and I'll refuse to purchase it. I won't head for the soda or the ice cream. I've given up eating potato chips (although I adore them and I ate them A LOT in NYC and didn't gain a kilo.... which goes to show if you exercise regularly you can pretty much indulge a bit!) In NY I fell in love with and I mean IN LOVE with Black and White cookies from 'Starbucks' or 'Waldbaums'. If I could have brought home a zillion truckloads I would have... that and the brownie brittle I found... OMG! How I didn't come home the size of 3 houses I don't know... but we ate well, carefully, and we kept moving! 

I am also a firm believer that your health comes down to self love as well! It's easy to sabotage your health by drinking...over eating...or neglect. When we don't love and nurture ourselves we don't perform at our best. I subscribe to the theory that how we feel inside our minds correlates with how we feel inside our bodies. I believe we get sick if we are stressed or not in tune with who we are, if we are filled with self-loathing and negativity, if we are bitter or anxious... I don't believe it's exclusive. People get sick for all kinds of reasons - from where they live, to what they ingest, to genetics, and a million other reasons we don't even understand yet. Many may not agree with me. But I know for myself that the more stressed I am, the sicker I become. I know exactly what symptoms I'll have and how to treat them and I know why they arrive. I know from watching friends and family why they suffer the way they do. Lifestyle is a clear indicator when it comes down to our health! No, of course not for everyone. There are people out there who take amazing care of themselves, have great healthy attitudes and yet their body still ails. 

I do know from fighting depression and anxiety that I have to do things to take care of my mind as well as my body! So I take breaks from social media...I read, I meditate, I watch movies and I listen to music (sometimes really loud music - and I love music with a story/message or a goal... I especially love Taylor Swift's 1989 Album! I love that she responds to the media and the negative way they sometimes paint a picture of her through her music and lyrics. It resonates with me so strongly!) Instead of shirking from the malevolent she responds in the most artistic and positive way! And the world responds with understanding and gratitude - we just get her! Well I get her, and from what I'm reading in the tabloids this week a lot of other people get her too!

This week, Chester 'Chet' Hanks (son of Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson), has come out and admitted to a long battle with a cocaine and alcohol addiction - he thumbed his nose at the media by posting on Instagram about his 50 day journey into sobriety, and the fact that he's been clean that long too! I'm so impressed with his strength of character and the wisdom to beat them to it. The press were about to launch a 'tell-all' campaign, when he took the sting out of the scorpion's tale! Woman's Day reported on his Instagram announcement and how happy they are he's seeking rehab help! Good for him... I tweeted it because although he doesn't care what the media think, when someone enters into a battle like this, they can never have too much support. Everybody needs to know they have a bunch of people behind them when they are wielding the big stick against the demon that put them there in the first place. Everybody needs to know they are loved and everybody is worthy of that and deserves to be! In life though, through it all, we need to be our own best friend first! 'Self care' needs to always always be the number one priority! When we feel well...and confident...we can take on the whole damn world!

This week in my online reading I came across the following Blog Posts and article in the quest for 'Self Care!' 

Things I repeatedly do to stay sane and happy when life sucks!

Katrina Chambers comments on Sarah Wilson's attitude that self hatred makes us all sick!

and last but not least -

Seven Cherubs Blog owner, Naomi Ellis, talks about being selfish in order to create a healthier life!

She's also got a post here - When are you going to stop trying and start actually doing!

Visit Louise Hay - You can Heal Your life, about how and why we manifest illness and what to do about it.

Visit Eckhart Tolle - For more insightful reading in 'a new earth' and more!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The House that built me...

Above photograph courtesy of Susan Hutson

an extract from the book 'Our Story'
by Meekehleh Hayward

I saw a post on Facebook the other day – ‘the house that built me’ – it was a picture of the beautiful old home, (shown above) snowcapped, from Roswell, New Mexico – the lady who posted the picture grew up there and her parents still live there today… it made me think…that you wouldn’t think that a house could tear you down…or rather what goes on in the confines of those walls, can. I thought about the metaphor. Does a home build us? Of course it does! A house, a home, where charity begins, is truly meant to build us up, to build a bridge between yesterday and our forever - the future… HOME is where the heart is… home is the core of our being. Of course I’ve learned over time it’s not about the goods and chattels in that home, it’s not even how long you live there that counts…it’s the memories that it evokes, it’s the beautiful feeling the memories engender, and it’s not about milestones – it’s about moments. Threading those moments together becomes the golden chain of our journey, the memories, like pearls collected eventually becoming a beautiful piece to love and treasure, to wear with pride… Sadly many of us from very dysfunctional and broken homes, those of us who ended up with broken spirits in the process, instead can tend to wear a mantel of shame…sometimes for who we are and for who we are not, and what we’ve been through.

This week I was reading about the correlation between illness and our mental state. Some people will just write-off the thought, but I believe in many cases that we are ‘what we eat…what we think…what we ingest in life…spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and what we take on physically!’ It all plays a role in our health, in how our bodies function, in how we feel about ourselves – how we look, how we present ourselves to the world…how we survive…

Our hearts are at the core of our being – it hurts when we hurt and that takes a toll on our body! Our body is home to our soul and our soul needs nourishing, just as our bodies do too. How we nourish it depends on how we survive the rollercoaster of life. Now, when I’m struggling with the process, I read something uplifting…I switch off from Social Media, I have to avoid the news and the negativity in the world. Home is not always a haven, for oh so many reasons…we have to find ways to nurture ourselves within ourselves. We have to find peace and contentment in the depths of who we are… listening to music…spending time with those who love us… letting our souls dance to our own tune – to what comes naturally… finding peace in stillness… in the quiet.

Home is what makes us who we are… home is where we are supposed to feel safe and loved…otherwise it can be the loneliest place on earth. Home is where we learn our self worth, or never quite get a grasp on it. Home is where we emerge, like the butterfly from the cocoon and spread our wings to make a life of our own beyond the doors of our parent’s home. Home is where we are supposed to feel like we can ‘do and be and achieve anything we want in life!’ Home is meant to be the place a child’s innocence is protected, not exploited…where kind truths are told – ‘there is beauty all around, when there’s love at home!’

Home is where we are nourished or starved…both intellectually, emotionally, physically or metaphorically! Home is where we learn to appreciate the recipes or cooking abilities of our parents and caregivers and it’s where we are supposed to feel loved and embraced by those nourishing moments – times spent sitting around the table breaking bread together as a family – or being nourished emotionally when our cup feels empty! Home is the place we are meant to run for our mother’s and father’s to help us mend our world back together, or to learn to do it ourselves thanks to their love and support and example. Home is where we want to go to repair what the world tears asunder.  Home is the hearth…the warm crackling fire, the empathetic cup of love that runneth over, soothing our soul, love, dripping like warm maple syrup through our veins. Home is the beginning of the journey…if only it were gentler with all of us… Hearts are tender and easily broken… even those who seem tough are not immune to being broken and need tender loving care. You can’t always assume because someone appears strong they are getting it right and have it all figured out. They may be just better at hiding it than others.

So what if HOME is not all of those beautiful, gentle, peaceful things? What if home is just the beginning of the nightmare… what if home is where reality ends and fantasy begins – and I don’t mean the good fairytale kind. What if home is where the lies begin and the truth is stranger than fiction, where the consorts start to fan the flames of power and passion that exceed all limits and expose you, leaving you raw, engorged and then eaten up! What if Home is your great destroyer…

When Home is not the home that builds you – it is the home that, in some cases, breaks you! And yet, for all that it breaks, it can build in other ways… Like the Phoenix rising from those ashes. What if Home is the thing that through the ashes of stealth, bruises your mental and emotional health but breathes kindness into you? It wounds you, and extracts, yet, leaves a compassionate heart where the wounds lie. What if in all of your suffering, for all of the teardrops that fell upon your cheeks, there’s a miracle under the salty prisms of imperfection… Just as the ocean laps at the shore, and gently coaxes it into different shapes, carves out new coastlines, erodes rocks, smoothes over the jagged edges…what if those tears are spilling to soothe the sharp edges, to carve you, to mold you, to soften the burden you bear. As we cry we heal parts of us. As we grieve, I want to say we repair but sadly not always, because we never stop missing or longing for what is lost. Life can replace the suffering with something else – strength, compassion, love, understanding…for if it doesn’t, it makes us bitter…bitter with regret, with wanting, with anger, with fear and dread, and leaves us feeling powerless. Compassion strives to make us powerful. It is the gleaming, inspiring light, sometimes barely a flickering ember when the night is darkest, but it is always there, doing its job! When we can see, understand and relate to the suffering of others, something resonates within us and we are able to reach out and help another. Then, our suffering is not in vain. But mostly, suffering is hard to understand. While there must needs to be opposition in all things – often all I can say is ‘Really, in all things? ALL things?’ It is exhausting to live on a constant emotional rollercoaster. The only way to survive it all is to try to find the lesson and the blessing.

Home gives us the lessons…not always the tools. It is our job to take the pain and turn it into something powerful. We can see that as rebellion, as a deconstruction of the lives we lead, or as a construct of a new and better one… We can take the passion of anger, hate and bitterness and let it eat away at us like a cancer – imprisoning us within ourselves – or we can take it and use it for a positive purpose. We can bless the lives of others. We can strengthen. We can overturn. We can take the power back and live a life of passion. We can keep walking forward, never looking back – looking back just means we risk becoming the pillar of salt…

Looking at two mirrors reflected within each other I realize how easily what we do together reflects upon the future. How we treat people we cross paths with, how we treat our families, decisions we make. Sometimes the difficult reality is that some decisions really are forever. Some things are broken and it’s best to leave them that way, rather than to crawl over broken pieces, hurting yourself trying to fix them.

While Home should nurture and nourish and build us up, it should be a sanctuary and haven from the world, it isn’t always. Sometimes Home is the scarier place and the world seems like it might save us. But in the end, all that can save us is ourselves!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Viaggio ... Journey... Trek!

This week I discovered the joys...and I mean JOYS...of switching off Social Media...I would say switching off the computer but I was using it catch up on the shows I missed while I was in the U.S, to write my books, to listen to music, to just chill, in was bloody awesome! It was a lovely break!

It's been a long road to I thought I'd blog a bit of a selection of pics from our voyage to this place  - and when I say place - I don't just mean a virtual place of reality, a place that I can touch and feel and see, a place I live and belong...I mean the spiritual journey...the emotional trek...the physical yatra...the viaggio from one point to another - from start to pictures...

As I was going through photos on Facebook the other day, I realized there were some poignant, important moments I missed the first time I blogged this... but it matters not because I had planned to share more over time anyway...there's a lot, so grab a drink and bear with me...

I've loved going through the pictures and enjoying the I'd love to share them with you all too!

So here we are...

First of all there was a month long road trip to search for a home... We left home at the end of winter and enjoyed the dawn of Spring...

I love that this photo could be anywhere in the world...
and reminds me of my time in the U.S.

Afternoons in the village are always magical...
I never ever tire of this place!

Ahhh my beach fix!

We stopped to take pictures in the very same place
we'd been just two years before...just for fun!
Check the difference (below)! 

June 2012
September 2014

LURVE the color of my nails while I was travelling...

We live in such a beautiful world!

I'm so blessed to live here
and to have traveled...

I adore these blossoms... reminds me of New York
in the Spring :)
Fond memories...

See what I mean below...
This is the Winter and Spring of 2014

Sun-drenched vineyards...nothing better!!!

The passing of time...
wax moves forward...

She fell off her skateboard and ended up with a small fracture
while I was's so hard to be away from your kids
when one of them is sick or injured...
she's uber brave and was out of the cast in 3 weeks.

Eventually I flew home...and
it was the dawn of a new chapter of my life...

We went to the live Big Brother Launch Show
at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast!

She looks good in my jacket!

While we were waiting for our home to finish being constructed...
We stayed in Hotels... 
...and we hung out together in our hometown of Brisbane
just having a blast together!

My son enjoying his new Nikon camera...

My heart is heavy when the weight of you
is not in my arms!

So good to be together!

My daughter turned 14...
and we celebrated in style!
(in a beautiful hotel room!)
She had her nails done...
we had a cake...
she hung out with friends!

My winter jacket for NYC arrived...
It's an Alice Coat (a little goth style!...
from the U.K.)

Sibling love...

...we saw some cool things...
and photographed them!

 At home...
at last...

We have so much fun at home!!!

and... we started preparing for Christmas
with our own little elf...elves...

I am a little addicted to these but...
I refuse to buy them very often!
Maybe once every few weeks!

I love surprising my kids with gifts..
This one was an owl...for his collection!

Drawing...the before
...and after!

My fave Spring icon!
The Jacaranda Tree!

an old medical book that belonged to my Grandfather
it's over a hundred years old and
I've passed it on to my 15 yr old son now
who is most like him!

We love to cook!

My baby boy putting my ring back on!
Some day he'll be slipping a ring on the finger 
of someone else special to him - I hope!

He loves mucking around with my bling!

 My boy drew me a beautiful picture!

My vision board...
dream board...

...and shrine to travel!

(or to the world, as my son says...) can manifest anything you want in your life
just by changing your thinking, habits, and focusing on 
what you truly want to achieve! this...

I cut my hair...
I was OVER it...
found my hairdressing scissors 
in my bathroom drawer
and cut it all off :)

....which means you can do anything you put your mind to.

Then something weird happened...
I was re-reading the chapters of my third book
'Wild at Heart' (which I started over a year ago)
and my character did the same thing -
when she moved house she cut her hair...
and my book happens to be set where I live now...
Art imitating life..imitating art...or what??

Santa has made an appearance in our entry way
at 'home!'

I've carted this guy everywhere with me!
Next stop....America!

First Santa photo in eons!!!
My band of merry little men!

Here's my girl hanging out with one of her best friends
while she's back home!

Miss her sooooo much!!!!

Thanks Cockfighter's Ghost for regramming
one of my favorite pictures of 
'The Legend!'
on Instagram!


From this viaggio ... to the next!

...can't wait for the next chapter
in the journey...


'TORN' - sequel to 'Falling'
find out more