Weary

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Image credit: doyoubelieve.com

My heart is heavy,

I’m sick, mostly sick of people being unkind to each other

Inner peace, a high price to pay

When it is absent or in conflict

Transform, change, renewal

Time needed to heal

Release emotions, grief and sadness

Find hope, new beginnings

Everyday moments of wonder

A new day, a fresh start

Being present, focus on the now

Release fear and look ahead.

Weary - greet the new morn

Image credit: hugsandkissesandnot.com

 

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What sets your soul on fire?

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My own learning journey has been lifelong and my passion is learning. I have been lucky to build my career in learning, specifically in adult learning. As part of my journey, I am now also a qualified Life Coach, something I have been wanting to do for 4-5 years. I have been on my own learning journey, learning about myself and others – especially due to losing loved ones.

I am so energised by coaching others enabling people to live their best life. Seeing people feel they have the power to change is amazing. I feel that this is what I am meant to do. I have also realised that due to losing my Grandmother, I have not had the time to grieve – I’ve been taking care of others – my mother, sister, husband, daughter but not had time to renew and rejuvenate myself. I have found that I need my alone time as this is the best way I can recharge and bring my best self to help others. Decisions I have been making in the last few weeks have not been optimal and have been affected by not being able to release my grief. This is going to change – it needs to change. For my sake and the sake of my family.

I’m not angry or sad, just done. This time will enable me to refresh, renew and regenerate. This way I can continue to Laugh.Love.Live and share the love with others.

I’ve included a link to a blog post below about the reasons why Life Coaching sets my soul on fire. It has also been shared on other social media sites. Taking time out to be true to myself will enable me to continue this passion. Peace and blessings – may you have a great week ahead. Namaste.

https://www.learning4life.com.au/blog/wwwlearning4lifecomau/blogpost-5

 

In Loving Memory…

Winnie the Pooh

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Our family suffered a loss last month. It is still quite fresh as we laid our beloved Grandmother, Mother and Great Grandmother to rest last Friday. I feel as though I was in a fog for the last week and a half after we were informed of her passing. Seeing my mother’s grief, organising the funeral, burial, wake and viewing was tough to say the least.

I believe everyone grieves differently – there is no right or wrong, just different. I tend to be quite private but I feel posting about this contributes to my healing process. I have fond memories of my Grandma with my family. Grandma was a kind soul, always friendly and tolerant. Grandma had a hard life, she lived through the Vietnam War, losing a few children and her husband before her. My grandma lost everything she had and still fought on, forging a new life for herself. Even so, she lived a long life, living up to 96 years old. Grandma would have turned 97 in December this year.

My mother was able to sponsor her mother, our Grandma and we met her in November 1995. I remember thinking Grandma so cute, funny and friendly. She talked incessantly of her grandson in Vietnam who she had to help raise as his father passed away when he was young. His father, my uncle was a soldier in the South Vietnamese Army and when the North Vietnamese won the war, he was captured and tortured as were many. He was finally released and his family were so happy to see him, most of all his mother – my Grandmother. However, shortly after he arrived home, he passed away in his sleep. The joy of having her son back was short-lived.

My Grandma is from North Vietnam but ended up living in South Vietnam with two of her children, my mum and older brother – my uncle who passed away. The reason for this is because my Grandma went to visit her father who lived in the South when she was upset with her husband. My Grandfather was a very good looking man and my mum said apparently, he could be a bit of a playboy.

While my Grandma was visiting my Great Grandfather, the instability between North and South Vietnam increased. As a result, travel and communication between North and South Vietnam was cut. No one was allowed to travel between the two or communicate via phone or telegram. This meant my Grandma was now cut off from her husband and other children. My Grandma had about 10 children. She had her only daughter, my mother with her and my mum learnt later from an Aunty that her father loved her dearly as she was his only daughter and thought my Grandma took her away to punish him.

When the Vietnam war was over and communication between North and South Vietnam was restored, her sons went looking for my Grandma – their mother. They did find her and this was a happy reunion for my Grandma but her husband had moved on. My Grandma chose to stay with her father in South Vietnam with my mum and uncle. She raised them on her own. The rest of the children stayed with their father in North Vietnam.

It is amazing to think of what my Grandma has lived through and experienced but was still a loving, kind, compassionate soul. She lives on in our hearts and our memories. Grandma is in a better place now, no longer suffering as she suffered two strokes in the final years before her passing and passed away with pneumonia. I believe she is now free to spread her wings and fly, always watching over all of us. My Grandma was happiest when surrounded by family and when she could express her independence – something that was taken away from her after her second stroke. When we visited Grandma, I felt she was no longer smiling with her eyes.

Remembering my Grandma reminds me to Laugh.Love. Live. Life is too short to only survive, it needs to be embraced and lived to the full – be present, enjoy the little things because I feel it’s the little things that you cherish in life. Peace and blessings.

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The City of Fountains – Part 2 (The Eternal city)

 

 

This is where our European vacation was nearing to the end and I felt like we had only scratched the surface! The previous week relaxing and exploring the Amalfi Coast was just what we need to rejuvenate and come back to Rome for a few more days. We had a couple of places we were going to visit before we went home. This time around, we stayed closer to Termini station, which is the main train station in Rome. It was much more convenient for us – closer to shopping areas, food and transport. It made it easy for us to catch the metro and train to get to a few of our final destinations.

We arrived back in Rome in the afternoon and had the evening free. We decided to explore the neighbourhood and find a place to eat lunch. We found ourselves on the Piazza della Republica, a semi-circular piazza and is one of the busiest roundabouts in Rome with a fountain called the Fountain of the Naiads whichwas a little controversial in it’s time due to the statues of nude water nymphs. From this square starts one of the main streets of Rome, Via Nazionale.

We walked along Via Nazionale, window shopping and taking in the busy-ness of Rome again after our restful week down the Amalfi Coast. The next morning we had a day trip to the Vatican Museums – or so I thought! We had to meet at 10am so we planned our trip, ensuring we knew what time to leave our hotel to catch the metro and walk to our meeting place. We woke up, had breakfast and made our way. We found our way to the meeting place and then I asked my husband what date it was when I realised it was for the next day! We took the metro back to Piazza della Republica and made our way to Termini train station.

We wanted to fit in an impromptu day trip to Florence instead. We weren’t sure how to purchase our tickets but as we were making our purchase, a man came up and showed us how to book and pay, which I did by card. He then proceeded to walk us to the platform as our train was due to leave in 10 mins. As we were walking to the platform, he asked my husband if he could be paid for helping us, my husband checked if he had any cash on him as we tended not have cash on us or very minimal. He pulled out a 5 euro note, gave it to the man who thanked us and left. Apparently this happens frequently, one of my husband’s work colleagues had the same experience except he paid by cash and as the change was being dispensed, the lady who helped him took the change and walked away. They were helpless to do anything and had to catch their train. So, please be careful when people offer to help you without you asking. It is a nice gesture but not so nice if they walk away with your money.

We got on the train which was quite clean, comfortable and fast – the train reached speeds in excess of 200km/hr! I had been told that Florence was beautiful so we were excited to be on the way! We enjoyed watching the Italian countryside change as we headed further away from Rome. Florence is 274km north of Rome, the train trip takes about 1.5 hours so it was a pleasant journey to and from Rome. There are an average of 35 trains a day between Florence and Rome which made it easy for us to catch a train for our impromptu day trip.

When the train arrived, we disembarked and eagerly walked out of the station to explore the beautiful city of Firenze! Only when we walked out of the station and onto the street, we were underwhelmed to say the least. My daughter and husband both said to me “I thought you said it was a beautiful city?”, to which I replied “I have never been but that is what I’ve been told!”. We walked along the road adjacent to the train station trying to get our bearings and decide which direction we should head, we found the CitySightseeing bus office and walked inside to grab a map to help us work out the direction we should take.

As we were walking back in the opposite direction, we happened across a small non-descript Chinese take away restaurant and since we hadn’t had a decent Asian meal for a while, my daughter asked if we could eat there as she felt like having a noodle dish. It turned out to be one of the best Asian meals we had in Italy! Fuelled by our lovely meal, we headed out towards Piazza Santa Maria Novella.  It took our breath away and realised this is why Firenze is described as a beautiful city! The first thing we saw was the beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria Novella – we all gasped in awe at it’s beauty and splendour! The exterior is painted in the Al Fresco style so the colours are still quite vibrant. We visited the little chapel and enjoyed walking around the garden – this definitely confirmed we had made a good decision to jump on a train to Firenze for the day – even though it was unplanned, unlike our other day trips.

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After being taking in the beauty of this Piazza and Basilica, we headed down one of the narrow streets leading off the Piazza to see where that would take us. We got to the end of the street and when we looked up, what we saw literally took our breath away! It was the majestic Duomo! We all gasped when we saw the Duomo, we thought we were in awe when we saw the Basilica but the Duomo was another breathtaking moment! Words cannot describe it and I feel the pictures we took do not do it justice.  The best way is to see it with your own eyes, if possible!

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After taking in the Duomo, we decided to keep walking and take in the sights as we walked around. The city did not disappoint – we came across piazzas with Michelango’s  statues, taking Street Art to a new level! We walked past the Da Vinci Museum, Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi, Palazzo Vecchio and many other piazzas! We perused some stores, markets and shops along the Ponte Vecchio. We had gelato in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella before returning to the train station for our return trip to Rome. We had seen so many wonderful things in Firenze and yet there were still more things to see! We’d have to leave it for another time – I’ve shared photos of some of the wondrous sights we encountered in Firenze. We decided next time we come back to Italy, we would say a few days in Firenze to see things we didn’t get to fit in like Piazzale Michelango,  Palazzo Pitti and many more! We would also plan to visit Pisa, Venice and Milan if we stayed in Florence! There is so much to see but we did not have enough time! We thoroughly enjoyed our day trip and returned to Rome buzzing from a great day!

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The next day we got up early, had breakfast and headed out to the Vatican city! This time, it was the correct day and we were excited about this tour as it would be our last official tour as our trip was coming to an end! We had a tour of the Musei Vaticani , we entered via the Museum entrance and our tour guide sat us down to provide us with information about what we’d see, the story behind the paintings of the Sistine Chapel and what to look out for in the paintings. We were advised no photos were allowed in the Sistine Chapel but we had plenty of time to stand, and look up and admire the artwork and find the things our tour guide had pointed out to us. I feel photos would not do it justice anyway – the Sistine Chapel is an absolute marvel that you must see with your own eyes!

We passed through the Vatican gardens which housed some amazing sculptures and artwork – one of which is a golden sphere in the Courtyard of the ‘Pigna’ – Pinecone Courtyard by an artist named Arnaldo Pomodoro. Our tour guide demonstrated how you can move the sphere and it will spin, it is called Sfera con Sfera which translates to Sphere within a Sphere. We walked through the Vatican museums, the museums are composed of several sections:

– the Gregorian Etruscan Museum
– the Pinacoteca
– the Missionary-Ethnological Museum
– the Raphael Stanze
– the Sistine Chapel.

They are all amazing in their own right! We found the galleria-delle-carte-geografiche (Gallery of Maps), was amazing! The gallery houses hand-painted aerial maps of Italy and the amazing thing about them is the fact that in those days there was no physical way of capturing an aerial view of Italy!

I have include some of our photos of our Vatican City tour – we enjoyed taking it all in with our eyes! We learnt the Vatican City has it’s own postcode and you can send a postcard from the Post Office there! My daughter sent one to her classmates and I sent one to my mum, both of which arrived weeks after we had returned home! The history surrounding the Vatican being it’s own city within a city is based on Mussolini needing to have favour with the Catholic Church who were quite powerful at the time. Maybe that is why there is credit in the saying “Politics and Religion do not mix!”.


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Inside St.Peter’s Basilica there is a giant bronze altar under the dome. There is also a statue of St.Peter where you can touch the foot and pray for his blessing. There is a long line but it moves quite fast. His foot is worn down from the many people who have touched his foot – me included now! All in all, we were amazed but a little put off by the opulence. Although, we were grateful for the experience to be able to see it all with our own eyes. We were amazed by the sheer size and vastness of St.Peter’s square when we came out of the Basilica which marked the end of our tour. All in all, it was a very educational day, steeped with history, scandal and intrigue!

We also learnt that even though the dome of St.Peter’s basilica was large, the biggest one in Rome belongs to the Pantheon. This led us to our last tourist attraction visit in the city of Rome. We headed off in search of the Pantheon! On our search for the Pantheon, we walked through the narrow streets of Rome and was amazed to be standing in front of a temple that was built in the 2nd century! It is reported to have been built between 118 – 125 AD! We joined the long line but it moved quickly to get a glimpse of the interior and see the largest dome in Rome! There is an inscription above the entrance to the Pantheon. The inscription reads:

“M. AGRIPPA.L.F.COSTERTIUM.FECIT”
“Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it”.

Being able to see the Pantheon before we left Rome was a great way to cap off our visit to the eternal city.  We were sad to come to the end of our trip but we had seen, learnt and experienced so much! We are truly grateful for this experience, standing and being in the presence of such historical sites. This trip was one that I never thought would happen so we could fully appreciate the experience enabling us to Laugh.Love.Live to the full!

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Thank you for coming along the journey with us and apologies for the delay in posting the last part of our European Vacation! I’ve included some photos we took in and around Rome below. We definitely have plans to visit again and also hope to visit other European countries – exploring, learning and experiencing live history in person. I hope you have enjoyed our journey as much as we did and may you get to have a similar experience. Peace and blessings!

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Pause

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I’ve had to press Pause for a little while on my blog posts due to study and work commitments. I will be blogging again soon, I have missed blogging dearly and I am eager to get back into it again. I have had a post in draft since May because I started studying for an accreditation so will finalise and publish it soon. The accreditation is something I have been wanting to do for 4-5 years and this year the timing was right.

I’m slowly getting some time back and although I have been MIA for a little while, I have been reading some fellow blogger’s posts when I’ve been able to steal small moments and will get back into soon. I will start blogging again soon – lots to catch up on! I have also been busy getting my little business up and running which I will reveal more about later!

While I have had a pause – to study, to ponder, to organise, rejuvenate and begin or resume…a journey – it’s served it’s purpose, I am energised, looking forward to the what is coming up for me. This has given me a renewed sense to Laugh.Love.Live and enable others to do the same! Have you been able to press ‘pause’ along your journey? Looking forward to reading more of your journeys and exploring mine more deeply. Peace and blessings.

yogaman

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Exhaling…just a little!

Inhale, exhale

Image credit: whisper.sh

Last year, I wrote a post titled Waiting to Exhale. In it, I spoke about working on my daughter’s health and well-being. I alluded to behaviours that were impacting my daughter’s well-being by her peers. It all came to a head at Easter last year when my daughter broke down and let her father and I know what was specifically causing her such distress. My daughter has anxiety, from a young age due to health conditions when she was born, resulting in her undergoing 2 lots of corrective surgery (at 3 months and 7 months old). Due to this, we were in and out of hospital until she was 4 years old – her anxiety became more apparent at age four.  Since then, her anxiety has been manageable and not been triggered…until recently. It is heartbreaking watching your child go through something but feel helpless because you don’t know the extent of what the issue is.

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Once my daughter finally opened up and this was after seeing a psychologist, working with her eating and general health…and just loving her! It was shocking to learn this was happening to my child and she hadn’t told us (her parents) even though it had been happening for 2.5 years already! I felt that once it was out, it helped shift things immensely – we knew what we were dealing with and how we would like to tackle it. My husband and I were exasperated and felt helpless when everything we tried had not helped, but now I realise it was because we hadn’t gotten to the root of the problem.

The issue that triggered my daughter’s anxiety was bullying. Something that I am so opposed to that it just shocked me to the core! I am aware that the bully/ perpetrator is usually dealing with things themselves but I feel there is no excuse for bullying. It doesn’t only impact the victim but their families, and usually for longer than the actual period of time the bullying took place. It is a complex situation and I don’t condone it nor do I tolerate it. As children we first learn from our parents and adults in our life, so I feel it is fundamental that we display behaviours that are congruent with what we teach our children.

What we say or don’t say is behaviour that is observed and learnt by our children. I am becoming more aware of what I say and how I behave to ensure they are congruent with what I say/ teach my daughter. I cannot control other people’s words and actions but I can control mine in order to help guide my daughter. Our children become who we are, if we don’t like who we are then we have the power to change that. As per my favourite song by Whitney Houston, I believe our children are our future. We need to teach them well so they can lead the way as they become adults. Children are our future leaders so time invested in our children is time well spent. Who do you want your children to become? What type of leaders do we want for the future? How do we ensure our children become good role models?

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My time invested in my daughter is a work in progress, we are learning together and committed to her health and well-being. That said, she has started high school, made some new friends and has shared her experience with them, she has found them to be supportive and protective of her. She has a tighter group of friends consisting of existing friends plus a few new friends. I have often mentioned to my daughter that friendships will change but if she finds a good group of friends – who support and encourage each other, accepting their differences then hopefully, their bond will grow and strengthen. Since that revelation over a year ago, I have watched my daughter become more assured, happy and healthy in mind and body again. There is still work to be done, the journey is not over but I have been able to exhale…just a little – so we have been able to continue to Laugh.Love.Live more fully again.

Please contact the services available in your area/ country to assist with any issues regarding mental health, bullying, general health and well-being. I have included some website links to some available in Australia but please do not feel limited to these – please feel free to explore all options to find one that is most suitable for you. Peace and blessings!

www.beyondblue.org.au

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

https://www.headspace.com/

https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens

https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what’s-going-on/bullying-and-cyberbullying

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

http://www.thechildrenspsychologyclinic.com.au/

 

 

Who are you becoming?

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The title of this post was a homework question to ponder for an accreditation I am completing. I didn’t like who I was 20, 30 or even 10 years ago but I like who I am becoming. I am becoming authentic – becoming who I am supposed to be. I feel as though I was living my life based on expectations placed on me – whether that be mine, my family, friends’ or society’s. I am unlearning years of conditioned thoughts, actions and behaviours. It took years to learn and will also take years to unlearn and I am glad to be on that journey.

 

I have been on a self-discovery/ learning journey now for about 6 years. Learning about yourself is often an uncomfortable one, accepting things about yourself that you may not like. It is also about looking at what you can change and how you can go about it. It’s not an easy journey and one that I still stumble on but one that I am committed for the whole journey. There are thoughts, actions and behaviours due to unconscious or sub-conscious thoughts/ behaviours that I am still addressing. Sometimes they will pop up at times least expected. Like my one with body image, familiar with most people – females in particular.

When I was younger, I was unhealthy for a long time – physically and mentally. As a result, I was quite thin. People used to say to me “You’re so lucky to be skinny” but I didn’t see that comment as a compliment. I would exercise to try and put on weight, muscle and to look healthy but I remained “skinny”. I was in a toxic environment and this resulted in not being in a good space physically and mentally. I became anaemic, my acne flared and I was making unhealthy food choices – I wasn’t eating or sleeping well for many years. When I was able to remove myself from the situation, I was able to sleep and eat properly. I gained weight, looked healthier and felt better about myself.

However, when I bumped into people who hadn’t seen me since I was “skinny”, the comments I would receive were “Oh, you’ve put on weight” and “Be careful you don’t get too fat”. So, even though I was finally healthy, people didn’t seem to observe this and chose to comment about me getting ‘fat’. I was in my early twenties so image was one of those things that was kind of important (not something I’m proud of but it was reality). I would respond to those people with “Yes, but I’m healthy now”, but I still had a small part of me thinking I was ‘fat’. I try to avoid using those labels especially now that I have a daughter who could be influenced by how I perceive myself. I prefer to say that our bodies should be healthy – regardless of weight, size or shape. By choosing not to use those labels, I am unlearning years of conditioning and still progressing. I have a long way to go but slowly making progress – and progress, no matter how small is still progress. Something that I feel society has yet to tackle successfully eg Media, advertising, films, etc. There has been some progress but there is much more to room to move.

Which is why my comment to a couple of my friends one night bothers me so much, even to this day although it happened a few weeks ago. I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while and we started discussing tattoos. One of my friends, whom I call my ‘tattoo buddy’ as she has accompanied me previously, has a design that she drew and had finally decided where she wanted it to be placed. I love her design and also the location she has decided. I have also been contemplating where I’d like mine and mentioned a spot I was considering. That spot is on my side torso, my friend said with encouragement “Yes, that’s where you should put it!” To which my response was (to my horror) “It just means I can’t get fat”.

Awkward poster

The thing with words is once you have said them, you can’t take them back. I can’t take back my words and I have been ruminating over them since. I realise my comment was a reflection of how I felt about my body, not anyone else’s. I tend not to notice people’s weight/ size unless it is pointed out but I’m quick to criticise myself. Something I am slowly changing… becoming. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be but I can be better. Even when I facilitate learning, I say “Practice makes permanent” – not perfect. I feel that nothing is perfect. I can practice the change in my thoughts, actions and behaviour to become permanent.

I caught up with my youngest sister recently and we spoke about this question amongst other things. She is also on a self-discovery/ learning journey so our discussion revolved around a few things related to this. My sister spoke about what she wanted in her life right now was different to what/ where some of her friends were at the moment. I said that it was okay for her to be different and she agreed. I also mentioned what her friends want or are doing in their lives at the moment may not be what they want but may be because it is expected of them. We spoke about how sometimes the years of conditioning also takes a long time to unlearn.

How sometimes we may say/ do things sub consciously or unconsciously based on what friends/ family/ society has projected on us rather than what we really want and that we need to become more aware/ conscious to prevent doing that. Especially if it is not congruent with who we are. She mentioned how it is with me being the eldest and her being the youngest (there are 14.5 years between us), how responsibility is always expected of me and sometimes thrust upon me even when I may not want it. I agreed, and mentioned with her being the youngest, that there were also certain expectations that were projected upon her.  We both laughed and said we are ‘flipping the bird’ to expectations! We accept who we are and who we are becoming, faults and all – it’s quite liberating!

So, who are you becoming? How can you ensure you like who you are becoming? What are some things you could start or continue to do, to become who you ARE?

I aim to enable myself and others to Laugh.Love.Live. Thank you for allowing me to share and process my thoughts through this blog. I feel I process things better when I construct my thoughts into writing. Thank you for sharing back with me via your blogs, likes and comments – it is very much appreciated, provoking thought and insight! The definition of authentic is below – I hope to realise point 1, but not so much point 2! Peace and blessings!

authentic
ɔːˈθɛntɪk
adjective
adjective: authentic
  1. of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.
    “the letter is now accepted as an authentic document”
    synonyms: genuine, original, real, actual, pukka, bona fide, true, veritable; More

    sterling;
    attested, undisputed, rightful, legitimate, lawful, legal, valid;
    echt;
    informalthe real McCoy, the genuine article, the real thing, your actual, kosher, honest-to-goodness;
    informaldinkum;
    raresimon-pure
    “the first authentic Rubens in the museum’s collection”
    antonyms: fake, spurious
    • made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original.
      “the restaurant serves authentic Italian meals”
    • based on facts; accurate or reliable.
      “an authentic depiction of the situation”
      synonyms: reliable, dependable, trustworthy, authoritative, honest, faithful; More

      accurate, exact, factual, true, truthful, veracious, true to life;
      informalstraight from the horse’s mouth;
      rareveridical
      “an authentic depiction of the situation”
      antonyms: unreliable, inaccurate
    • (in existentialist philosophy) relating to or denoting an emotionally appropriate, significant, purposive, and responsible mode of human life.
  2. Music
    (of a church mode) containing notes between the final (the principal note) and the note an octave higher.