Category Archives: life

Blog Posts and Teachers That Changed My Life (So Far) or How To Recognise A Dare To Be Great Enabler


 

The only difference between where you are today, and where you’ll be a year from today, are the books you read and the people you meet. – Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones

For the relevance of this post, please substitute the word ”books” for “posts, comments and emails” in the above quote!

 

Dare To Be Great

During my final year of primary school, I was lucky enough to be taught by the only catholic nun in Australia, who didn’t hit kids in the 70’s. But that’s not all she did right.

Sister Mary Therese was also a great encourager. She had a passion for writing and instead of the textbook poetry and essays that the educational curriculum dictated she use, Sr Therese instead, shared her own writing. Powerful  and original stories and poetry about nature, colour, God, love and whatever other subjects that 12-year-old catholic children needed to expand their horizons in, Sr Therese wrote about it.

Her creations were glued into our workbooks alongside our own poetry and essays – note: they were pasted alongside our creations.

This is where this wonderful person’s teaching became great. 

As you may have surmised, my grade 7 class admired and looked up to Sr Therese (me, in particular for her writing) and when her praise or encouragement was given via a comment on our work (pasted alongside her own) the impact was so uplifting that not only did our grades improve, we were also happier more positive students. Personally, Sr Therese was the catalyst for my first writing submission to (and subsequent publishing in) one of our cities major newspapers.

I was a published author (so to speak!) at 12 – all because of the love and encouragement given by a person whom I admired and looked up to. 

Sr Therese therefore, is always first on my (self-created) list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

Blog Posts and Bloggers

Many years later (after 2 kids, a career in nursing and a stint of tertiary education) I am still meeting Dare To Be Great enablers. These people have not only garnered my loyalty but also encouraged me to keep writing, through their praise and positive feedback and sometimes, just through their own willingness to share their valuable time, energy and wisdom.

Doing some of these things was possibly, to them, like leaving a drop in the ocean, but the impact they had on me, was much greater.

There are many I could mention that I have discovered just recently, but if I was to go start with one significant person, it would be Craig Harper (at www.craigharper.com.au) .

 I was lucky enough to discover Craig’s blog way back in its early stages (before his 45,000 subscribers came along!) and it was then that Craig offered (in response to a comment I wrote) to read some of the articles that I was then preparing for magazine submissions.

His email reply a day or two later left me ecstatic, because yep, he praised and encouraged me. He wrote the words – “Your writing is good. Really good. You’ve got to get published”. I couldn’t believe it. Someone whom I truly admired and looked up to had (again) encouraged me!

Craig was the catalyst for the work I then did in writing and publishing my first e-book (something I’m not sure I would not have ventured into had it not been for his encouragement).

Craig is next on my personal list of Dare To Be Great enablers.

So why am I giving these two teachers of mine such a poetic title when perhaps just ‘nice people’ would do? Because some people rise to  a different level in their willingness to help and support others. Some people do more than just be nice. Some people understand (and practice) the simple power of words, spoken or written, with a positive attitude and given freely for the benefit of others.

These people, in my mind, are Dare To Be Great enablers.

One More Surprising Teacher

I was reflecting yesterday upon these people and the way they have so positively impacted on my life, when something else happened to one of my kids, that I know will have a long and lasting (and very positive) impact on her.

In a way, I view this little episode in her young life, as the universe’s way of poking its tongue at me, her mother, and going “Na, na, na, na – nah!”, but I digress… here’s the short version of her greatest (so far) moment.

My daughter has a You Tube channel which is solely dedicated to her admiration for one popular young artist called…(I have been so sick of hearing this name) Justin Bieber. Like many young girls she talks, sings, dreams and (so I found out) writes and shares comments with her growing number of friends on the channel about her idol. She also frequently visits his channel.

Now to a mother all this can at times, be a little tiring, somewhat concerning and at other times, down right annoying!! Should I have her de-progammed or something? Should I make her close her You Tube account (oh and by the way, this interest has not and is not affecting her focus on school and/or other accomplishments/she is a great student). Yes, all these questions plague me at times, but lately I have weighed it all up and decided to accept and not fight this passing (I hope) stage.

And then yesterday my daughter had one of her uplifting and memorable moments when the young artist himself dropped by her You Tube channel and personally wrote several, very nice lines, full of positive, kind words offering her encouragement and inspiration.

Of course, she cried!

Now whether the person who posted that comment was in fact her idol or whether it was a publicist or another Bieber employee, isn’t relevant.

What is relevant is the wonderful impact it had on her. She felt (and I understand that feeling) so positive after reading it, that I dare say she’ll be dancing and smiling for the rest of the year! Her very first Dare To Great enabler (from a very unexpected source) has paid her a visit and changed her outlook for the better.

So my question to you today is this – Have you yourself ever given praise or encouragement that has changed someone’s life (or day) for the better?

Do you think it is possible that we can all be Dare To Be Great enablers, if we choose to?

Who has impacted upon your life or business in a memorable and encouraging way?

I would also like to encourage you yourself (and I’m going to do this too) to offer some praise today – to your kids, your spouse, a work colleague or friend.

See what impact you have.

Even if we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
(adapted from Mother Theresa)

When Disaster Hits Your Home and Heart – Sharing The Queensland Flood Story


"Fall seven times, get up eight"
 Japanese Proverb

 

If you happen to be a Queenslander (which is a state of Australia, for international readers) then I’d like to say up that today, I feel proud to be one of you. Proud and sad, for everyone, at the same time.

If you have no idea why I would be sharing these sentiments, then please read on and I’ll tell you. It’s kind of a BIG story.

Throwing Out The Old, Bringing In the New

This time last week the only thing on my mind was my home renovation. I was already tired of living out of two rooms in my house (while the rest was being refloored) and the disruption to our family’s normal routine was causing a bit of  cabin fever  for my children.

I was having trouble locating the things I routinely use  (keys, particular books etc..), the washing was piling up (it had been raining a lot) and the noise and tiling dust was a constant background irritant (although frequently broken by the cheerful singing voice of one of the tradesmen !) .

These things were happening but it was kind of fun and we were all still laughing and looking forward to our newly finished renovations.

So, what has all this got to do with being proud to be a Queenslander? Read on….I’m getting there. As I said, it’s kind of a BIG story.

The Natural Disaster

So, looking back on my own little corner of life last week, I feel grateful.

Enormously grateful. It was an enjoyable week for me and as I thought at the time, a wonderful way to start the new year. All renovated, fresh and new – that sort of thing.  A happy time, unfolding into even happier times. New things being created, old things being discarded.  You get the picture….

This picture however (which was no doubt, not all that different in some ways from many others starting the New Year) was not the one I have seen since, night and day, on the television and with my own eyes.

This picture of which I am talking about is one of devastation, loss, suffering and grief – on a massive scale. There is also kindness and generosity mixed in there too. That’s the amazing thing about us humans  – adversity seems to bring out the best in us.

What Happened

I’ve heard it has been world-wide news, so perhaps you already know what I am referring to, but in case you haven’t heard I’ll retell you now.

On January 12th after much rain had fallen all over our state and several regional areas had already suffered huge inundations of water through their homes, a massive event occurred in a town called Toowoomba, a beautiful ‘garden’ city, formerly best known for its annual floral displays. This event can only be described accurately by calling it an inland tsunami. 

I still don’t fully understand all the factors which came together to cause this event. Many of us do not. It was also an event that weather forecasters were not able to predict and thus, the people it affected had no warning. Whatsoever.

The Impact Spreads

As if this alone was not enough to devastate lives and cause tragedy, this body of water then continued its path through several more towns and eventually to the city of Brisbane.

May I just say at this point that I think we are all becoming used to hearing news about natural disasters these days.

Usually though, for me at least, these events occur in countries and places whose names I haven’t heard of and can’t pronounce. Therefore they sometimes seem very far removed from anything to do with me. 

All I can say is about that is that when something like this happens in your home state, the impact is much different. You have visited these towns, admired their beauty, enjoyed good times there and know people who are affected.

The Facts

So you yourself can comprehend (I still can’t) the massive scale of this disaster, here are some of the major facts:-

1. All up, the floods in Queensland have hit over 86 towns and 30, 000 homes have either been totally inundated with water or flood affected in other ways.

Three quarters of this state (which is the size of France and Germany combined) has been declared a disaster zone.

2. At the time of writing this 4,400 people in Brisbane are being housed in evacuation centres.

3. There are currently 50 operational evacuation centres around the city, all providing food shelter and counselling to those affected.

4. And lastly, here is the only statistic that lifts my heart and the one that makes me proud to be an Australian and a Queenslander.

As the business of clearing up begins in some parts, the call for help has gone out to the whole community and today, a volunteer army of some 11,000 people hit our streets and suburbs to help begin the process.

Local Heroes

11,000 people!!!

Picture that.

All armed with their own brooms, spades and buckets. They are of course being backed up by some other heavy-duty equipment being provided by the army and State Emergency Service personal.

The journey to bringing our state back from this disaster will be a marathon one and will involve every member of our community.  The spirit of that community is already being demonstrated even now as all barriers are broken and neighbours, friends, families and more often than not, perfect strangers, all unite for one cause – to help the flood affected.

I will continue to blog when I can, but for now most of my energies will be focussed elsewhere.

Thanks for reading this and please, keep the welfare of the people of my home state, in your hearts and minds.

Thanks again.

If you are on Facebook or Twitter, I would very appreciative if you could share this story with your friends, so more people are able to hear the story and help if they want to.

If you are interested in helping the community of Queensland, you can either register to volunteer or donate online at http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html .

Or if you would just like to share your thoughts with me, I would very happy to hear them.

Blog Renovation Versus Home Renovation: A Case For Both!


Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will not be able to bring you the post I had scheduled for today, which I talked about last week.  Not yet, at least.

And just what are those circumstances, I hear you ask?  In two words – home renovation.  Who knew that could be disruptive?  That it could throw you off balance and tip your semi organised blogging life into slight ..er…disaray?  Nah me.

The Uncomfortable Blogger

Consider this for a minute. One day recently, there I was, steadfastly typing away, unusually and uncomfortably wedged between several towers of furniture, laptop balanced precariously on my knee and the next I was hollering “the internet’s not working!!” only to have it confirmed that “yes, that’s right.  The home office had indeed been guttered and so was the functioning modem and router.” 

I know I should’ve seen it coming. That I should’ve been less absorbed by my musings in cyberspace and a little more ”present” in my real life, but what can I say? I’m a little blogging obsessed, at times. Who isn’t?

When I look more closely at my predicament though I must concede that the several tradesmen standing in my living room that morning had been a pretty big clue that something BIG was about to happen around me. That and perhaps the fact that I was crouched in between most of the furniture in my house, all moved into one corner.

Someone could have spelt it out for me, though, couldn’t they ? 

Something along the lines of “Hey Monica, your home renovation is about to begin and soon you will not only be decluttered and detechnologised but life as you know it will temporarily upended” (said in a nice loud voice, that I could not ignore) would have been helpful.

Therefore, Due To These Unexpected Delays….

Needless to say I am now (after several days of being completely cut off from) back on the net.  This is a temporary concession by the Powers That Run My Life but before the favour runs dry I thought I would jump on here and give you a bit of an update.

So this is it; the ‘weather’ report for The Live, Learn, Achieve, Grow Blog, for the week commencing 10th January, 2011.

This weeks blogging schedule will be slightly delayed due to unprecedented outside interference.  A chance of further disruptions is predicted over several days.  This may continue to cause further changes to my normal blogging programming.  A shame.

So if you’d like to have a read through the archives in the meantime, feel free!!

Hopefully though I will see you back here soon for something fresh and different. 

Till then….take care and may I just offer you a little word of advice  if you happen to be planning any many changes around your house. Don’t do it! 

Plan ahead and stay relaxed.

Happy blogging and I hope to talk to you soon,

Mon

 

 

 

 

 

Musings on Seeking (and Finding) More Peace and Happiness in The New Year


 

“You are only one thought away from a good feeling.”

Happiness! It’s something we all want but struggle to find.  We could be happy we tell ourselves, if only we had fewer thoughts to analyse, fewer reactions to tame and no bad habits to change. Basically we’d all like to be more in charge of our lives. Maybe then we could be truly happy.

But perhaps all of the above just kind of ‘goes with the territory’ of living? Maybe we’d better just get used to it, ‘cos perhaps it is an inevitable part of the whole ‘being human’ thing ?

A few years ago I had to ponder those questions myself and if I wanted to stay on track with my weight loss efforts, I had to get some answers. What I found was that staying healthy psychologically was a real boon to staying healthy physically. We are, after all, not one-dimensional, but multidimensional beings, with many parts to heal, restore and transform.

So today’s post is about a few of the ideas that I’ve discovered and found to be effective (for me) . I hope they are for you too.

You Can Be Happy

I’m talking here mainly about a few principles I have learnt and now practice myself and that basically all come from a little book called, YOU CAN BE HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT. Great title, huh?

The principles are simple, but once you start to practice them, they can be quite powerful. Okay so here they are briefly described.

1) Stop taking every thought seriously. I think the average human mind produces about 60,000 thoughts a day, so not every one of those thoughts is something you need to take notice of, particularly if the thoughts are negative. Instead you can simply acknowledge them, choice to regard them as temporary and move on. In other words, don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.

2) Feelings are like thoughts. They will arise, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, but they will pass, if we allow them to, simply by giving them less of our attention. Giving  your mind’s full attention to your thoughts by ruminating over things, hanging on to regrets or ‘if only’s’, is only going to make you more frightened by your own thoughts and….lead to more bad feelings. Sometimes we just have to let things go.

The book also suggests that we view our feelings as our built-in warning system, a system that alerts you via your uneasy feelings that you are heading down the wrong track with your thinking and may need to make a slight mental adjustment or at least, to give your negative thoughts less of your attention and focus.

Stress Reduction

All sound a little hard? Then perhaps you need to become less tolerant of the stress you are under. By that I mean stop being so hard on yourself and take a break. Book a massage. A tank float. A pedicure. Whatever it is that will relax and revive you – and distract you from those continuous and annoying thoughts.

Another great tip suggested in the book is to remind yourself that your thoughts are harmless – they are just thoughts. Stop focussing on them, on each and every detail of them and you will be on the road to better psychological health and fewer destructive habits. The opposite behaviour – thinking about something all the time, which I used to do, only makes a problem grow in our minds and make it appear more formidable.

As we will all be wishing each other a Happy New Year soon, what exactly does that mean for you?

What will it take for you to be truly happy in the New Year?
I would love to hear about your own experiences with seeking happiness. Is feeling peaceful an intermittent thing for you – something that comes and goes? If so, what do you do to restore your inner calm?

We all deserve more happiness in our lives. Writing this blog makes me happy. So do my kids. So do my friends and family. And so does pursuing my goals.

What about you? What makes you happy?