FINDING MY QUIET PLACE WITH COLOURED PENCILS

Adult colouring in reduces anxiety and stress, and creates focus. It helps replace negative thoughts with pleasant ones.
from Johanna Basford's Secret Garden

BEFORE MY TIME

I have always loved colouring in, from my own childhood through to joining in with our children and colouring one page while they did the other. From there I had a break because it was a “kid thing” and nobody coloured in when they were adults.

One day in my 40’s I thought to myself that I’d ignore what was considered “normal” and I’d buy myself a colouring book and use it to zone out and enjoy the simple pleasure of adding colour to paper without having to think too hard. I found a Barbie colouring book that had lovely white pages that made the colours look prettier and I used to colour a page or two here and there when I had a little bit of time to myself.

WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING A BOLD STREAK

I am on a crusade to grow bolder in my decisions, in how I present myself, how I think about myself and how I tackle challenges.


INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my series on Cultivating Wholehearted Living - thriving in the second half of life. My lovely blogging friend Deb from Tumbarumba (my husband always says "where?" when I say Deb from Tumbarumba - just so I get to say it again - it really rolls off the tongue). She writes a fabulous blog called Deb's World and always has something upbeat and engaging to share.

Deb decided to stick with the theme from my previous guests where she shares some thoughts on is how her Word of the Year (Bold) intersects with mine (Cultivate) - she's sharing about Cultivating a Bold Streak and embracing a new sense of confidence and courage. So here's what she has to say.....

LIVING MY BEST LIFE EVERY DAY UPDATE #1

Choosing a life of positivity one day at a time. And looking for those moments of joy that each and every day contains.

LIVING LIFE WITH A SMILE EVERY DAY

So much has been happening on the blog over the last couple of months, and seeing I still want to keep it to one post a week, I decided to spin out my monthly update and make it a quarterly one - so today's post is what's been happening in my world for the first quarter of 2021 - it's the Summer edition (with a little bit of Autumn sneaking in at the end).

My focus this year is on moving towards 60 with a positive mindset and gratitude. Cultivating what makes my soul feel happy, and aiming to live my best life every day. Life will never be perfect, but it's full of perfect moments and a lot of little joys if we choose to look for them. These are the happy moments that have popped up over the last few months in my life.

I'M LIVING MY BEST LIFE EVERY DAY

Life isn't perfect, but it's full of perfect moments every day. Let's look for those moments, and live the best life we can every day.

I'M LIVING MY BEST LIFE EVERY DAY

I used to feel envious when I saw other people living really happy and content lives. I'd wonder how they could have it all when I was so busy trying to keep all the balls in the air. I think a lot of my discontent came from the scarcity mindset I'd lived with all my life. I never felt like I was on top of things - there were always bills to be paid, work to be done, chores to finish, responsibilities to juggle. Life kept rolling along and I was so busy trying to keep up with it all that the days passed and I never really felt like I was living.

It took until I was 50 before I began to wake up to myself and see that all that diligence might have been tiring and at times made me feel a little resentful, but it had paid off and set us up for what we have today. I realized I could throttle back on all the "should do" and "would do" and "must do" and could start asking myself what living a good life would really look like, and the answer surprised me.

WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING EMPATHY

Empathy is seeing the world as others see it, being non-judgmental, and understanding another person's feelings.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CULTIVATE EMPATHY?

Empathy is a tricky concept to get our heads around. For many years I thought sympathy and empathy were similar concepts. It wasn't until I read some of Brene Brown's work that I finally understood that sympathy is feeling BAD for someone, and empathy is feeling WITH someone. Sympathy leads to the oldest child coming out in me - I want to try to fix the person's pain or problem - or I've been known to try to identify by relating a similar story of my own - neither of these approaches have anything to do with empathy.

So what does empathy really look like when it's put into practice? Brene Brown (I'm a bit of a fan girl) has a fantastic little video that shows what empathy looks like in less than 3 minutes and I've included it here in case you haven't stumbled across it previously.

WHERE I'M FROM - THE AUSSIE VERSION

Taking up the challenge to describe 1960's Australia and then the 2021 version, using the "Where I'm From" poem template.

WHERE I'M FROM - THE AUSSIE VERSION

I don't know about you, but I find that there are times in life when something resonates with you on a heart/soul level and because of that it sticks in your mind for the long haul. One of the little things that captured my interest a few years ago was a poem written in 1993 by George Ella Lyon entitled "Where I'm From". 

I think I liked the "feel" of how she wrote and the images it evoked for me - and it challenged me to want to write something similar for myself.

WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING OUR "SELF"

We need to cultivate SELF to live the life that is right for us, on our terms and to feel comfortable and confident with who we are.

INTRO

Today I have the next guest in my series on Cultivating Wholehearted Living - thriving in the second half of life. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 has been my blogging inspiration and greatest source of encouragement since I first met her 5+ years ago. We began blogging around the same time and have cheered each other on ever since. 

Sue was gracious enough to share some of her wisdom, and today's post is how her Word of the Year intersects with mine - she's sharing about Cultivating our "Self" and becoming the women we're designed to be. So, without further ado, I'll hand you over to Sue....

CELEBRATE GIRL POWER WITH A NEW LOOK

Have you tried online glasses and sunglasses? The range of styles and value for money make it a fantastic option.

INTRO

Today on the blog I have a really special collaboration with VisionDirect in honour of International Women's Day that arrives on the 8th of March. It's a great occasion to spoil ourselves with something a little bit different - and if you're like me, you're wearing glasses more often these days. I use mine all the time for reading and blogging and I'm never without a pair of sunglasses in the car or when I go for my morning walk. 

There's so many options available to us these days that I haven't even begun to tap into - including buying prescription glasses online (my daughter and son-in-law swear by the value in doing this). There's also a myriad of really amazing designer sunglasses at great prices and I spent far too long scrolling through Vision Direct's site choosing a pair! I thought in honour of IWD I'd share a few finds I discovered while I was checking out their products.

I'M FINALLY OKAY WITH NOT BEING A JOINER

There's so many new and interesting opportunities out there to discover - but what if you don't want to join in with every new challenge?

LEARNING SOMETHING NEW ABOUT MYSELF

My blogging friend Jennifer (from Next Phase In Fitness) made a comment in her "67 Things About Me" post saying "I’m a boring person and really don’t care". It made me smile because I think we often see ourselves as boring and wonder how we can make ourselves seem more interesting or engaging, and I loved that she's reached the point where she doesn't care.

I know I sometimes feel the urge to make myself seem more interesting. In the process I look at all the wonderful online options that are available (especially since COVID shut down a lot of face to face events). There are virtual hikes, virtual book clubs, virtual exercise classes, virtual yoga sessions, virtual paint and sip events, virtual cooking classes.....the list is endless. But seeing the huge range of things on offer taught me something new about myself.

WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING AUTHENTICITY

Being authentic isn't something we magically have all figured out, rather it's about making choices about how we want to show ourselves to the world.

WHAT IS WHOLEHEARTED LIVING?

Brene Brown talks a lot about the concept of "Wholehearted Living" in her book "Daring Greatly" and to sum it up in a couple of sentences it means: Engaging in life from a place of belief in your own worthiness - cultivating courage, compassion, and connection. It also involves cultivating a sense of being "Enough" which is the the opposite to scarcity thinking - where we feel that we never have enough (especially compared to what we believe we see others having).

CULTIVATE is my Word of the Year for 2021 and Brene mentions Cultivating in her 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living from another of her books "The Gifts of Imperfection". Today I'm focusing on an area I've been working hard on over the last decade, and that's Cultivating Authenticity - and how it applies to Midlife and living our best life right now.

COURAGE HAS CONSEQUENCES BUT PLAYING SAFE DOES TOO

Making changes takes courage. No change comes without some kind of cost. Often to gain something you need to sacrifice something else in its place.

COURAGE HAS CONSEQUENCES

Making changes takes courage. No change comes without some kind of cost. Often to gain something you need to sacrifice something else in its place. It's been almost two years since I took my courage in both hands and wrote my letter of resignation from a job that had slowly become a nightmare. Anyone who read my blog through 2019 would know that I was at rock bottom and it took a lot of time and effort to get my resilience back.

What I found in the process is that having the courage to make a change will always have consequences - both good and bad. Looking back at the last two years I can see that there has been a huge shift in my thinking process and in my world view since I put in that resignation letter - and rode the waves of fallout that resulted.

WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING A POSITIVE MINDSET

To have a more positive mindset, you need to change things and one of those things is your inner voice. It's time to lose those self-limiting beliefs.

INTRO

Brene Brown's writing about Wholehearted Living and cultivating positives in our life is the inspiration behind my #WOTY "Cultivate" and I'm delighted to introduce my first guest blogger for the year who's sharing what she's cultivating in her life. Pat writes very thoughtful and well-researched posts on her blog Retirement Transition and she's sharing some of her story today about how she's progressing in her journey of getting to know herself and her strengths.

On that note, I'll hand you over to Pat....

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN YOU HEAR A "POP" IN YOUR CALF?

What happens when you hear a pop sound in your calf? It means you've strained it. Here's what happened to me.

HEARING A "POP" IN YOUR CALF

I'm no fitness fanatic and don't often experience muscle problems or injuries. I'm not a runner or a gym junkie, and my main way of staying healthy, fit, and mobile is to walk every day - aiming always for those magical 10,000 steps on my Fitbit - and generally enjoying being outside in the fresh air. I've taken my physical health for granted until something bizarre happened at the beginning of December.

We'd just returned from a lovely week of vacationing on the beach - bike riding, walking, and relaxing without a care in the world. Then, on my return home I bent down to pick up a box and as I straightened and turned, I heard a "POP" in the back of my left calf - I'm sure it was an audible pop, or maybe it was internally audible? Whatever, there was a "POP" and I knew that wasn't good.

SUPER EASY CHOCOLATE CAKE

super easy chocolate cake - great for afternoon tea or for a birthday cake.

INTRO

After reading and giving up on all the tricky, interesting, exotic recipes I see shared on blogs everywhere, I decided to work from the other end of the spectrum and share some of my super easy recipes that are guaranteed to taste good, be easy to prepare with basic ingredients, and they always turn out well.

Today's recipe comes from "Cookery For Young Australians" which was the cookbook we used in early high school home economics. So, if a 12 year old can successfully bake this then I knew I could too - and it always makes a great last minute cake if visitors are coming and I even used it successfully for our daughter's spontaneous 30th birthday visit.

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO BUY A SCOOTER

What have you been wanting to do that feels frivolous and fun? Stopping thinking about it and just do it - right now!

JOY IN THE LITTLE THINGS

I read an interesting article recently about allowing yourself the pleasure of small joys. To let yourself feel excited about something - even if it seems a little bit ridiculous . When it comes to joy, Leslie Ralph says:

To begin, start by saying yes to yourself a little more. Yes to that little spark of curiosity, yes to that little smile that you shrug off, and definitely yes to that burning feeling inside your chest that screams, “Listen to this. This is joy.”

It doesn’t matter if it feels ridiculous, it doesn’t matter if it’s “wasting time,” and it sure doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. What matters is the feeling you get when you do it.

 Those words sparked something in me - the new "Me" who is willing to cultivate experiences and ideas that enrich my life - and there was one "ridiculous" thing that had been sitting in the back of my mind for years - something I'd thought about and discarded many times. But with 60 looming on the horizon towards the end of this year, I had to ask myself "if not now, then when?"

SUNSHINE, LOLLIPOPS AND RAINBOWS ~ WHAT'S MAKING ME HAPPY #5

There's always something to be grateful for, something to smile about, and something silly to laugh at - we just need to look for them.
 

IT'S TIME TO BE HAPPY

December and Christmas are behind us and we're into 2021 already! I can't believe how quickly time has flown by - so now it's time to share some "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" ..... Sunshine - what's been happening to make me happy, Lollipops - silly things and memes that gave me a smile, and Rainbows - what I'm grateful for this month.

CULTIVATING WHOLEHEARTED LIVING IN MIDLIFE

Have you thought about cultivating qualities that will enrich and enhance your life in the years to come?  I'm sharing how to do this intentionally.


CHOOSING MY WORD OF THE YEAR

At the beginning of each year I've chosen a Word to represent how I want to grow and develop in the months ahead. I've had some that appeared in my head without a second thought, and others that have taken a lot longer to filter through. Last year I chose Symphony and it was something that came to mind in the dying weeks of 2019 - and actually worked very well for the highs and lows that 2020 brought with it.

This year I have a new word. I actually had several that presented themselves during last year, and I duly noted them down - Courage, Emerge, Harmony, Discovery, and Self-Acceptance. Each had meaning for me and each spoke of growth and balance. As I was mulling them over, a picture popped up on my Pinterest page that perfectly tied them all together...