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The Importance of Being Cool(ling)

This post has been a long time in the making; it appeared to me as a letter in early 2012 as I was daydreaming. I then told the person that the letter was addressed to about the beautiful letter that flowed to me. Not having mentioned any details I assured the person that I would put pen to paper. Year after year has passed and still no pen to paper. Twelve months ago I came up with the idea that I would gift this letter to them on my blog as a 40th birthday present. Long story short, 12 months passes very quickly and tomorrow is the said birthday.

There is a good reason that I have put writing this off, all of these thoughts and feelings have remained unsaid for years and I haven’t wanted to get this wrong as I’ve gotten a lot of things wrong in this relationship. So here goes, happy birthday muther f@cker!

This post is going out to one of the coolest people I have ever met, she’s so cool in fact that I herby shall refer to her as Cooling. Cooling and I go back well over 20 years, although we were mere acquaintances until one night at the moonlight cinema during the summer of 2005.

I was a miserable recently single divorcee who was uptight and in total ‘control’. After the film a few of us went to get a couple of quiet drinks. We quickly bonded and I started to open up about my divorce and how I was feeling. Just before midnight I said my goodbyes and got up to head home.

Cooling asked me why I was going so early; I explained that I had my car with me and didn’t want to drive home too late. She then utter a sentence that was to set my life upon a completely new trajectory. She said

“Fuck the car, leave it here and you can crash on my couch”.

I wish I could blame the disintegration of my marriage for my uptight state but truth be told I’ve always been uptight. Uptight and responsible. I drove there, the responsible thing to do was to drive home. And as far as crashing on the couch, I didn’t ‘crash’…even as a teenager I didn’t ‘crash’, why would I start now.

The questions kept on coming from Cooling about what was so important that I had to leave just as the night was warming up. The next thing Cooling did would cement the new trajectory that my life was about to take….she saw right through every bullshit excuse I gave her.

This is the thing about Cooling, she is a truth seeker. She sees right through the lies that people tell themselves and tell others. These are not vicious lies, and they are not even big lies, they are the kinds of lies that we define ourselves by. The kinds of lies that limit us.

I started hanging out with Cooling at time in my life when I was broken; to be pushed and to have my lies called out cost me very little. I was ready for a change and I was ready to question everything.

She saw through my fear and pulled out of me a realness that I had not connected with for many many years. And I’m not the only one, Cooling sees the the truth and realness in everyone she meets.

Everyone who meets Cooling thinks she is amazing, they respond to her the way anyone would if they met a smoking, drinking, swearing Mother Theresa; with appreciation and awe.

I’ve seen Cooling in conversation with A-List celebrities and with homeless people and she speaks to them the same way. Not unlike Mother Teresa she seeks out people’s story with a level of interest in their humanity that cultivates a sense of dignity in her subjects.

I’ve also seen her intently listening to people with extreme views very different to her own. I remember one night she was deep in conversation with a guy who was openly racist. Cooling asked him lots of questions and was interest in the person behind the fear and rhetoric. She challenged his views in a way that didn’t attack or diminish him. Who knows where that man is at with his beliefs today but the possibility that he walked away with a tiny seed of an idea was high; and here’s why.

Cooling sees the words and actions of people as separate from who they really are and this allows her to engage with people from all walks of life without judgement. Cooling sees the best in people.

Cooling lives completely in the moment without a care in the world for the concerns and responsibilities of tomorrow. She is eternally optimistic that things will turn out ok and she is passionate about finding the adventure and humour in any situation that she may find herself in.

Cooling is always the life of the party because she is the party. No matter where she is she is focused on bringing people together and having a good time. She is a traveller, she has travelled all over the world and has amassed a life time of stories and experiences. But at her very essence she is a collector and she collects joy and laughter…in actual fact she doesn’t just collect these things she gorges on them.

Cooling didn’t get the memo that most of us get about life not being one big party and that the holiday must end. There are plenty of life’s memo’s that Cooling hasn’t received. She didn’t get the you must settle down and be responsible memo or the suck it up and be miserable now and you’ll reap the rewards later memo. And she certainly didn’t get the do something that you really don’t want to do because it will make someone else happy memo.

Even as I think about these memo’s I can see that no child growing up would ever choose to live a life guided by such miserable and fear based beliefs. These are beliefs that our parents and schools teach us because their parents and schools and their parents parents and schools taught them.

Maybe Cooling did get these memo’s and just chose to ignore them. For even if she wasn’t indoctrinated by her parents there are plenty of people around her who will happily take up the cause. Shamefully I know this because I am one of them.

Cooling is the road less travelled. And the thing about people living a different life to us is that it brings into light the decisions we make in a way that can make us uncomfortable. Plenty of times I’ve judged her life and her choices to justify mine. Cooling has never judged my choices.

You can be different from Cooling without her being threatened. She will bless your choices safe in the knowledge that it won’t impact her, she won’t let it. Cooling is a freedom fighter, and shamefully the most common freedom she needs to fight for is her own. Many times I seen Cooling put under pressure to follow the memo’s, and frequently at my insistence. No matter who or what is around her she doesn’t waver from her own path in order to please others.

I’ve been a terrible waverer; like a lot of people I have lost myself in relationships because I was eager to please and saw compromising myself as being loving. It’s not loving, it is the least loving thing we can do.  This is why so many of us end relationships with such hatred and anger, we blame the other person for all that we have lost; “I gave up everything for you”.

Cooling will continue to make people in her life uncomfortable because that is the nature of fear when it is in the presence of freedom. We all say we want world peace; well this is how we do it.

We start with our own lives, in our own backyards with our own families and our own friends. We start by letting let the people around us make their own choices free from judgement and in the understanding that their choices don’t have to effect who we are.

We all have the power to say no; Cooling says no all the time. A lot of us carry fears that by saying no we are being selfish or unloving. But it is the most selfless and loving thing that we can do. Through giving up the right of telling others how to live their life we also give up the responsibility of dealing with any fall out from their decisions.

What is unloving is saying yes and then resenting our loved ones for the choices that were ultimately our own. For blaming them and using them as the reason that we are not living the lives that we desire. That’s were judgement lives. Judgement can’t exist in freedom.

So to Cooling, a modern day Mother Theresa, I say “Happy Birthday and keep on fighting the good fight”. And to all of the Cooling’s out there I say a big thank you to you for your dogged pursuit of truth, joy and freedom above all else.

By not judging us you leave us no choice but to judge ourselves, and this is a very uncomfortable place to be but it is also where the change happens.

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10 Things I Hate About Sally Field

The title of this blog is a bit misleading, I don’t hate Sally Field…who could hate Sally Field? It’s just a punchier title than 10 40 Things I Hate About Sally Shelly Field’.

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Who’s Shelly Field? She’s my mate of over 20 years and it’s her birthday today and this is my little birthday card for her.

Happy Birthday UB. xoxo

  1. The ‘Curly Hair’ Thing

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2. The ‘3am “I WANT TO DANCE!”‘ Thing

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3. The ‘Love of New Music’ Thing

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4. The ‘Purple Dress’ Thing

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5. The ‘Fear of Flying’ Thing

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6. The ‘Ugly Butt (U.B)’ Thing

7. The ‘Long Phone Calls’ Thing

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8. The ‘Passion for Bad TV’ Thing

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9. The ‘Love for The Beach’ Thing

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10. The ‘Brisbane’ Thing

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11. The ‘Gold Coast’ Thing

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12. The ‘Spiritual Wisdom’ Thing

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13. The ‘Vegetarian’ Thing

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14. The ‘Compassion’ Thing

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15. The ‘Tattoo’ Thing

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16. The ‘Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve’ Thing

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17. The ‘Love of Pooches’ Thing

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18. The ‘Tall, Elegant, Good Looking Friend’ Thing

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19. The ‘Importance of Close Friendship’ Thing

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20. The ‘Importance of Close Family’ Thing

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21. The ‘Childhood Sweetheart’ Thing

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22. The ‘Lighting Shop’ Thing

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23. The ‘Love of Theatre’ Thing

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24. The ‘Oprah Thing Which Isn’t Really Your Thing It’s My Thing’ Thing

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25. The ’90’s Flower Power Fashion’ Thing

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26. The ‘Ori/Blaxland Tavern/Panthers’ Thing

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27. The ‘Wot Ev’s’ Thing

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28. The ‘Good Times’ Thing

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29. The ‘Not-So Good Times Alone On A Beach After The Good Times’ Thing

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30. The ‘Douchie’ Thing

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31. The ‘Sexy’ Thing

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32. The ‘Not-So Sexy’ Thing

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33. The ‘Big Laugh’ Thing

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34. The ‘Youngest Child’ Thing

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35. The ‘Don’t Tell Me to Shoosh’ Thing

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36. The ‘Zero Production Natural Selfie’ Thing

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37. The ‘The End of The Night I Don’t Want To Go Home’ Thing

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38. The ‘I’ve Lost My Purse’ Thing

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39. The ‘No I’m Serious You Need To Help Me Look’ Thing

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40. The ‘Happy Birthday & Love Ya Like A Smokey Loves A Bandit’ Thing

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10 Awesome Dating Tips We Can Take Away From The Bachelor

I love watching the television show The Bachelor.

I’ve realised that for me it is not too dissimilar to how my partner watches football. I have my favourites that I cheer for; I scream at the television when there’s been foul play and I am left disappointed when attempts to score are thwarted.

And it is as an armchair player at home that I offer my words of wisdom to all of the players. The following are the things that I like to shout at the telly and the real world tips we can take away for dating without the cameras.

1. You’re on a TV Show!

Real World Take Away: Context matters

If you are drinking in a bar when you meet a guy don’t be surprised if he doesn’t notice the full complexity of your personality. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get how smart and competent you are at work, or how caring and thoughtful you are with your family and friends.

You are in a crowded space, you are drinking, and it’s loud. He is most probably not going to look past how attractive you are to look at to, how much fun you are having and how warm and flirty you are. Not because he is a player, but because it is logistically hard to do otherwise.

Enjoy it for what it is, fun. You don’t need to push against your context by resenting the shallowness of it.

 2. Don’t worry about the other girls!

Real World Take Away: Be Present

He may be dating other women, flirt with another girl at the party after he just met you or have other girls checking him out in a bar; but when he is with you he is with you.

When you are talking with him give him your full and absolute attention. Let go of worrying about anyone else and when he is front of you be in the moment with him. Enjoy your conversation, your interaction and your spark if there is one.

Don’t get caught up by his physical absence, he could be thinking of you when he is on his next date for all you know. So save yourself the energy and don’t concern yourself with it.

Worrying about other girls early on sends our self-esteem the message that he’s the more valuable person in this interaction. Remind yourself of just how much of a catch you are.

3. He gave you a rose for a reason!

Real World Take Away: Stop looking for more signs that he’s into you after he just gave you a sign.

If he tells you that he likes you; that he enjoys your company and he’s looking forward to getting to know you better then believe him. Chill out, relax and trust that it will unfold organically.

And if it doesn’t then he’s not the one for you, so you will be free to move on.

4. Make friends with the other girls!

Real World Take Away: Put your eggs in more than one basket.

New relationships are exciting, whether they are romantic or not. Developing other new relationships whilst you are dating is a great way to mitigate your emotional risk.

This could be a simple as saying good morning to strangers on your way to work, flirting with your local barista, or following through on a planned catch up with someone you clicked with at a party. Create interactions that put a spring in your step.

Don’t let a text message from your new love interest be the biggest highlight of your day. Let it be one of many that make you feel giggly inside.

5. That’s not his mansion or his boat!

Real World Take Away: The life you are currently living is going to look similar to the life that you would live together.

When we are first dating it is so easy to get caught up in all of the exciting and superfluous stuff around our new beau.

We all love to fantasise and that’s great. But if he doesn’t offer you a rose, then don’t morn the loss of this fantastic and glamorous life that you dreamt you could have had together.

He’s just a guy made from the same flesh and blood as you, you would have had similar frustrations with your new Bachelor as you have experienced with all of your ex’s.

The level of glamour and adventure that you live in your own life is totally up to you.

6. Keep your Crazy in a Bottle!

Real World Take Away: Not because you don’t wish to scare him off. I say this to mean if your insecurities are popping up; then be open and let him know rather than unleash upon him out of context.

Give him something to work with; if you are feeling jealous then let him know about it. He may be empathic and supportive or he may not be, but at least you’ve given your relationship the opportunity to see how you navigate these issues together.

If he was tired and frustrated from work for instance, wouldn’t you prefer him to be open with you about it then take it out on you in a confusing context?

7. Be Yourself!

Real World Take Away: You are only one good date away from never dating again.

Dating is a fantastic opportunity to get to know lots of new people who will help you to define what it is you are looking for in a mate as well as your life. Being yourself is going to enrich this process, being what you think your new mate is looking for is only going to take you further from where you want to be.

The best way to be yourself is to be in the moment. As best you can try blocking out your fears and expectations of the future, and your regrets and hurts from the past.

8. He’s not your boyfriend!

Real World Take Away: Respect the men you are dating as people who are on their own journey that has happened to intersect with yours.

Things that you both thought were absolutes in life may now change and shift because of the new information that you have brought to each other. All you need to worry about is right now is, are you enjoying his company?

Dating is nothing more than a ‘toe dip’ of a relationship. By the time you both decide to dive in headfirst your dynamic is going to be very different. So relax and try not to keep a scorecard or a checklist early on. Try not to judge him on paper or from what he or anyone else tells you about him.

Let it develop naturally over a period of time that is reasonable to you, what’s the rush?

9. It’s not his loss! It’s your gain!

Real World Take Away: You were really keen on him but he didn’t give you a rose. It’s not because you’re a lousy prospect, it is because he has seen something about your interaction that you’ve ignored.

He get’s that there is a better match for him elsewhere, and if it’s true for him then it’s true for you too. He has helped you dodge a bullet by ending it before things got serious.

10. This is not the end!

Real World Take Away: Finding Prince Charming and marrying him doesn’t end with a happily ever after in real life so why do so many of us buy into the fairy-tale?

Whether you make it through every rose ceremony and he proposes or you are booted off the show in the first episode, your romantic journey is still going to continue.

Have you ever hit a big goal or milestone in your life and then everything has been smooth sailing from there on in?

Your relationship with your Bachelor is going to have just as many ups and down and just as much good and bad as your current dating life. Now please don’t let me hear you say “Well at least I’ll have someone to help and support me through those challenges, I won’t be on my own.”

You’re not on your own right now; I’d say there are at least 10 people in your life who truly and deeply care about you. Start paying attention to all that you have rather than all that you don’t.

After all, isn’t this the most precious gift that you can offer to your Bachelor? Who wouldn’t want to be with a girl who is appreciative of all that she has, because once the shine wears off you’ll need to make that same effort to appreciate him too.

Enjoy the journey no matter where you are at because your enjoyment of the final rose ceremony will be fleeting. Finding and falling in love with your own Bachelor is a milestone, it’s not your end game.

Leanne xx

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