One day for women..?!

International women’s day. I treasure women, I treasure men. I don’t think we need special days – just like we don’t do “Father’s Day” and “Mother’s Day” in our house. I respect and admire all the strong and brave people who made it possible for us to live with the rights we have today. And I acknowledge many people needing better lives still.

But I heard that in US women had been encouraged to not work and not spend today, to show how society’s wheels would not turn without us. And in Australia some companies have started ratios for how many women you need to hire. I don’t think that’s the way.

Progress is created not by war, provocation or rules, but by visionary humans (men and women). Respecting each other, finding the root cause when things are not right yet and then encouraging each other to take the brave steps needed.

We all have both masculine and feminine energy and drive. Using both is a strong combination – and those heroes we celebrate today and every day would have used a fine combination of both.

So let’s be the best version of ourselves. As many days as possible. Celebrating our diversity and the magic that happens when we combine our strengths. Every day.

Waisting the days away?!

What happened to this weekend? Where did the days go? Beautifully wasted. With practical stuff. And being lazy. And being annoyed with self for being lazy. And then realising it’s OK. To push the pause button now and then.

But on another note – on another kind of waste, this update from the trenches hit my notebook in the weeks after Christmas: what happened to my waist??!!

My family GOT me a hula hoop ring, and it gave LOTS of laughs… especially as we all witnessed how it works splendidly for the (smaller waist size) daughters – but NOT for me. And I’m not talking about me not being able to swing the hips after all that lovely food during December. No, no, no, I’m talking physics. Physics denying me my childhood fun.

Here we go: the physical laws defining that ANY ring wanting to swirl around another object needs that object. To. Be. Much. Smaller. Hmmm….. Smaller as in my waist having to be MUCH smaller than the diameter of the shiny new hula hoop ring. Oh!!!

So here I am. A waisted opportunity (!?!). Or not.

I have three options (or probably many more, my brain has started ticking!): 1) find a shop that sells ADULT size hula hoops (and not those heavy fitness ones, I want fun!), 2) continue practising until my waist gets tiny or 3) continue practising swinging it around my neck (YES – I kid you not!). It works, and I tell you the whole body is getting exercise as well at the same time, including muscle work from my hysterical laughter.

What do YOU feel like doing that used to have you in stitches? Give it a go again – as long as you’re prepared to take yourself lightly… hysterical stitches and all.

Anyway, it’s been hiding for the last many weeks (or is it me who have been hiding?), so I better go celebrate my wasted weekend by making it waisted??! Sunday practise neck style coming up, hoop-hoop!

I want it NOW!

Whether it’s well behaved children, a promotion, a new car, a partner we love or our dream house – we want it NOW!

What if all of those external things (including how other people do and make us feel), are not what it’s really about? That it’s never about that?!

It was never about the promotion. It was always about how you imagined you would feel when you HAD the promotion. And guess what? There is a MUCH easier way: you can choose to feel that way exactly now. Right now. Over something you already have present in your life, big or small. Go figure!

How many hours, sleepless nights, worry and guilt have you saved right there?

Get your gratitude journal going. In your mind or even better write it down each morning. 10 things or own behaviours you are really happy, excited, proud or grateful for being or having in your life right now. And say thank you! Really feel it and say it out loud. For each one of them.

That’s where it starts. Inside you. It’s never about the others or the things we want. Start right now, being who you want to be. It will amaze you how your perspective on life changes. And you end up getting the way of life you REALLY want. Not because of the things you get or how others around you react. Because of who you have become. Hip hip hoooooorrraayyyyyyy for BEING.

Stay with me…. please!

I never notice lyrics, happily mumbling along until I hit the 3 words I know. Same tactics on the dance floor in the 80s. Some people can hear a song and immediately capture and make meaning of all words – good on you!!

Anyway, the other morning for some reason I really heard the words of this Ed Sheeran song. And it brought tears to my eyes (and down my cheeks!) because of the simple honesty:

Guess it’s true, I’m not good at a one-night stand. But I still need love cause I’m just a man. These nights never seem to go to plan. I don’t want you to leave, will you hold my hand?

Four simple lines. The raw honesty that it is NOT to plan. That life seldom is. But putting all pride aside and just asking her to stay and hold his hand.

Whether it’s partners, friends or family. We need each other. Often we get it wrong and say and do all the things that push each other away. Small comments. Bad habits of how we react when the other one reaches out with an opening word.

When really what we’re screaming inside is: stay with me! You’re all I need.

It takes a lot of practice and courage to be vulnerable. To accept our own flaws so much that we dare showing them, showing all of us to another human being (to animals it is SO much easier!!?!). But what a gift we give ourselves and others when we do.

So have a go – and hold the space no matter how the other person reacts. They may not have expected it, may not be ready for it. Like I was taken by surprise by the car radio that morning. Thank you Ed. One for the team.

I am who I am

You may have seen the Dove video where two entrances are put up, titled “average” and “beautiful”. And how only very few people dare walking through the latter. How much it takes for us to feel beautiful. But how those who do straighten their backs and feel so good for stating to the world that I AM BEAUTIFUL, in my own way.

At 13 my parents had heard me describe how atrocious my body looked for so long that they decided to make it into a human size poster – and showed it as part of their speech at my confirmation party. Crooked teeth, different size feet, eyes and boobs, hairy legs, crooked toes, wide frame, short fat legs, half-blind, crazy curly hair… You get the picture?

And yet in reality, here was a pretty normal girl – my self-image was just magnifying the little discrepancies, instead of celebrating and magnifying the overall impression, which was OK. And who says what beautiful is? I have definitely had moments of feeling beautiful.

We are who we are. We look the way we look. We all look DIFFERENT, so how can we even judge versus others, when every single one of us looks different?

Guess what? The little moments of feeling beautiful are not getting likes for a pretty selfie. It’s when in a glimpse we accept ourselves as we are. Inside out. I am who I am. You are too.

Two years from now – who are you??

Two years from now, what are you doing? Who are you being?

I look back and see so many wonderful changes. Because I made a decision nearly two years ago out of pure passion and feeling it was right.

What is one little thing that you will start doing for pure Joy? Because you would love to. Because doing that thing say once a month will make you happy and start connecting again with how Joy feels. When it’s not because someone thinks you should do it or it would be great for you – but because YOU have a yearning for giving it a go.

Make that decision now! It can be something tiny. It can be a new hobby. Or an hour doing absolutely nothing, purposely. Needing only that you carve out 1 hour for YOU say once a month to explore and do this thing.

Now imagine two years from now. How much joy and energy that activity or non-activity has given you. And the ripple effects on other areas of your life and the people in your life??!! What are you waiting for?

I’m heading out to find a hula hoop ring, haven’t done that since I was a kid. And not for a purpose. Just for fun. Who knows, now that I have made up my mind, I may come across one in the street, put out for council clean? See you soon!

Saying NO. Plainly NO.

It’s Christmas soon. And we say yes to everything and forget to enjoy the magic moments leading up to this lovely season. Time is right for a lesson of saying NO.

A colleague told me how schools in Netherlands started teaching girls in year 3 to say NO. With amazing effects on reduced teenage pregnancies and rape – because the girls knew how to say no, and the boys knew that no meant no.

So I’m gonna teach you. Choose a person you trust to practice this with. Look them straight in the eyes and say NO! If you look away, smile, add a giggle or any other distraction after, it doesn’t count: you’ve just negated the whole thing. Go again.

NO! Keep practising, say it louder and with even more conviction: NO!!! If you need help, add a stomp of your foot while you shout NO!

This is surprisingly difficult for many of us. Keep going. We did it with our youngest at some point, and she responded that they were not allowed to say no or talk back at an adult. That really scared me, if that is what authority Australia teaches our kids at school, we need to get some Scandinavian values included; that your opinion matters, and that you can always speak up, no matter how many seniors are around.

So we practised, and she got it after a while. Do it now. You can do it to an empty room, but I tell you, you need a real person in front of you, eye to eye, to test that you can do it.

When you’ve practised shouting it loudly, stomping and all, it becomes easier to say the little NOs as well. Politely, respectfully, calm voice while keeping eye contact and standing your ground. And guess what you’re teaching others by doing that? That it’s OK for them to say no too.

Merry Christmas! Follow your heart and say no to those things that are not right. To those things that do not need to get done. Or do not need to get done by you. To those traditions or expectations not serving you anymore. Invite others to do the same. Accept no. And a no from others doesn’t mean you need to do it – you can say no too.

Stop. Breathe. Bare feet on the grass. Sit with a cup of tea for 5 minutes.

Happy Holidays.