Life isn’t all serious

I was going through some of the photos from our few days away and I’ve decided to share some with you that have made me smile.

Some may need some explanation lol………..

When we first arrived at our apartment, I opened the sliding doors and took a step back because I thought someone was sitting out there. There wasn’t. It was a carved wooden man, that found himself photographed quite regularly.
And then there was poor Rabbie (mentioned in my post Becoming Real). Although he was brought along on our little break, he spent the whole time laying beside the couch…. or so we thought.
There were a lot of moments that made me smile including when I went into the local Vinnies store (opportunity or goodwill) and the Tween came to get me and found some killer heels. She wanted to try them on and I was attempting to get her to leave the store. The ladies behind the counter all got involved then and encouraged her by scouring the store to find more so she could try them on and model them,  all the while encouraging me to take photos. We certainly smiled then.

p.s. Mum if you can’t see these, you might need to update your Adobe Flash Player 😉

Don’t Give Up

Dear Me,

There are going to be bad days. You know that. Don’t let them knock the wind from your sails. If you need to cry go ahead. Tears are not a sign of weakness, they are a release. Grey Sky Days are bound to occur. If life was plain sailing you would not learn and grow. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a good person. Stop querying your abilities and just accept the future as it is unfolding. Be kind to yourself. Don’t give up.

From Me

Fellow Blogger – Shirley Maya from The Art of Fearless Living

ImageJoining me tonight is Shirley Maya from The Art of Fearless Living. Shirley describes herself and a ‘blogger and single mother’ living in Malaysia whose life revolves around her daughter, writing and publishing. She comments in her posts that “words are dear to my heart” and her blog is full of stories and poetry. Shirley shares her blog with guest bloggers at times and also writes of her personal journey through life. Shirley is not afraid to be herself as shown in this post The Fearless Face and she explores her spirituality in posts such as Do not judge, just love. I’m sure Shirley’s blog will have something for everyone.

Hi Shirley! Welcome to the couch. I hope you don’t mind the streamers and balloons but since this is my 200th post, I decided to make our chat a little celebration! It’s great that you are able to join me to chat about blogging. Your blog is a wealth of information and personal insights that you bravely share with the world. Tell me what started you in the blogging world?

It began as a “Journal” and my “personal compass” to document my journey into becoming Fearless Shirley. It was a good way to track, and keep myself in line. Also, it was and is my haven – a place I could go to “unload” without being judged, and just be myself. I think this is not uncommon for many fellow bloggers. Just having a sacred space to call one’s own, and be allowed to remain as we are, without apology, justification or explanation. Then, the blog started to take a life of its own. And people began to discover the blog. I, too, began to learn about other blogs and bloggers. Now, the sharing and learning became an integral part of my motivation for blogging. 

Sounds fantastic. Yes, I believe that for many of us, we expose ourselves on the pages of our blogs. So how long ago did you begin blogging?

The blog was created in November 2009 but I did not seriously blog until end of 2012 – as in “religiously” and consistently. To be frank, I am a complete I.T. “Dumb Blonde”. So, it took me a long time before I even figured out what is what, and which “buttons” to NEVER press. A frustratingly steep learning curve, to say the least! 

That’s too funny. I am sure you aren’t the first (and you won’t be the last) to have difficulty in working things out. You have a wide variety of categories on your blog however do you have any particular theme that permeates your blogging?

As it is entitled, The Art of Fearless Living – it does essentially revolve around the fears that have infested my mind and took up residence for most of my life. So, in facing and slaying those issues, fears and demons, I share what I have come to learn about myself, or about that particular fear and the “take-away” from it.  However, the blog currently consists of my poetry erotica, short fiction, travels and adventures, as well as my observations on love, sex and relationships from the perspective of an Asian single mother. It is rather wide, I know. When I started blogging, many kind bloggers advised me to focus on a theme, or a niche. But I just could not, because my life and interests are very diverse. Just like the issues I face too 😉 

I think that’s fair enough. It’s hard sometimes to stay true to a particular theme at times. Do you believe you have gained anything from blogging?

Tremendously! And that is putting it mildly.  Firstly, I value the priceless connections made through this medium. I have been so blessed with meeting ‘like-minded’ fellow bloggers, writers, poets and etc. Even the readers or fans have been incredibly supportive. I have learnt so much in the process. My perspective of life, love, people, the world and etc have truly been “enlarged” and deepened. I am beyond grateful. There is such a wealth of talent in this online community – both the creators and the readers. 

You won’t find any argument from me in that respect. The blogging community is full of wonderful people. Many of my readers blog to assist in dealing with challenges in their lives. Tell me, do you have any challenges that blogging is helping you in dealing with?

 Yes, several. But I shall share two of them with you today. 

 

1) I was a very private person. And in some ways, I still am. Yet, I am not anonymous. My name, my face and every info shared in the blog are REAL. They mirror my life, what I do and how I live. I do not hide behind another persona as some bloggers do. Here, I am not judging those who do. I can apperciate why they do. As I advocate the “art of fearless living”, I have to walk the talk and practise what I “preach”. If I had it my way, I’d be a hermit. Literally. Especially, after my divorce in 2002. I went into a self-imposed “exile”. I did not emerge until late 2005. You see, I really don’t like socialising, and I quite detest going out of my house. Above all, I hate interviews (you’ll be laughing here). So, blogging did and does help me break that intense desire to be “reclusive”. It forces me to open up, share more, and learn about others in return. 

 

2) I am tempted to say I was lazy to the core, but from time to time, laziness still rears its ugly head at me. Just to spite me, I am sure. If I had it my way – I would not get out of bed. I was so lazy that I even hated the times I had to get up from my bed in order to go to the bathroom and pee. Yes, its sloth of the worst kind. So, blogging consistently was one way of breaking that damned laziness. Apart from the regular blogging, I also maintain a Facebook Fan page, Twitter, and Pinterest. Also, I am challenging myself to finish a book of erotic poetry and a short fiction this year. Thus, I am kept quite busy these days. Laziness is fast becoming an old memory. Fingers crossed.

You certainly keep yourself very busy. I don’t know how you keep up with things. How often do you get the opportunity to blog?

Twice to three times a week. But I do write every day, research, read, scour the net, and work on other things related to writing. I prepare the blog ahead of time, because I am anal about spelling errors, and presentation. As my travel plans are quite hectic as well, I seriously do have to plan my blog ahead of time. 

You sound incredibly organised. I wish I could manage to blog more than one to two posts ahead at times. 😉 Where do you find the most inspiration for your blog posts?

I know this sounds cliche, but it is the truth – I find inspiration everywhere. From my fathomless pit of fears and issues, to everything I read, see or experienced during my travels. It can be a picture, an aroma, a gesture, anything, really. Lately, I have found much inspiration from fellow bloggers and their writing. The learning never ends, and the same applies to inspiration – as long as our minds remain open and willing 🙂

You would certainly not be alone in finding inspiration everywhere. There are many, many others just like you.
Many people have a quote or mantra that they apply to their lives. Do you have one also?

As my blog is about the art of fearless living, my life mantra is fear-related – We can choose to live in an open space of freedom, or reside within the gilded walls of our fears. It’s always our choice, and our choice alone. Outside of that frightful prison is where everything or anything is possible. Possibly, even our greatest potential. Inside the walls of prison, we shall remain small and our wings will be clipped. 

I find the visual imagery of your poetic words very cool. Thanks for sharing that. Tell me what you find appealing when reading other blogs?

Their writings, their thoughts, their different perspectives and their honesty. I find brutal honesty extremely sexy and appealing. So, anything that’s written from their hearts, I am hooked. No B.S and embellishments – just straight talk. 

I believe that many of the bloggers out there are extremely open and honest in their writing.
I have enjoyed chatting with you very much this evening. Do you have anything else that you wish to share in closing?

Just to clarify a little more about my Art of Fearless Living – it is not so much about jumping off planes, or scaling Mount Everest. Although it could very well include those. Fear does different things to different people. For some, it may the fear of telling the truth, while others have no problems with it. So, it is very personal.
The fearlessness I advocate demands courage from within – to conquer the mountains inside our minds, the limitations we’ve placed on ourselves, or our narrow views on people and life. It is about the fears that stop us from living our lives to the fullest, or even the lives we dream of. 
Here, please do not confuse fearlessness with recklessness. Recklessness implies a kind of disrespect to humanity, and hints of irresponsibility to oneself and others. The fearlessness I refer to is about taking back control of our lives, owning both the good and bad, but doing something positive about them. Because everything we fear and the tools to conquer those very fear are all inside us.
The fearless journey may begin from within, but it will take us to places we will never imagine possible. Once those walls of fear are broken down, we will see a brand new world bloom right before our very eyes. It will most certainly be life-changing.  
Like I always say at the end of my blog post – start your own brand of fearless living and love the life you live.
Thank you so much for your inspirational words Shirley. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you this evening. 🙂
Thank you, Sue, for being such a gracious host and allowing me to park myself at your couch. I hope I didn’t scare any of your pets. I know, Asian ladies don’t usually laugh that “heartily”. Thank you all for reading as well. It has been such an honour and delight. I better be off before I make myself too comfortable in this couch. See you all online 🙂
Thank you so much Shirley. I’m sure the Diva wasn’t scared at all 🙂

 

Happy Australia Day

Today, is the day we celebrate Australia Day.

This is for those of us who love the place we were born.
You can’t get more Australian than this – John Williamson standing on the back of Steve Irwin’s ute at Australia Zoo (Steve’s memorial service) singing “Home among the Gum Trees”.

Enjoy.

Upcycling – The new buzzword

upcycle
ˈʌpsʌɪk(ə)l/
verb
gerund or present participle: upcycling
1.
reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
The term upcycling is becoming more popular in today’s throwaway society as those who have had enough, find uses for items that others believe have no worth. In investigating this phenomenon I have discovered that upcycling is actually something that our grandparents used to do on a regular basis. During the great depression when money was scarce, many children wore clothes fashioned from the worn out dresses of their mothers and uses were found for just about anything.
(I wonder if at the time of filming Sound of Music, they would have thought that Frauleine Maria was a trendsetter when she upcycled the curtains in the children’s rooms into clothing)!
I’m sure my mother (who no doubt will read this) will have examples of times her grandparents have reused items and converted them into something else.
In the past, I have used tin cans and covered them with paper, ribbons and buttons to make holders of various sizes. And many would remember seeing gardens that have old car tyres that have been cut and painted to resemble swans. The gentleman down the road has a wheelbarrow in his front garden filled with flowers.
 These are just a few ideas of upcycling.
So what bought me to this post? It would be reading the post at Something to Ponder about her 30 Minute Makeover. I commented about a bar made by my wonderful Garden Gnome and I was asked to share photos lol
The old fish tank stand (I thought it was a table) that was used by my man had been sitting in our garage for years. It had originally come from the local second hand store and was used for stacking stuff on in the shed. When we moved, he found a way to re-purpose it. He doesn’t think this is much, but I love it! He has sanded it, stained it, clad it and put castors on it so we can take it outside when we have a BBQ. It has shelves underneath and also fits two bar stools (currently stored behind it).
And not to be outdone. My attempt at upcycling.
007

Fellow Blogger – Joy from Joynpain2

Fellow-BloggerThis evening I am speaking to a blogger who I really don’t know that well yet but also met through the Share Your WordPress Blogs Facebook page. Joy’s blog Joynpain2 is full of anecdotes of her life. Joy’s story on her About page takes you through her journey from anxiety to chronic pain from scar tissue, adhesions and fibromyalgia. Joy has had a lot to do with doctors and recently asked her GP to read her post Open Letter to General Practitioners but he did not take kindly to it unfortunately and seen in her post Appointment: Fail. However not all of Joy’s posts are medically themed. She recently also posted Sitting ’round the Kitchen Table with an update of how life is going for her right now.

Hi Joy. Welcome to the couch and thank you so much for chatting with me about your blogging experience. Tell me, what drew you to begin blogging?

 I was drawn to blogging because of a deep need for community. I wanted to find others who understood what I was going through and I felt the need to be there for others as well. At first, it was difficult to find others who suffer with adhesions like I do, but what I did find was a whole community of people with varying diagnosis that suffer from chronic pain. Little by little I started to find others who deal with adhesions. No matter what the diagnosis, chronic pain is chronic pain and we all believe, understand, and support each other.

I am so pleased that you have discovered a support network amongst other bloggers. That is a great thing to find. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging since July of 2013. Around that time I found out that there is no longer anything that can be done to “fix” me. That was a hard thing to accept and more than anything I needed someone to understand what I was feeling.

Another one for the 2013 Club. I really should get around to starting that I think. 😉 It must have been quite difficult for you to receive the diagnosis of ‘we can’t fix that’ I’m sure. 😦
When you created your blog, did you create with a particular theme in mind?

I mainly write about my personal struggles with chronic pain and adhesions. On occasion I will do an informational piece or a guest post.

Okay. I am assuming that you find comfort in writing about this and so that is a good thing. I’m big on writing as a form of therapy 😉 Do you believe you have gained anything from your time blogging?

Community. I have found the community that I was searching for when I began blogging. I have found people who listen, understand and care. This is undeniably the best support group I have come across. Also, I met my best friend here on WordPress. That to me is priceless.

That is wonderful – both finding a community of like minded souls and a best friend. You are blessed in that regard. Many people blog about challenges in their lives (as do you). Does blogging help you with this do you think?

 My life is a challenge. Just getting out of bed is challenging. However, I can express my feelings openly and honestly on my blog and instead do judgement like I might would receive elsewhere, here I get understanding and positive feedback.

I am sorry that you have been judged. People can be so cruel at times. But I am pleased you find support from your friends online. How often do you get the opportunity to blog?

 I try to blog everyday. Sometimes I am unable to write a post everyday, but on occasion I am able to do more than one.

And where do you find inspiration for your posts?

Everywhere. I usually post about my day or my week, but sometimes I get ideas from the weirdest places. Once, I was inspired by my reaction to a commercial I saw on TV. 

I’m glad I’m not the only one that is inspired by television commercials lol. Thank goodness for that. 😀
I ask everyone on the couch what their favourite quote or mantra is. Do you have one that gets you through each day?

Stay strong. Never give up. Be your own advocate. 

Wow! Great advice for anyone!
So tell me, what do you look for in another blog?

Usually I am drawn to other blogs because of the emotion that comes through in the writing. Other times I am drawn to a blog for the humor or the openness and honesty in the writing.

Great! They all sound wonderful yardsticks for finding another blog.
It’s been wonderful chatting with you Joy and finding your perspectives on blogging. Would you like to share anything else before we end this interview?

If I were to leave your readers with one thing, I suppose it would be that chronic pain patients don’t want sympathy. We want respect and we want you to believe us. That’s all.

I think that is all many of us want Joy. Those with mental illnesses, depression and other ‘unseen’ illnesses. We just want respect.
Thanks so much for chatting 🙂 It’s been a pleasure.