Guest Post: Goodbyes

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Goodbyes can be difficult. Saying goodbye to someone can be full of heartbreak and a moment of loss.

Of course in our modern technological laden world, a goodbye doesn’t need to be permanent. There are many ways we can keep in contact with someone despite them leaving. This is the joy of social media.

It is time for me to say goodbye. I have written a semi-regular fortnightly guest post for Kooklah for almost six months. It is now time for this stage to come to an end. My blog is growing and I am enjoying putting too much time and energy into it. I want to focus upon my blog in this time of growth. So, unfortunately I need to stop my regular contributions to Kooklah.

I love the style that Kooklah radiates. She is truly beautiful. And, her knowledge! I love this post on embracing headscarfs. I refer to it often and practice at home!

Perhaps one day, I’ll share my writing here again.

I trust that you will continue to be a positive seeking girl. I hope that you will come and visit me at Creating Contentment if you need some more inspiration, but Kooklah is on her own wellbeing journey and can also give you motivation and guidance to become the positive seeking girls you want to be. And you can be! I promise. It just takes a little bit of work, and a whole lot of practice. I speak from experience.

So, smile cause you’re beautiful. You just need to believe it.

Thank you for letting me into your space and reading my words. It has been such a pleasure. I have loved this experience. Writing here has helped me grow and learn. I will always be grateful.

So, goodbye. Take care.

And remember if you want to stay in touch, there are many ways to contact me. xS

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Thankyou to Sarah for this open and honest post, your lovely words will be missed. I wish your own blog well, and look forward to clicking over to read your future posts. KOOKLAH xo

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Guest Post: the Forgiveness Challenge

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I have been participating in Desmond Tutu’s Forgiveness Challenge.  Each day you are guided through how to forgive.

The Forgiveness Challenge teaches what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not weak. Rather, forgiveness is an essential part of feeling whole.

The forgiveness Challenge aims to teach you how to bring more love and peace into your life, and help the world heal. This is because forgiveness teaches you to see the humanity in others. That is, despite whatever horrendous acts committed, they too have all the rights that you have.

I believe that forgiveness is an important part of acceptance. When you forgive someone or a situation, you are letting go of the possibility of a different past. Through forgiveness, you let go of the hurt and anger that you are holding onto. It is this hurt and anger that is preventing you from being all you can be. After forgiveness you shall be more able to accept the circumstances of your life. All these steps you have taken, and why you have ended up ‘here’ will become more clear. This is acceptance.

Acceptance is the recognition that you are right where you are meant to be. That the world is as it should be. And with such acceptance, will come contentment.

I like to think of contentment as an ‘equanimity’. The world will feel balanced. You will feel … not necessarily in control, but safe. Loved. Guided. Contentment will bring with it an understanding that bad things will happen, but they have a place, and that this too, shall pass. Contentment will allow you to always see all the good, despite the bad.

The Forgiveness Challenge started officially on the 4th May and runs for 30 days. I am only up to Day 6 of my Forgiveness Challenge. I am taking it slow. I am doing this because at times is is emotionally overwhelming. But, it is also because, I like to be doing multiple things at once. I have learnt that the ability to switch from one project to another is what keeps me interested and motivated. Ultimately, I think it is more important to complete the Challenge, to go through this process of forgiveness. I want to give it the attention it deserves, and sometimes I do not have the mental space or the physical time I wish to donate toward the Forgiveness Challenge. And so, I am taking it slow.

We have been asked to choose one person to forgive. One person to focus our learnings upon. One person.

I choose myself.

I need to forgive myself for so many bad choices. I need to forgive the situations I ended up in. I need to stop blaming myself as it is just hurting me. I am only causing myself damage. And it is now time to heal, to let go and to move on.

And, I wanted to extend an invitation for you to join me. I want you to take this step in healing yourself, and healing the world with me. I want you to do it because I believe that you will benefit, and I’d like the company.

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Thanks Sarah for this guest post, I am definitely going to consider participating in this.. Kooklah.

 

Talking Happy

Hi Gorgeous readers,

This week my guest post for Creating Contentment focuses on happiness and talks some more about the 100 day challenge I wrote about in 100 Days of Happy. Click over to read it, I have included a small excerpt below:

For the past eleven months I have been on a journey to restore balance, positivity and happiness in my life. This has included creating Project 2014 ‘For the Positive Seeking Girl’.  I have found I become so easily influenced by the negative experiences and want to break this cycle …

Kooklah Xo

Guest Post: Everything is as it should be

Editor: I hope you enjoy this guest post from Sarah as much as I have, I look forward to your feedback.

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These words have been a bit of a mantra of mine of late.

I am running late for a doctors appointment, and traffic is a nightmare. But, it is all okay, because I am exactly where I need to be. Everything is as it should be.

This acceptance that the world is perfect just as it is, is a lovely realisation to come too. The world is perfect in its imperfections. And you are too!

This realisation is a step towards a greater acceptance that I need to come to. I need to accept the autism in my life, that my children are exactly as they are meant to be. I am not there yet. I am not willing to let go of the possibility that I can somehow ‘improve’ them. They need to be better in order to function as adults, and I want this so much for them.

As I said, it is a step forward. A small step, but forward.

I believe that it is easier to start on the inconsequential. If I can accept that we have ran out of coconut flakes, then surely, eventually, I can accept that my pain won’t ever go away. If I can talk myself out of the stress of traffic standing still on the freeway, then there is hope that one day I will accept I was not invited to the wedding of someone who I thought of as a good friend.

Acceptance is tied up with forgiveness. Both are hard. But start small and eventually we’ll get there.

Try to remind yourself that everything is just as it should be and let me know how you go.

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Give a Gift to Everyone You Meet

I am thrilled to be sharing this post with you all {uploading late – sorry!}, a brilliant post gifted to us from Sarah at Creating Contentment with an important message. In life we all give and take, but do we all give enough of ourselves to others? Do we even recognise the gift we have, that we are? It was lovely to read this after a testing week and reflect on what I have to offer….
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I came across this line recently and think it rather lovely.

Give The Gift Of You.
YOU are a gift. Share this gift with everyone you meet. Now of course, I don’t mean a literal gift.

Smile at others. Ask after their day. Be kind. Be polite. Listen to people.

The simple act of smiling releases endorphins making you feel happier.

Being kind towards others encourages more kindness. 

By asking the girl at the supermarket how she is, you will develop ties with your community and strong community ties are important for a healthy wellbeing. 

Developing a sense of community can be difficult. You need to put yourself out there. You need to give yourself to the community. But before you can gift yourself to others, you need to believe yourself to be a worthy gift. And I am here to tell you that you are!

I too, have struggled to integrate myself in my local community, especially my children’s school. There are lots of articles like this one that describe the mother ‘types’ at schools and explore the difficulties of the school years. I find such articles unhelpful and hurtful. In this one in particular, I am five of the different mother types listed. It is judgmental and encourages stereotypes. I hope that other mothers can look at me for who I am, rather than the mother that sends her child to school with kale chips. Or, feel the need to be nasty because I enjoy dressing up to drop the kids off. 

If you want to meet new people, a common suggestion given is to do new things. So I signed up to do heaps of stuff at the boys school. I was (and am) on committees and boards, I volunteer in the classroom and help out on excursions. I’m often early to pick up my children and like to chat with other mums and teachers in the school yard. I hang around long after the last bell to give my children a run around on the oval and the playground. I feel like I am almost always there and am very willing to help. Yet, despite all this effort on my part, I didn’t feel ‘in’ or accepted. I still didn’t feel as if other mothers were being friendly towards me or as if I belonged to the school community.  

Over the summer holidays, I decided that a big part of this equation is me. I can control what I do and how I am. So, I decided to be happy (at school). I have decided to smile more. I have decided to approach other mothers, rather than stand apart. I decided to make eye contact. I now always say good morning. I ask how they are. I participate in the school community because I want to, rather than because I am needed.

There is more to community than simply going along. You need to give yourself to others.

It is for this reason that I also share a photo of myself everyday on Facebook and Instagram. I am putting myself out there as a gift. I hope that I am received well, but ultimately that is not something I can control so I am trying not to worry about it. 

But essentially, it is basic physics. Karma if you like. What you put out, you will receive. I am going to be friendly so to make friends. I am going to give myself, so that others will give themselves back to me.

Being apart of a community is something I value, and studies show that it is an important part of a persons healthy wellbeing. So, not only am I going along to everything but I am going to have fun and be joyful, smile and be positive. It does not matter how others perceive my behaviour, I cannot control the amount of themselves they give me. But, I am going to give myself, because I am worth giving.

What do you think? Am I onto something here?

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“a paediatrician and Centrelink”

Today I bring to you the now regular fortnightly guestpost from Sarah at Creating Contentment. It is a day late in posting – my apologies Sarah! – but is a fantastic read. What is below is a truly honest, heartfelt account that allows you to feel completely in the moment with Sarah and empathise with her feelings. It is a reminder of the power of positive thinking… how negativity can change perspectives of experiences. I really want to thank Sarah for the chance to be let into her world and for taking a risk at been vulnerable. I would love to hear your thoughts, comments or similar experiences, either via posting below this post, on our facebook page {click here} or commenting on instagram (@saregiak – me/FTSSG + @creatingcontentment) …….

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Recently I had two appointments straight after each other. One was to see our paediatrician for Third, and the next was with Centrelink.

These appointments were made a long time ago. I had made the appointment to see our paediatrician at our last appointment three months ago. Centrelink informed me that I had to attend a meeting with them about a month before hand. I added both to the calendar in my phone, and didn’t think more of it.

Two weeks out, I update our weekly family schedule. It was only then that I realised that I was double booked. Neither appointment was able to be changed. Our paediatrician is booked months in advanced, and we needed to see him before the start of the school year. And Centrelink? Well, it is just too difficult to call and talk to them.

So I had to be at our paediatrician’s at 10.30am. The Centrelink appointment was at 11am. It was near impossible to do both. To make matters worse, the paediatrician’s receptionist called to inform me that he was no longer going to travel to our area to visit clients, but they were willing to a give me the same appointment time and date if I travelled to see him. An hour away. I felt like I had no choice and agreed.

I told myself, and Husband, that Centrelink would not care if I was half an hour to an hour late. I told him that Centrelink would only stop our payments at the end of the day, not immediately, and hoped it was true.

From the moment I wrote up our weekly schedule on the family whiteboard I became anxious. I was worried about the logistics of time and place. I was stressing over the possible lack of income. I was very worried over the possible out come of both appointments.

The paediatrician has this power to take away and give me ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ children. His words have changed my life before. His words still shape my everyday. In a sense, everything started and stemmed from him.

And Centrelink, they have the power to take our income, to severely change our lifestyle, to change everything.

I dressed the morning of these appointment with trepidation. I was nervous and scared. I wore a big comfy cardigan to keep myself safe. I shared THIS  picture on Instagram.

Someone commented on the picture with these words:

“Think always positive @creatingcontentment get the good vibes going. Don’t ever go into an appointment with negativity and always have an open mind.”

These words really resonated with me. I told her, that she had a good point. A point that didn’t occur to me.

Like you, I am learning.

Like you, I am on a journey.

I often forget where I am going, and what I am doing it for.

I am not naturally positive. I am dark and morose, anxious and fearful. But I am hoping to change my ways. I am trying so hard to change my thoughts. Everyday, I am practicing. Everyday, I am getting more contentment and being a little bit less reactive.

This photo is now a reminded of my general attitude. That I often expect the worse and attempt to protect myself from it. Look at my body language, it is speaking volumes of how uneasy I am feeling.

Reread my words above.

Notice how I am dwelling on the negative in the past with our paediatrician. Notice how I am obsessing about the future. Notice how I judged. These are all easy ways to be negative. Thinking this way is the best way to make yourself feel anxious, stressed and overwhelmed.

It is a reminder that I should look to the positive, that the positive is there. It is a reminder to practice my mindfulness. To focus upon the now. To embrace the possibility of positivity.

And the positive was there.

The paediatrician just wanted to have a chat. He wanted to check that I felt safe with Third going to a mainstream school. He wanted to write letters to the school offering support and assistance. He wanted to make sure that I felt good about the decisions we had made. He was being kind and generous.

Amazingly, so was Centrelink. They were double (triple) checking that my injury was still existent. They wanted to make sure that we were being provided with the full extent of benefits available to us. They wanted to book me in for further appointments in the hope of progression.

And you know what?

I hope that the next time I see Centrelink that I have progressed. I hope that I can begin to see more of the good. I hope that I can be more hopeful.

I’m going to start tomorrow right now.

Tomorrow is the first day back at school for First and Second. It is going to be great!!

What is going to be great for you?

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Focus On Your Joys

Today I have another guest post from lovely Sarah from Creating Contentment and this post she has written for us really spoke to me.. She bravely shares problems she has {either with herself or with life} and then shows us her joys… I know how easy it can be to take the negatives and get weighed down with them, if you can also appreciate this, or if you want some tips on how to identify the joys as they come please keep reading. Let us know what you think! Kooklah/Sarah x x

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I have a lot of problems in my life. There are medical and mental issues. We have financial worries. I have five children, which has create both standard every mother problems and unique problems. I have children with autism. I have university stressors. There are time constraints and space constraints. I worry about my family, my children, my husband  and my friends. I get anxious that it is all getting to much. The weather gets to me. I feel bored and tired and get sick and over it all. I want to do more of some things and I want less of others. I want to feel balance and calm and contentment. I want to be tidier and more organised. I want to read more and relax ….

Goodness, I could go on and on. That just took me less than a minute to write. And another concern is that this is not the end. There is so many problems in my life that I could dwell on.

Just writing this, my shoulders have slumped. My neck suddenly feels tense and tight. I feel teary, overwhelmed and scared. All my problems are on top of me, suffocating me.

I started writing about my problems to demonstrate a point to myself, and hopefully you as well. We like dwelling on our issues. I find that many of my conversations, and those that I overhear, are often quite negative in tone. I have never heard a women during kinder drop off talk about how wonderful her husband is. But I have heard many millions of conversations about how he doesn’t help at home, won’t play with the children, can’t come to appointments, works too much and demands too much sex. Talking about the negative is catching. It is easy to join in on these conversations and add your own tale of woe. And it is easy to get sympathy from others when they are in the mids of their own sad sorry story.

So, today I am going to try and inspire you to break this habit by sharing some of the joys in my life.

I have five children. Five healthy, robust babies that have grown into beautiful children with lovely manners. Five lovely pregnancies and five successful births. Five times I’ve conceived easily, naturally and breastfed as long as I’ve wanted.

I married the most wonderful man, and we are making our best effort at living happily ever after. He can cook and clean. He is intelligent and wise. He is a brilliant, gentle and caring father. He looks after me and loves me.

We have a home that is welcoming and comfortable. It is a home full of noise and love. The many messy’s tell of lots of fun play and creative learnings and therapy sessions.

I am alive. I survived a serious car accident with major injuries. I can walk and play with my children. I can read with them, help them with their homework and enjoy many a hug with them.

I attend university. I am often amazed that I find myself back again, reading and learning. I am educated and have the ability to read and research on any topic that I’m interested, from Madras to Epicurus, from autism to green smoothies.

Now, I’ll admit that this list was harder to write. It was so much harder to come up with multiple joys. It is something that I am actively practicing. Being grateful and joyous is not something that is coming naturally to me. But these qualities are what I want to be. And so I practice.

Every night I write in my gratitude diary. Everynight, before bed, I sit and try and think of three things I am grateful for and write them down. Every week I participate in Thankful Thursday on A Parenting Life, where I try to spend some time and write a whole post about something I am thankful for. You can read my previous  posts HERE.

And this practice makes me happy. By focusing upon my joys, I am ignoring my problems. What you focus upon becomes clearer. So, my joys are becoming more obvious to me, and seem to be multiplying. Which is a joy in and of itself.

So, try not to dwell on the bad stuff that happens. Focus on your joys.

Share them here and watch them multiply!

I would love to know what makes you feel joyful.