The Wonder of Children

For those of you who are not aware I am a qualified Kindergarten Teacher. I started my career working in a child care centre. I was one of those people who always knew what I wanted to “do” with my life and that was to work with children. While growing up I loved the idea of being a teacher, looking after the children and teaching them every day. I thought it would be the best job in the world. In some ways I still do. While I am in the midst of a career change, I still have a connection with children through my nieces, through my friend’s children and by continuing to work casually in Kindergartens and Child Care Centres.
If you have never watched a small child, I suggest you do. The way babies will giggle when playing a game of peek-a-boo, the way toddlers toddle around and get excited by a leaf, a stick or gravel that is on the path. They take the time to stop and look at their findings. They will pick it up and often with a big smile on their face they will show their Mum or Dad, proud of what they have discovered.
Those ‘A-Ha’ moments where a 3 year old has learnt how to do something for himself, or those moments where you see children being empathetic towards their peers because someone has broken their tower, or because they are missing their primary care giver.
There is a lot of information on connecting with your ‘inner child.’ Connecting with your inner child allows you to take time out from your busy schedule and ‘adult’ lives, and allows you to play. To re-discover the wonders of nature. I love the sound of gravel underneath my feet. I love autumn leaves and big oak trees. I love watching butterflies and dragonflies. Recently I swung on swings next to my niece (I couldn’t do it for too long – not coping well with motion sickness! Haha), but all the same I remembered how much fun it was just to swing.
There is a wonderful mediation that I did in a class once which was imagining meeting you as a child. What would you say to her? What would you want her to know? In her hand she is holding something and she gives it to you, it is something from your childhood – what is it? Give her a big hug and watch her drift away. It can be a confronting experience, but definitely one in which I recommend!
Take the time to get in touch with your inner child. You might feel ‘silly’ at first, but I can guarantee you will never feel more alive!
Sunshine, lollypops, autumn leaves and dragonflies,
Mindful Mel

Phone Addict

Hi, my name is Melissa and I am addicted to my mobile phone.
Are you addicted to technology? More specifically your mobile phone?
I am constantly scrolling aimlessly through social media in search for…..who knows what? I have found that I do this when I am bored and procrastinating.
Whilst I believe our mobile phones have a time and a place I feel they are getting in the way of a number of fundamental things that occur in everyday life, and we are now facing issues that our Grandparents couldn’t even begin to imagine!
Socialising with friends on the weekend is often a group of people sitting at a table scrolling through their phones rather than speaking to each other. Phone calls are taken while going through the check-outs at the Supermarket and common courtesy seems to have gone astray.
Over the last 6 nights I was blessed to go on a Cruise with my family. One of the most fabulous things about being at sea was the lack of communication that I had with the outside world. I had no idea what was going on in the news, in the world of social media, and I generally had no contact with anyone here on land.
While this might be enough to send you into a panic – I felt a sense of freedom. I often left my phone in my cabin while I attended shows, bingo games, live music, or just sat out on the deck. I was present in all of my conversations with others – no interruptions. It was pure bliss. Some people may have lost their minds, and suffered serve anxiety at the inability to have constant access to the world, but for me it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
Since returning to land, I have checked my emails, uploaded to social media, used it for business purposes, and sent numerous text messages. It’s funny how quickly you can revert to your old way of life.
Some of you may remember my past blog on mini challenges that I have set for myself throughout this year. One of those months (I will have to check which one) I am detoxing from technology and I honestly can’t wait! So much so that I am going to start a mobile free zone in between particular hours so that I can continue to practice being present, and to also stop procrastinating and get things done!
As February is coming to an end I wanted to reflect on Fitness Feb! The first 2 weeks I did exceptionally well! I trained hard, I took Teddy on walks and I pushed myself to my limits. The last week as I was away while I didn’t train as hard I used the stairs as much as I could on the ship. I went to a stretching class; I used the walking track and went to the gym. I’m very proud of my efforts and look forward to Minimisation March!
I hope this entry has helped you to reflect on your phone habits, and to reflect on your experience of Fitness Feb (for those of you who were joining me).
Until next week,
Mindful Mel

The Art of Online Dating

The Art of Online Dating, or is there? Is there an art to being successful in the realm of the internet dating sphere? Or just in dating in general?
I guess it all depends what it is that you are looking for online and what you determine as being successful. Is it how many hook ups you can have? Is it how many dates that you go on? Is it finding the man or woman of your dreams? Only you can decide what measures success for you.
However, I am here to clarify one thing and one thing only: The only way you can be successful in the dating world is by being yourself. Revolutionary, I know! (So far it’s worked out just great for me hahaha).
I’ve been on a couple of ‘dates’ (I believe that is what they are, although I prefer the term ‘Meet and Greet’s (on the first date that is), and the thing that I noticed is how different things can be in person vs behind the keyboard. You can be charming, witty, say all of the right things and appear to really ‘hit it off.’ The % rate of your compatibility is through the roof – all the signs of a match made in heaven! Then you meet, and it’s different. Maybe it’s different because based on all of the things that are outlined above you began to develop expectations. You started to think that maybe, just maybe the person you are going to meet could be the person that you are going to spend the rest of your life with. Of course you stop yourself in your tracks so that you don’t get too far ahead of yourself, but in the back of your mind there is that irritating, annoying mosquito like voice buzzing “what if?” What if this is the beginning of the rest of your life?! *Mind in overdrive*
I think I have mentioned in a previous blog that I believe everyone enters your life for a “reason, a season or a lifetime.” Everyone enters your life to teach you a lesson of some kind. It may be quick; such as talking to a stranger at a bus stop, it maybe for a little while – think of the people that you study or work with, and it might be for your whole life. People will slowly or quickly exit your life when you have learnt all that you can from each other. Sometimes the lessons will be evident, other times the lesson may not surface until later on. In the world of online dating you may chat to someone and the conversation just fizzles out, or you go on a date and realise someone isn’t for you and you discover why that is, which helps direct you onto the path of what it is that you are looking for.
I didn’t consider how being rejected would feel. I, of course went in with an open mind that I wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, nor would everyone be mine. Despite whether you like someone or not, being told that they are “just not into you” hits you hard and it hurts. Why? Because we are humans and we have emotions. That despite whether we were feeling it or not we do just long for a connection with someone, to be loved. Then there are other times where the feeling is mutual. You might get on like a house on fire, but there is no spark. Nothing to ignite a flame. When the feeling is mutual it is so much easier to accept! There is a sense of relief. Then you realise you are back at square one and starting all over again.
However, this is the world my friend and as my girl Kelly Clarkson once said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and my other girl Ariana said “thank-you next.” It’s important to consider the lessons learnt, to not take it personally, that you are a goddess and one day someone will think of you and treat you in that exact way.
Stay tuned for more of the Online Dating Chronicles!

Looking for Ikigai

I’ve been reading the book ‘Ikigai’ written by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles. I highly recommend it. Ikigai is a Japanese concept in which they believe leads to a long and happy life. They discuss that ikigai involves having a life purpose. We all have one, it is just figuring out what it is. Ikigai is also about flow whereby you are completely absorbed in what you are doing that you have no concept of time, such as catching up with a good friend and talking for what feels like an hour, but turns out to be half the day. During that time together you haven’t worried about what you have to do later on, you are just enthralled in one another’s company. When I read about the concept of flow, whereby you are so immersed into what you are doing that time seemed to fly. You are 110% focused on the task at hand that no other thoughts enter. There is no dwelling on the past, or anxiety about the future. You are completely immersed within the present. I was taken back to a time where I was exactly like this. It was at the beginning of my career in child care. It was my happy place. From the moment I arrived at the centre any cares or worries that I had were left at the front gate, I would enter the premises and all that mattered for the 9 hours that I was there were those children. The time flew without me knowing where it had gone. I built beautiful strong relationships with the children and with their families. I felt like I had the best job in the world.

Fast forward 13 years and how much has that changed. Somewhere, for some reason I lost the passion, I lost my ikigai. Is it because I grew older and I had more responsibilities? Is it because of the increased use of technology and the ongoing need to be connected and multitask? Is it because we are on constant time restraints to fit in all of the things in the same 24 hours? Is it because my personal life turned upside down that I ended up suffering compassionate fatigue, where I just didn’t have the energy to care anymore? That last statement is very difficult to admit, and not one in which a lot of people will understand. Compassionate fatigue occurs in many careers where the primary role is to care, and I think when your own needs are not being met, and they are completely depleted it is very difficult to care for others when you are struggling to just care for yourself. Maybe it was a combination of all of the above as to why I lost my ikigai.

Now, your ikigai doesn’t have to be your job. It could be anything that you enjoy doing that allows you to be completely present. It could be a hobby – dancing, reading a good book, gardening, going out on a hike or a long walk, painting, volunteering at a nursing home, going surfing. Whatever it might be, do the things that make you forget about your past, and make you stop worrying about your future. Simply just be.

Do you have an ikigai?

Mindful Mel

The Online Dating Chronicles

Online dating has got me feeling very Ali Otjen, Bacherlotte style. Strutting down sun kissed streets, hair braided, an array of eligible Bachelors waiting to sweep me off my feet…ok, ok, it’s not quite as glamorous and staged as the reality dating shows, and who am I kidding? I can’t braid my hair! Online dating is purely just that until you meet in a face to face setting and you gage if there is chemistry and a connection. I wanted to take you on a stroll through the humorous things I have encounted during my brief journey with online dating.
Now, all of the examples I have listed below are all REAL. I promise I have not made any of them up or embellished the truth. I have literally laughed out loud when receiving these messages, cringed at others, and almost wanted to vomit at one in particular. Seriously…do these lines work on women? I don’t know…maybe they do, but it certainly takes a lot to charm the socks off me!
Enjoy my friends!
*All names have been changed*
Albert: “Hi Melissa how are you? You are absolutely, astoundingly gorgeous. Hey are u my appendix because I don’t understand how you work but this feeling in my stomach makes me want to take you out.” (Seriously? Does that work?)
Benji: “Hi Melissa What’s your last favourite question guys ask you on here?” (I don’t know…probably this one)
Charles: “Yo your a honey. Can I get a chance with you?” (Yo, no you cannot)
Dave: “Houston…do you read me?” (No, I do not)
Edward: “Do you like night markets and escape rooms?” (I haven’t done an escape room before, but the fact that this is your first question and I don’t know you, I am declining)
Fred: “Hi, the love of my life” (yeah…nah)
Gordon: “Could I interest you in an Irish man? Funny, smart, killer accent, can be good but prefers to be naughty 😉 Comes with loads of extras and a warranty provided with 100% Satisfaction 😉 (hahahaha)
Harry: “I am a photographer, looking forward to re-build my portfolio for portrait and model photography with natural light. You actually look beautiful and perfect as a model and I love to click your pictures.” (Thank you, but no thank you)
Ivan: “Hey what pair of shoes would you like? I would like to pamper you in some small way” (I’m not your shoes type of gal lol)
Jackson: “Cute smile and happy eyes. You surely seem cool, happy, confident yet serene and down to earth. Adore your simplicity/gracefulness and still you look elegant – just brilliant! I’d like to get to know you and can sense we’d have a lot to chat with given both Sagittarius ” (Ooooo na na eh, don’t act like you know me, like you know me)
Kel: “Hey hey…how are you doing? How was your weekend? OMG: you must be the most beautiful girl on here…but I am so confused, can I please ask you something??? ” (The old, can I ask you something trick and the next thing you know you are buying a life time worth of beauty supplies)
Leon: “So why are you single? Lol” (insert eye roll)
Marshall: “Seriously, have you ever peed on a guy?” (I think I just vomited in my mouth)
Nigel: “I can be your Prince William. I don’t have a castle but I do have a good heart. And I still have hair left on my head.” (Bahahahaha)
Ladies and Gentleman, it is not easy out there – let me tell you! And clearly not the Bachelorette glitz and glamour that you see. I don’t have a production crew weeding out the odd bods, but I’m not too bad at picking and choosing myself either 🙂  

Challenge Accepted!

As I mentioned a few blog posts ago, I’m not a big believer in New Years Resolutions. I much prefer to set myself mini goals that I know I will be able to work towards and achieve that sense of accomplishment. I decided this year I would set myself some mini monthly challenges (it seems achievable now, but come back to me when I am back studying and working…but I have faith in me, so I shall push on! 😉

These mini monthly challenges will involve the following:
*Fitness Feb: This ties in well with the gym’s 6 week challenge – I make the commitment to workout 4 times a week at the gym, go for a run 2 times a week and of course walk Ted Balls (for those reading along at home Ted Balls is one of the nicknames for my dog Teddy).
*Minimalisation March: Minimisation all the way – minimise the amount of spending I do and take the opportunity to get rid of anything that “no longer serves me” or doesn’t “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say, such as donating old clothes, books etc.
*Appreciation April: Each day write down 5 things that I appreciate, and that I am grateful for.
*Meditation May: To meditate everyday in the month of May. That’s 31 days of mindful meditation.
*June: TBA
*July: TBA
*August: TBA
*Spend less September: To only spend money on the necessities – food and hygiene products, bills. No random crapola. No clothes, no mani’s or pedi’s, just the bare necessities…the simple bare necessities…Forget about your worries and your strife…(Bare Necessities, The Jungle Book).
*October: TBA
*Net-Free November: Detox from social media! *Conditions apply* The only social media I will be able to use is for my business. All other forms will be logged out of for the month of November – good for the body and soul! Plus I will probably get more shite done…
*December: TBA
Now clearly I have a theme going on here…using alliterations to create the challenges! If you have any ideas or suggestions for challenges in the other months that state TBA please let me know…Will I accept your challenge?

Back When…

I’ve found myself having the feeling of nostalgia lately. When I find myself in these moods I question myself why? Usually there is an underlying cause for the reminiscing, for the longing of what was, or what has past. Sometimes it is a conscious thing, but other times it is embedded in the subconscious and it’s not until you do some digging around that you realise the why. For me, I believe that it is because it is coming up to a year since I left my old home, or maybe it is because of the first grey hair that I found (although if I am honest with you, I am actually proud of this grey hair and I’ve been showing it off to all the people lol)…Back to the house, while I haven’t been having thoughts about my old house in particular, I’ve thought about different stages in my life, a wishing and longing to be younger, to be back in the “good old days” where responsibilities were left up to the ‘grown ups.’ Here we are…now we are the ‘grown ups’ left to work out all of the things, and quiet often than not just floating along like a jelly fish with no clue of where we will end up, making it up as we blob along.

I’ve found myself wishing that I didn’t take those moments for granted. Wishing that I was completely present and immersed in all of the moments. This is where I have found my struggle lately, in the attempt to be totally present and focused on the moment; however my mind has been running 100 miles an hour of worries, and all of the things that I still “have to do.” This is a battle between being present and worrying about the future.

Another struggle is comparison…in this day and age where social media is the in thing it is so easy to get caught up in comparing your own life to those that you see on social media. I am guilty as charged. Some of us women compare our bodies to other women wishing that we “looked like that” or the lifestyle of others “oooo they look like they have so much fun all the time” then the thing that gets me – the family photos. You know the ones – the engagement photos, the wedding photos, the we are expecting a baby photos, the baby has arrived photos (now, I must be clear here. I am not talking about my own family and friends, not at all; I am talking making the comparison to strangers, to celebrities). These are the ones that remind me I am a 32 year old single woman who is so far removed from that reality. It appears to be a life for everyone else, but not for me (despite my longing for that life). This is where the comparison is a killer. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere does it say you have to be married or have a baby by a certain time. We are our own worst enemy in that we put times and schedules on when we think we should have achieved certain things. There is no right or wrong. I’ve tried to put my faith into the Universe and know that when the timing is right, I will meet my person and we will be ‘that’ family. Furthermore, these photographs that we see on social media are purely just snap shots. It doesn’t show the fighting, the bickering, how tired and stressed an individual or family is. It is purely just a snap shot in time.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” We date, we meet people, and we think that maybe this person is “the one,” but it doesn’t end up that way. We can feel heartbroken and defeated, feel that love was not destined for us, or that we are just absolute hopeless at choosing prospective partners, but when you look at it from the perspective that not ending up with that person, or in other areas of our life – not getting that job, or not getting that house is actually making way for the person, job, house etc that is meant for us.

Whilst it is nice to revisit to the past, to reminisce on what was, it is important not to get stuck there. Remember how you got to where you today and make a plan to keep moving forward. One step at a time. One day you will look back on this day and remember it for what it was.

I’m going to leave it here with the chorus of a song by Tim McGraw “Back When”

Back when a hoe was a hoe
Coke was a coke
And crack’s what you were doing
When you were cracking jokes
Back when a screw was a screw
The wind was all that blew
And when you said I’m down with that
Well it meant you had the flu
I miss back when
I miss back when
I miss back when