Monday 18th October 2021

Water. 41/51 #LifeThisWeek. 121/2021.

Water. 41/51 #LifeThisWeek. 121/2021.

I admit that water is my favourite drink and tends to be from a bottle. It is a small one that I can fit into my bag. I buy these bottles in bulk from the supermarket and then  re-fill for a time. With both of us ageing, and dry mouths from time to time, each of us needs a sip or two when we are out in the car or waiting…at the doctor’s for one. I also have to have water nearby to help any food that may not want to go down with ease. That is the legacy of the reconstruction of my mouth inside

This post however  moves away from the practical and necessary aspects of water to these images;

 

 

Papa aka Bernard caring for the pool water whilst grandkids LOVE the fun. 2014. We had pools in almost all of our backyards and this one was particularly loved by little ones as we had a ‘beach area’ where they could play and feel safe (under an adult’s eye) until ready to strike out into the deeper water.

Love this shot of Miss 4

 

We lived in north-western Sydney and there was a man-made lake nearby – Bella Vista and it was somewhere pleasant to walk around the board walk and look at the ducks – very overfed – and perhaps get a milkshake and donut afterwards. Back in 2014. Miss GD (who photographed our pre- Wedding Anniversary shots) with her lil sis who is now 9.

 

One granddaughter (#7 grandchild, #5 granddaughter) was being born….as this extremely wet day poured water everywhere…I was driving back home and would find out once I was there, she had been born back in 2013.

And some favourites from now and the past….

Then there was this:

A young grandson into the water at the beach. His grandfather was not far away. Soon after we had moved to the coast he had a special stay in January 2015.

Oh….and yesterday was  his 14th Birthday!!

 

Then there is this view…from inside the Sydney Opera House, of Sydney Harbour. A big favourite of mine and many in the water stakes. I was attending TedX 2015.

 

As a family we all enjoy being near or on the water. Not everyone likes the waves and current of the surf (and we oldies would say that now too) but as younger adults both B and I loved to surf. Both of us spent our formative years by the ocean.

 

And then there is this: my favourite place to visit: summer, winter and all the in-between times. The roaring winds, the gentle waves, the sand where I walk…and perhaps the water where I paddle all help to ground me and help me focus on “now”….this image of me, taken in June 2017 just after my cancer diagnosis and before any surgeries. I think I was pretty determined to come here to make more memories and to help me have those to view for what was ahead. It was a good plan.

But then: how wonderful, some 3 years later, to be taking an image of Avoca Beach at sunset before speaking at a head and neck cancer fundraiser ball….

 

I could find more images but suffice to say, I love being by the water. I am also respectful of water where levels may rise quickly in heavy rain. It’s a wonderful resource but being from nature we need to be careful of it too. I would never go into the sea here and it’s easy to see how powerful that surf is and how some rock fishing people can be swept off rocks…

I admit this is a bit of an emotional way to finish. My Dad, is well over 97, and has been in lockdown at Dee Why in his independent retirement unit for as long as we have. Hopefully I will be visiting him as this post goes live or in that week.

Dad (in this image, in blue shirt) walked at Manly, on the beach for years and years before Mum died in 2007 and then probably tended to walk along the paths to and from Fairy Bower. He loves this place.

He grew up in Wollongong near the water so it’s always been special for him. We have talked about where his ashes may go after his death…and this maybe where. Not that he is going anywhere soon.

I am a fan of water that is for sure.

And here is a special short video taken of the water about 20 minutes from home:

How about you?

Denyse.

Link Up #261.

Life This Week. Link Up #261.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s Optional Prompt: 42/51 Self Care Stories #6. 18 Oct. Link Up #262 

I will be doing a Part One of Two Tribute to the Women of Courage series. Part Two will be the following Monday.

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Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek.120/2021.

Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek. 120/2021.

Every 5th Week on Mondays

This is the month just past of September 2021 where I determined I needed a challenge. I thought of this:

#ShareSeptember

#oneword

#onephoto

I invited friends and bloggers to join in to #shareseptember as part of Instagram posts and these lovely people did: Thank you!

Their instagram handles are next to each name.

Debbie: @debs__world

Sue: @womenlivingwellafter50

Jo: @jotracey

Christie: @christiehawkes

Jennifer: @jenniferalisonjones

Marilyn: @downmarilyn

Susanne: @susanneguitar

Leanne: @leanne_d_b

One Word Selections. One Photo Too.

I had the idea to do this after reading Comfort (not yet finished) by Matt Haig where he wrote of taking time to notice, or be or find one beautiful thing. I included that page in this photo challenge.

Every one of us will find meaning in words and the challenge was to find a photo which meant something to you about that word. I know I looked inward quite a bit and sought photos from less recent times as I had tended to have already shared them.

I also wanted to add more creativity to my #ShareSeptember and chose to print each photo and then mount it onto a square card of my art work. I photographed that and then, over time using two different photo apps I added the frame and the print out to look like dymo tape. It was good to have more to distract me in lockdown so the complications I added were for that very reason.

In the instagram post I would add my details about the why of the image, and I also used an art journal to add them, and then write more. In other words, I kept a record that is more than just about photos.

And what came together well on-line, because following social media can be a challenge (ha! that word again!) so the use of #ShareSeptember by all those who took part and some who kindly added my name so I saw your images daily meant we got to connect.

Thank you all.

It was fun and I enjoyed connecting. By the time this post goes live my instagram account where I had this challenge is being deleted. I explained last week. However, I have the records here and I am grateful for that.

If you wish to follow me on Instagram it’s @denysewhelan_blogs and this is my avatar while the change is happening from two to one.

 

 

Thank you to my friends from social media who took part in #ShareSeptember.

Did you know my instagram account for @denysewhelan_blogs links to the right hand side column of the blog?

I am, as I promised myself, slowing down to take more time to connect in person and have more time to enjoy outside and whilst there will be photos shared…I wouldn’t know who I was if I did not, I am not making up any new challenges!

Update: Over the past days I have been oh so slowly deleting MANY of my photos from social media: Instagram and Facebook, including the Facebook page Denyse Whelan Blogs. Why? I have shared many images over the past few years. More than anything, to connect with others and to share my progress with head and neck cancer. I also need connections. However, in my new goal of going more slowly and blogging less, I will be sharing on social media less…for ONE very good reason. Every image shared on Facebook and Instagram becomes theirs until “I” delete it. And, to delete it, there is only ONE way…one image at a time. I have found after about 15-20 times, the system stops deleting. I found I had high 100s of photos which were duplicated because I shared to Facebook as well as on Instagram. Now, I am much wiser…and over this detailed action. Believe me, there is no multiple ways of deleting. 

Take care,

Denyse.

P.S. This is now Daylight Saving in parts of Australia. Where I live in N.S.W. we have just put the clocks forward one hour for next 6 months. It creates a lot of confusion at times and I am pretty sure my Queensland friends have an opinion on “not taking part” in Daylight Saving. And I know those in Western Australia …and perhaps NT, are maybe happier without it. It IS all an individual’s response!

Link Up #260.

Life This Week. Link Up #260.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: Water 41/51 

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Women of Courage Series. #74. Ness. 119/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #74. Ness. 119/2021.

Two years & five months ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will conclude today: Thursday 30 September 2021.

Over a couple of weeks soon, I will publish a round-up series of posts  of the women who contributed: not all shared their names and some used initials only but all shared their story and I thank them over and over for their courage to do so. 

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

 

Trigger warning: Miscarriage and infant death. Breast cancer. Information may be found at the end of the post.

 

 

Welcoming Vanessa or Ness for short to this series. Interestingly we have known each other via blogging for probably around 10 years and she turned 50 this year just as my daughter did. We lived within about 8 kms of each other too for a along time, and most likely crossed paths in the local big shopping centre! But we have not yet met IRL (in real life) as they say. So, my words about Ness will likely make her blush a bit but I am not sorry. And we share a love of Downton Abbey!!

I have seen this woman’s life as she describes some of it here via her updates on social media platforms we both were part of when Australian blogging was a much bigger ‘thing’. I remember health news. Cancer news I mean. I also recall the ways in which she had to get on with what was very anxiety producing in treatment and recovery. We are both fans of the work based on Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and there is a link at the end of the post.

May I add too, how proud I am to have seen Ness become trained in her work to be able to work in a library and even in Covid I see that she continues to make a contribution…and best of all, she has returned to blogging. Welcome back Ness. You were missed!

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Over the years I’ve had an ongoing struggle with anxiety which eventually led to me figuring out that I’m on the autistic spectrum. I was officially diagnosed ten years ago at age 40.

In 2004 my husband was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Thankfully he is a survivor and going strong. It was a difficult period dealing with his treatment while we also had a toddler and a baby.

In 2007 I was expecting again but had a late miscarriage and had to give birth to my deceased baby which was very traumatic and devastating. Luckily I subsequently had another baby in 2008 and completed our family.

In late 2015 I was diagnosed with early stage triple negative breast cancer and underwent a lumpectomy plus chemotherapy and radiation.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I spent many years as a stay at home parent but a year or two after my cancer treatment I began volunteer work for St. Vincent De Paul Society Service Centre .

Eventually I went back to TAFE and achieved a Diploma of Library and Information Services.

I originally worked in libraries and had always thought I’d eventually get back into it.

I got a casual job with a council library in January and also  work for a library shelf ready service.

So I guess the change was I stopped putting things off.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Don’t be afraid to admit it if you’re struggling and need help.

I would not have gotten through any of the above without taking medication and seeing a psychologist .

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I must admit that I’m currently struggling again so I’m not sure how to answer the question.

I guess I can be scared and struggling yet still take action however small whereas before I avoided things.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Try to be kind to yourself the same way you would to a friend or family member in the same situation.

Remind yourself it’s not weakness to seek any help you may need including medication if appropriate.

Take things one day at a time and when you’re going through hell, just keep going.

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post. For example a website or help line.

The book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and the techniques used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy were helpful for me.

 

 

Thank you Ness, how pleased I am you have contributed to the series. And it is fitting that a fellow blogger’s story concluded not only Series 3 but Women of Courage Stories.

I so hope we can finally meet up in person too with cakies and coffee!!

Take care,

Denyse.

 

 

Social Media for Ness here:

Blog/Website

https://nessiville.blogspot.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Nessofnessville/

Instagram:

http://www.instagram.com/ness_nessville

 

Resources That May Help: 

These sites are Australian-based. 

https://www.panda.org.au/

https://www.sands.org.au/stillbirth-and-newborn-death

Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 – Crisis Support and Suicide …

Russ Harris: Acceptance Commitment Therapy Information is here. The Happiness Trap is also another resource from Russ.

Breast Cancer resources: from Veronica’s  Women of Courage post found here. 

Pink Hope – Know Your Risk, Change Your Future

http://pinkhope.org.au

Be Dense Aware (Did you know dense breast tissue can make diagnosis more challenging?)

https://www.bedenseaware.com/

iPrevent – Breast Cancer Prevention Through Risk Assessment

https://nbcf.org.au/19/prevention-through-precision-medicine/

Sydney Breast Cancer Foundation – The 3 Step Breast Check

https://www.sbcf.org.au/resources/

National Breast Cancer Foundation – Zero Deaths from Breast Cancer by 2030 campaign

https://nbcf.org.au/

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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View. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 118/2021.

View. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 118/2021.

This post will take a look at ‘view’ the word about seeing and perhaps a ‘point of view’. Using images and words I found of interest in my archives.

And with an update from me at the very end…about Self Care.

 

 

Bernard looking at the view: for whales! None sighted.

 

Papa & 3 Grandkids viewing the water…and seeing ‘little fishies” 2015.

 

This view, of my talented granddaughter who enjoys photography, as she checks an image via the viewfinder. Sydney 2014.

 

The view of me…last one in any kind of education role. Viewed at a TeachMeet in 2015 at the High School I attended 1962-1967. I spoke about my life in education.

 

A not-unfamilar view to regular readers…this is Soldiers Beach in late 2015 with my visiting granddaughters in view.

 

Sunny view of yachts in the background with us having a morning out with a view to greater connection amidst lots of change in 2014.

 

Is it even a session with lego unless you make a tower? Papa pleasing these 2 back in 2016. Great view!

 

Cheers Miss 2. My view of her in 2012. Out for morning tea.

 

Look at that view, as grandson takes photo with my camera. What I view too is protective arm of Miss 5 around her younger sister. 2016.

 

My view then…2015, remembering my view of room on right near. My home room in high school 1962! I got the tour before I gave my presentation.

 

I didn’t notice this view till I was finding photos. When Ms 2 stayed with us, she put her sandals next to Papa’s. 2016.

 

The place we moved to had a great view over the water. The house was too uncomfortable and expensive for us in 2015 so we moved on.

 

Teacher & Grandma Me loved this view. Miss 15 months trying out pencils. Go Miss E!

 

So long ago we did this none of remember accurately but we think about 20 years ago. The view from Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of Bridge Climb was amazing.

 

I have viewed this scene over and over and in real life many times. Back to Manly in 2013 for an early morning walk around the area with an interstate visitor.

 

This view, of the now-demolished Entertainment Centre in 2014, is of my eldest granddaughter in her solo role as part of the School Spectacular.

 

The view of the Hollywood sign in January 2006…so far away! Such a different view to what we expect as tourists.

 

My current view…and views of my life as I face turning 72 in 2 months.

These four images, all with ‘me’ inside are part of the story of what I have been, done and needed to be ready for over the past four and a half years since my head and neck cancer diagnosis in May 2017. Blog updates are here.

These times gave me many chances to display courage, admit overwhelm, be able to keep going and…as I often said “do the hard things.”

My blog, and social media have helped me greatly over this time to distract me and to provide comfort as well as to connect.

Now, as I face a YEAR ahead with no check ups for cancer, no plans for any other health issues to need my attention other than the usual checks with G.P. and dentist, I am feeling an air of relief and release.

So, this is how I am going to make some changes. Remembering self care and adapting to managing my life as I age. 

 

  • From next week, I will be blogging ONCE a week. On Mondays for Life This Week. I have posts planned ahead and this is a good thing for planner me!

 

  • I have decided to discontinue further blogging challenges for this year, which means that I have stopped Sunday Stills as of this past week. I have loved being part of the Sunday Stills community and thought I would see the year through, but no, I am making the choice to stop now and have written to Terri at Second Wind Leisure about this and appreciate the friendliness of her community.

 

  • I will also no longer linking up with Natalie for Weekend Coffee share by the time of the final Woman of Courage story and wish her all the best. It’s been a great community to meet and I have connected with Natalie too about this decision. Thank you Natalie.

 

 

  • I am discontinuing one of my instagram accounts.

 

  • I have had quite a lot of trouble with instagram since the end of 2019 where “they” won’t let me post from my phone nor recognise the @denysewhelan account unless it’s via @denysewhelan_blogs so, with the end of #ShareSeptember I will be deleting this account. I may be able to transfer some images over but I am not that concerned about it.

 

  • To be honest, Instagram was a favourite of mine until Facebook took over. Now, I will continue to post on @denysewhelan_blogs and do ask for a follow there if you don’t already follow me. I keep my account private because I was hacked in 2017.

 

  • I will keep that account because it is linked (so far no issues) to my blog and to my Denyse Whelan Blogs Facebook page.

 

 

@DenyseWhelan will be deleted at the end of September 2021 on Instagram.

 

This is the new avatar with the ‘old’ one for @denysewhelan_blogs. Do ask for a follow! Thank you

 

Thank you for you support as I make these changes.

I cannot truthfully write about self care unless practising it so this is my story.

How do you practise self care as you move forward in life?

Denyse.

Link Up #259.

Life This Week. Link Up #259.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: 40/51 Share Your Snaps.

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Click here to enter


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Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and I took the chance to show some Spring images.

In Australia Spring begins on 1 September…and we are well and truly noticing its arrival. Mostly via the garden but also the skies…and a great reminder of life begun one Spring a while back…and my gratitude to have a Spring  landmark in my head and neck cancer story! I hope whatever the season is where you are, it is good to you!

Spring is very changeable!

We have had almost heatwave conditions which changed to “winter is back”.

But the flowers never let me down.

Wherever I went..not far thanks to Covid…I saw beauty.

Then there is this from Spring:

Meeting our September born granddaughter, just minutes old….

 

My good news from Spring. No face to face head & neck cancer checks..but news is ALL good. Next check in ONE year.

 

This is the house we rent & my husband refreshed the garden in Autumn so it looks great in Spring.

These are Australian native flowers: Flannel Flowers. They are protected and must not be picked. What beauty they have and delicacy in their texture. Normally they are found in bushland and recently as I drove back along a road which bordered a national park, these were at the side of the road. Naturally I stopped…to take photos.

That’s my Spring News.

And for this year my last contribution in 2021 to the lovely friendly space called Sunday Stills.

I am taking time out for self-care….and blogging less.

My Monday Link Up #LifeThisWeek continues each week. You are more than welcome to link up a post, old or new, on or off prompt.

I love connecting via social media, and I sure will be there from time to time.

Thank you to Terri, and Marsha who hosted a while back and to Natalie.

My post, going out on Monday 27 September , shares more.

I hope wherever you are there is wellness and brightness around you…and follow this instruction as I will too:

Denyse.

 

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Women of Courage Series. #73. Gillian Coutts. 116/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #73. Gillian Coutts. 116/2021.

Two years ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will continue to be published each Thursday into September 2021 when it will conclude.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Introducing Gillian Coutts who told me she is ‘just 50’ so I am guessing she was born in that year which was one I know well, having become a first time Mum then too. It was recommended to me by fellow educator and Woman of Courage Tracey here that I ask Gillian to do this story for us. And here she is. Mind you, we had the odd messaging conversation before the story landed. Something very familiar to many of us. On-line learning and also working on-line. From home. I am very glad she did commit her story to email, and with her images, I know the story ahead will be of interest to many. Thank you Gillian.

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Until I was in my late 30s, I’d been relatively lucky in life.

I’d had an interesting corporate career, come from a great family, I’d married a good man and become an instant step mum.

I became a bio-mum when I was 38, and a year later was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lots of people at that time would have said I was courageous about the treatment and balancing work and family, but to me I was just doing what you had to do.

There was no other choice.

But what I did next was – in hindsight – more courageous.

There’s something about those experiences that helps you see life is short, and there’s not much point in living the life others expect you to, but rather, taking the path that you want to.

This for me was about finding an alternative career.

I’d been a typical corporate ladder climber, and while I’d started out with a big heart for people and social justice, I’d ended up managing divisions of consumer goods companies which seemed to be more about making profit from people buying things that they didn’t really need.

My heart was definitely not in that.

So when my role was made redundant a few years later, I decided not to take another “job” for two years.

It was risky as I’m the primary bread winner for our family, but I knew there had to be another way.

So I stitched together a “portfolio” of things – consulting, becoming a partner in Potential Project here in Australia, board roles.

The only criteria was that I had to work with people I loved doing things I enjoyed.

I also had to say yes to opportunities if I felt scared (but not if I didn’t want to do them).  So that took courage.

The thing that really took courage though was when my friend and I started to join a folk rock band.  That was really pushing the boat out there!

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

Joining the band is a great example of the challenges I felt all the way through the last ten years, in all the things I’ve tried.

It takes courage to dream of doing something that you’re not good at… yet.

It takes more courage to book the venue, show up and play when you know you’re still not that good… yet.

The funny thing was that when I joined the band, I thought maybe I could be one of the lead singers.

It turns out that my voice wasn’t that good.  I was relegated to be one of the back-up singers and played the keyboard, while two great young singers took the lead.

Then I wasn’t that great at the piano, and the bass player decided he’d be better at keys, so I learnt to play the bass too.

Then the lead singers left, and my friend and I looked at each other and decided we had to go for it.

So we got some singing lessons and have slowly worked our way to the front.  We all take it turns to lead now, and have great harmonies too.

It’s been a lesson for me in continuing to turn up, even if you’re not perfect.

It’s taught me an enormous amount about performing in all aspects of life.

If you are content in yourself, and not too precious about how others see you, you can help other people have a really great time.

Even if you’re not the next person likely to win Australia’s Got Talent!

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Letting go of the need to be perfect is so liberating!

It is also infectious.

People have loved coming to see us perform because they can feel free to sing along and just have a good time.

Many have come to tell us that they’ve also been inspired to pursue their own “not yet perfect…” kind of project and share their pride with us.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I think I’ve realised that what is most entertaining and engaging is when you as a performer are engaged, present and having fun yourself.

Sure, you need a base level of talent to not completely embarrass yourself, but fully committing to the present moment is a joyful feat in itself.

It’s rare and people appreciate it.

I’ve had to give a lot of talks and run programs for leaders all over the world now where I would have previously (and still sometimes do) have a massive imposter syndrome moment.

And then I remember that’s human, I know my stuff well enough and just commit to the moment.  And 99% of the time that’s more than enough.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

When it comes to pursuing your dreams, think less about how others will see you, and more about what you want to do for others.

Compassion is an amazing catalyst for courage.

 

Thank you so much. Living life to the fullest with all its ups and downs yet finding a balance between work and family AND being yourself.

Denyse.

Social Media Connections for Gillian.

Blog/Website: www.potentialproject.com/Australia, www.vegasnerve.com.au

 Twitter: @GillianTPP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gillian.coutts.7

LInkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gilliancoutts/

 

Book: One Second Ahead – Enhance your performance at work with mindfulness

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

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Unusual*. Here’s Time Part 2* Instead. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek. 115/2021.

Unusual*. Here’s Time Part 2* Instead. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek. 115/2021.

Rather than go with the word ‘unusual’ for the optional prompt, it’s Part Two: Time…and this is a post from my husband Bernard who recently wrote ‘on prompt’ Time here. 

For those who may need a refresher about Bernard, his first post for the blog is found here. 

Thank you Bernard for offering more of your thoughts, experiences and wisdom.

Can you believe how much TIME had passed since we did this trip back to Tamworth? No, me neither. Enough chit-chat.

Bit early…Celebrating 50 years since we met: October 2020.

 

Part 2: The Time Is NOW

 Thanks for re-joining me in this moment of time.

Time has many metaphors. Lydia talked about the very interesting wheel of time. I like the metaphor that sees time as a never-ending and continual flow of water such as the surf. At any point, by dipping your hand in the water, you experience the drops of water at that time. Those drops represent the moments that you have available to you at that time; the only moments. You notice that they can be very difficult to hold onto and how quickly the water flows on never to be experienced again. They symbolise the ‘ah-hah’ moments in our lives.

 

This experience sets of a “ah-hah’ moment as you realise just how precious and limited your time is.

This really impresses you. It is a lightning strike moment. It is the NOW effect (Goldstein)!

 

Well-known holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Dr Victor Frankl  talked of the space that exists between stimulus and response.

In that space you have the power to choose your response. This enables our personal growth and freedom.

Elisha Goldstein, PhD., talks of this as our NOW time, sometimes described as ‘ah-hah’ moments that can change our lives.

For example, you may hear of a friend’s death.

At this time you are reminded of the love you feel for family.

Or hear that your part of the world is to be shut down because of nasty viral pandemic.

Whatever the stimulus, the NOW space turns our minds and hearts to what we really value in life.

There’s the argument that, in the fullness of time, we will come to realise how it has had the Now Effect of re-focussing us on what we really value.

 

So, what are the possible outcomes of this ‘ah-hah’ moment. Hopefully that:

 

  • You understand your life is a constant stream of stimuli and responses.
  • You realise that, by attending to the present you can take full advantage of the space to change what is not currently working for you in your life.
  • You understand that the significance of your life is not tied to the acquisition of material things and social status. That it is totally about the quality of the relationships you have with other human beings, especially those closest to you.
  • You realise that attending too much to past events is detracting from the present with the added deficit of possibly sending you down those old rabbit holes and causing distress.
  • You realise that, what is now history, is NOW, no longer within your control.
  • You are aware that worrying about what’s going to happen in the future sucks as you cannot control it either.
  • You understand the only moments you can control, albeit, with varying degrees of difficulty, are those that you are living in right NOW.

 

Views on time.

William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) believed that “ time was what we most want and yet, use worst”.

While I tend to agree, I also believe that it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, it’s fair to say that there are many people who would feel a little offended by the statement.

People, such as those who have taken the conscious decision to organise their present moments with a view to living their lives most efficiently and effectively. In so doing, they maximise their feeling of contentment.

 

In all likelihood, these people will tick most of the following boxes:

 

  • They understand and welcome full ownership of their allocation of time.
  • They accept that those moments will contain ups and downs but are happy to take what’s on offer.
  • They also understand that that time is THEIRS to control as they see fit.
  • They look forward to the opportunity to spend more time in the NOW space.
  • When triggers occur they take advantage of that space to respond thoughtfully with generosity of spirit and kindness of heart, rather that react with negative emotion.
  • They understand that the pressure time can create is minimised commensurately by their level of efficiency in the use of their time.
  • They understand the need to take time away from their ‘doing selves’ to just ‘be’. After all, we are, first and foremost, human beings!
  • They understand that their quality of life is enhanced by paying attention to every moment with curiosity, openness and flexibility.
  • They understand that living mindfully in the present is key to enhancing quality of life.

These realisations – ‘ah-hah’ moments – emanate from being present and engaged. They come from seeing ‘doing’ and ‘being’ as mutually important in their lives. Living mindfully in the present is not difficult. However, like learning to play a musical instrument, it requires practice!  Try the exercises below. They just may help.

Being present and engaged exercise …

 

  1. Take thirty seconds to sit back, relax and simply notice all that you can hear. Firstly, focus on your own breathing and any of your movements. Then, expand your awareness to sounds around you appreciating them as a musician appreciates music noticing differences in volume, pitch, rhythms, harmonies, diminuendos and crescendos.

 

  1. Now, take thirty seconds to look around and notice five things that you can see. Notice each image’s shape, colour, texture, shading, shadows, reflections and highlights. Look at each with the curiosity of never having seen it before.

 

  1. Now, sit up straight and notice the position of your body. Push down firmly on the floor, straighten your spine and relax your shoulders. Take thirty seconds to scan your body from head to toe noticing the feeling in each part. Do this with curiosity of a radiologist looking at an x-ray.

 

  1. Finally, take another thirty seconds to flexibly focus your attention, moving from your body to what you can see and then to what you can hear.

 

 Reflect: What did you notice happen? Did you become more present; more aware of your body and surroundings?

 

Some Simple Ways to Be Present

Strategies to practise daily that centre you and connect you with the world around you; especially when you find yourself hooked by thoughts and feelings.

  1. Take Ten Breaths
  • Take ten slow, deep breaths. Focus on completely emptying your lungs as slowly as possible. The, allow them to refill by themselves.
  • Notice the emptying and refilling sensations of your lungs. Notice what happens with your rib cage and shoulders.
  • Try to allow any thoughts to float down the stream or come and go as passing cars.
  • Expand your awareness to simultaneously noticing your breathing and body movements. The, observe all that you can hear, see, smell, touch and feel.
  1. Dropping Anchor
  • Plant your feet into the floor.
  • Push them down noticing the feel of the supportive floor beneath you.
  • Notice the muscle tension in your legs as you push down.
  • Notice what is happening in your whole body.
  • Look around and take in what you can see, hear, where you are and what you’re doing.
  1. Notice Five Things
  • Pause for a moment
  • Look around and note five things you can see.
  • Listen carefully to hear five
  • Note five things that you can feel in contact with your body, e.g. watch against your wrist, trousers against your legs, air touching your face, back against the chair, feet on the floor, etc.
  • Now, do all the above simultaneously.

 

A final offering from one of the very wise Buddhas.

‘Do not dwell in the past, nor to dream of the future but, to concentrate the mind on the present moment’.

What better way to illustrate this than an image from Bernard’s daily practice of adding to a challenging jigsaw puzzle.

Thank you once again for a post which is of great interest to us all. I know I needed that refresher and I promise fewer questions and sharing from my social media while you are mindfully engaged in your jigsaw.

Denyse.

Link Up #258.

Life This Week. Link Up #258.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, or multiple posts. Thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

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Going For (Harvest) Gold…Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 114/2021.

Going For (Harvest) Gold…Colour Challenge. #SundayStills. 114/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and this one was for me a challenge in itself but I went for GOLD….(Harvest Gold) as our Australian sporting commentators would say about Olympic Competitors….and trawled through my images.

I find colour and its detection can be a personal thing and often a subtle one.

For example purple has different hues that can be red based and blue based.

So, I have selected  images from nature and my art and that’s how I’ve “gone for (harvest) gold”

 

 

My drawn and coloured collage. I see lots of ‘gold’ shades here.

 

In the local bush area near our house, as the more brightly coloured wattle begins to fade it darkens and I can see a more gold-tinge.

 

 

The  shades of gold are more apparent in the deepest part of the daisy. I think it’s a daisy. I just know I love these for their mandala shapes!

 

 

And mentioning mandalas , this one I drew and coloured  has some different shades of yellow into gold which could match the criteria for harvest gold.

 

Beauty in this plant, with tightly curled petals and some withering capture the more faded gold effect I see.

 

One of my art designs where I can see a semblance of the harvest gold could be in the blending of some of these…imagination required.

 

A large free flowing floral design over a background of gentle yellow with some added more orange/gold highlights might squeeze into the category too.

 

I look forward to reading others’ interpretation of this colour challenge prompt.

 

Denyse.

 

 

 

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