December Diary: 2021 Day Twelve – A City Apartment

I can hear music filtering through the wet traffic,
and, smell something cooking from the restaurant across the road. 
The sky is silver-bright. 
A couple walk past, laughing, sharing something between them. The city is vibrant, full, exploding, imploding. 

A bus pushes past with breaks that squeak. 

The air is muggy, the breeze pushes past my legs as I sit here writing on the laptop beside the french doors ajar to the noise, to the city, to the rain, to the exploding and imploding.
I think the music is a Christmas tune, I can't quite make it out but familiarity sits behind it. I close my eyes for a moment, sinking into the chair, sinking into the city vibe, allowing the exploding, imploding to wash over me. Swirl around. I abandon myself to it all - its abundance. 

A car alarm sounds, it is on another street so there is a softness to its rhythm. A city apartment. Above a street where I feel full, alive, clear to what it next.

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day Eleven – The Visitor

It’s been an interesting day – a Saturday. We headed out early to our favourite beach in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, I’ve blogged about this beach so many times, and I never get tired of it. But this time we came from across the city as we have moved away from the area.

If you haven’t been reading, we moved last Saturday – it’s been a week, so it was different re-visiting a place, this beach, that use to be a 5 min drive down the road. It’s not like we will be strangers to this beach, we will visit a lot, but as visitors and not as locals.

I wonder where the boundary between being a local and a visitor change? I live in the same city, but if there was traffic, my ‘visit’, the round trip, could take over 3 hours, possibly 4.

My new ‘locals’ are all new, the ‘local’ food market, the ‘local’ chemist, the ‘local’ book shop, they all need to be visited for the first time, and then a relationship with myself and these new spaces need to be formed.

A Beautiful Saturday Morning

As I walked along Cornwallis beach, it felt different. It also felt the same, maybe I was different, I had already left, my attunement for ‘local’ was somewhere else.

During the last week in our new neighbourhood I have been on many walks. Trying to familiarise myself with the ins and outs, the street corners, the curiosities or this new ‘local’ environment. So coming back to Cornwallis was like a breath in of the familiar, I didn’t need to look around, or try to decipher new information, I relaxed in having been there many times before, there was something inherently peaceful about ‘sameness’. But I also felt that my relationship with the place was changed. I will now always be a visitor.

But a happy visitor – so that is something.

Let me know in the comments below your experience of shifting or travel, I find thinking about spaces/places a very interesting topic.

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day 10. Who would I be?

Who would I be if I didn’t give a f*ck!?

I was just listening to a podcast about this, about not being afraid to be ourselves: linked here. About making choices for us rather than what we think others expect of us, or what we are taught that society expects from us – especially as a woman. Or, maybe we make choices because we believe only certain things are possible for our lives. I guess the process for what we believe as possible is not one decision, but a mash-up of decisions and beliefs. It’s complex.

What would we choose, what decisions would we make if we truely, as in REALLY, followed our inner most dreams. If we believed anything was possible.

Who would I be if I didn’t give a f*ck!?

Usually my decisions are framed around money, known abilities and expectations… I don’t make honest decisions I make filtered decisions. And I bet, 100% I’m not alone.

But, how do I step out of these filters, how do I take the big leap? I don’t have the answers, I just have questions. And the more I think about this the more questions I have.

mm things that make me go mmm.

Wow. Heavy thoughts for a Friday. But such is life. I accept today, my thoughts, frustrations, joyous moments, everything.

Also I got a new sweet ink today:

Ink by: Auckland tattoo Studio

This ink has a very special meaning to it – but I won’t tell that story here. However, it is good to do things for ourselves that have huge meaning – and don’t really mean anything else to anyone else. For us alone.

Lots of thoughts and reflections floating around today. Hope you are all well.

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day 8 & 9 (zoom survival)

Yep yesterday’s diary entree did not happen. But that is life, and on we go.

I’m writing this in the middle of the day, between zoom calls and work stuff. I need to get my head out of work for 30mins. I have just spent 3.5 hours on zoom and I’m completely knackered. It is a very draining mode of experiencing life.

I have a work routine, where I put my phone alarm on every 20mins, it reminds me to breathe, get up, swing or shake my arms around, audibly sigh, drink some water and start again. But during a zoom call it is more difficult to do this, occasionally I turn my screen off and just spend 2 mins going through some somatic practices – a series of movements that bring me back into the present. I have found this most useful over lockdown.

Pic of the day: something pretty to look at…

Before lockdown I use to put my alarm on for 45 mins as I found this was very productive. It allowed me to focus on one task at a time, as I can easily fall into the trap of trying to be everywhere at once and get nothing done, or at least nothing done to a good standard. But putting my alarm on somehow allows me to turn off the mental chatter and just focus. However, lockdown has made my attention span, or concentration ability less able – as in I can’t seem to focus as long. But 20mins does it. And in between those 20 minutes the somatic practices only take 2 – 5mins and then I’m away again, back to the task, or onto another task depending on my day, or on my ability to concentrate.

I would highly recommend looking at somatic practices – here is a link that maybe helpful.

But Zoom calls – much more difficult especially if they are long, and you are expected to have your screen ‘on’. I would suggest that at least every 30 mins or 1 hour you take a 5 min break. If you are leading a zoom call make this part of zoom protocol. I have been to 3 hour sessions where breaks have not been part of the agenda and I think this is crazy. We wouldn’t expect this is the real world so why on zoom?

But the best thing is to find what works for you when working online or from home – or even at the office. Have little routines that keep you sane, that keep you present and mostly so at least you get some enjoyment from your day. You can use all sorts of things from candles or air spray for aromatherapy moments, paper and pens to take notes on for haptivity/touch and connectedness, water and fresh fruit or vegetables for snacks or lunch to keep your body in tune, sitting outside or even better going for walks. Do what you have to do to get by, to bring little moments of presence into the day.

That’s my advice and I know you all probably have a lot you could share with me – so please do so in the comments.

Catch you tomorrow.

December Diary: 2021 Day Seven

It’s been a difficult day. It’s been difficult to focus, to keep going, to stay in the present.

I started my day with Yoga and creative practice, but then it just slipped into stress, worry and negative thoughts. I don’t know why, it just happened. And, sometimes that is life’s experience. I mean it’s not meant to be happy all the time. We have to have the ups with the downs. That’s life.

I did manage to create another hand-made stitched journal. This one is a little more refined than yesterday’s attempt and I think I will gift it to someone for Christmas. I want to add some decorative bits and pieces, so I will share that when it is finished. But other than that, is was a very unproductive day.

To be fair I have been unwell, so it’s not that I was just doing nothing, I actually took the day off work to try and recover from an infection. But I find it difficult to ‘do’ not much, even when I am unwell.

However, we did go for an evening walk, the sea breeze was wonderful – just what I needed to blow away my over-thinking.

Pic of the day: Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Harbour

Gratitude

I’m so grateful for the breeze. It seems like a silly thing to say, but the breeze today was everything.

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day Six

Hi, I hope you are well.

After work I decided to sew a book. I know, a bit random but I wanted to do something creative that wasn’t painting or drawing or filming or writing…. hahaha

Sewing a book together seemed like something I could do. First I rounded up all sorts of paper and folded 2 signatures of 6 A2 folded over, which gives me 24 pages for each signature. I then made 3 simple stitches. Once that was done I created a cover and sewed the 2 signatures in. I’ve never done this before, I simply made it up as I went along – but it has worked out well so far.

Just to finish off the sewing, I tapped down parts where I put the stitches through to strengthen the binding. Once that was all done, I went about adding paper to some of the pages – glueing in these, just where I thought it needed it.

Pic of the day: Journal so far, will take a final one tomorrow

I still want to do some decorating on the front cover, and put pockets into the back cover, but I need to let the whole journal dry. So, I’ll finish it off after work tomorrow. I’m also thinking of making a second one for a Christmas present. It will be nice to give someone a handmade gift.

Gratitude

I’m grateful for creativity. It was a very difficult day at work, but knowing that I had time to do some creating after work made everything OK.

That’s it for today –

Will write again tomorrow. Catch you then xx

December Diary: 2021 Day Five

Well we have arrived. We are now in the new apartment. Shifted.

And, the unpacking begins.

It’s an interesting task to unpack, find new places for old items. I have this horrible habit of saying to myself, “I’ll stick this here for now…” and in my mind I’m thinking “one day I will find a better place for it”. But will that day happen? Or will that item be always in a new location that doesn’t quite suit?

As I have said in previous diary entrees we have down-sized, and we did get rid of a lot of stuff – but “oh my word”, I still have so much. Maybe I need a second round. It is surprising how much stuff I don’t need. This time I have given away a lot of items I use to feel sentimentally about – but it just does not serve to keep them – so I have said goodbye.

Change is exciting, it’s also daunting but I think in the end it keeps us resilient. We need to keep changing, adapting and allow ourselves to face new obstacles. Part of moving into this apartment is to face new challenges and ask of myself to: ‘begin again’.

Pic of the day: I saw this in a cafe today and had to share.

Gratitude

I am grateful for good coffee. Sounds superficial, but today it was awesome!

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day Four

I am an artist. I am creative. Isn’t that good to say, out loud. Just say it.

Even if you don’t think that about yourself. Say it anyway. Out loud! “I am an artist.” Because we are all artists. We might not be painters or illustrators or potters but we are artful, we all create. And so we should celebrate.

Pic of the day: This is a book title by Bob and Roberta Smith

Being artful, means you ‘think’ creatively, you let yourself explore, be curious, be playful with ideas.

If you, for some reason, have become stuck in routine or are feeling melancholy or perhaps things feel overwhelming this is where being artful can spark a fresh angle on life. It can be a simple as getting out of bed on the other side, taking a different route to work or having lunch in the park instead of the office.

Being artful suggests play. And play opens our mind to seeing the world a-new. Just try it.

I believe that we experience life the way we view it. Meaning if we view life as meaningless, or negatively we will experience life in that way. However, if we see life playfully, if life is a curious and full of possibilities then we will experience life more positively. I suffer from depression and I know what it means to think about life negativity but one of my greatest assets is the ability to play.

Playfulness could be difficult if you are not use to it. I would start with identifying something in your life that you feel is negative or not how you would like it to be and imagine it differently. Start small. Maybe your cubicle at work is depressing you. How could you transform it. Think of what a cubicle would look like from the keyboards perspective, think of a cubicle floating in space, think of a hit song titled “The Magic Cubicle”. Sound weird? Good. Think about it differently, have fun in your mind. Now think about how you can make it a beautiful space to work in.

There is no end to play, no one can take your imagination away. It’s all yours.

Just following on from yesterday. It is our shift day, and as I write this the movers are here with our carefully packed boxes. I’m sitting in the car keeping out of their way. Our possessions at the moment are in a truck. It’s a very odd feeling and I will be glad when the boxes are loaded into the new place.

Grateful

I am grateful we have been able to afford movers this time. Shifting house is super stressful and having people to assist is such a blessing. I am very fortunate.

Hope you are all well.

Catch you tomorrow xx and remember to PLAY

December Diary: 2021 Day Three

It is the last night in our house before the shifters arrive tomorrow. It’s been pretty hectic getting packed up and ready to move while being in ‘lock-down’ and working pretty much full-time. But such is life, can’t complain. Actually I’m extremely grateful.

Tomorrow brings a new chapter.

A fresh start. Change. Movement.

As I said in the last couple of posts, the apartment is smaller than our current situation and it has been the best time to get rid of unwanted, unused, stuff and think about what new items we will bring into our lives. I think we will be much more intentional this time around.

I have two more weeks of work, and then I’m off for a month to enjoy the holidays with family and a much needed rest. I truely believe this year has been my hardest. So much has happened, and I’m not even talking about the pandemic. During my time off I want to reflect on my YouTube channel. Re-think how I am putting myself out there.

As an audience member of YouTube, I know what I enjoy and why it brings value to my experience of engaging with online content, but it is very difficult to create it. Ha ha – but I love doing it, so keep on keeping on.

Pic of the Day: Early morning walk at Cornwallis Beach this morning.

Gratitude

I’m thankful for the sunshine today. It popped in and out of the clouds all day and seemed to be there when I needed it most. I find that sunshine is so critical to my mental health.

Hope you are all well.

Catch you tomorrow xx

December Diary: 2021 Day Two

I always feel as if December has extraordinary energy. A little too heightened at times, but full of possibilities. I don’t know if it is because it’s the last month of the year or because of holidays, or something else. In the southern hemisphere it is the first month of summer, so maybe it is the fresh heat, the summer wind – I’m not sure, maybe it is a mixture of all these things. But I do recognise the energy and I thrive in it.

I feel like a cat caught in a ray of sun, soaking it all up, unable to move away. I love December. Today was a particularly good day. We finally picked up our keys to the new apartment. New to us – it is actually a bit of a do-up. But a new exciting adventure. Once we picked up the keys we went and spent some time in the apartment. It was our first time there without the realestate agent. Isn’t it odd that the most expensive thing you purchase in life (if you are fortunate enough) is something you hardly get to see. Anyway, we hung out, opened the windows and doors, listened to the sounds and tried to imagine all our furniture fitting in and making a home.

Photo of the day: Keys to our apartment

Shifting is hard to do, not just physically, but emotionally, and mentally. I love change, I want it and need it, but at the same time I resist, the ‘same’ seems safe. So, today I’ve been a bit up and down, one minute I’m excited looking forward to all the ‘new’ and the next moment I’m feeling nervous and wondering if we have done the right thing. But that is life I guess. That is change.

Gratitude

Today I’m grateful that our cat ‘kitty’ can go to a cattery for a few days while we shift. Although I miss her, I know she will hate all the boxing, and shifting that is going to happen. I’m also grateful for that summer wind, I was talking about before, it brings with it a fresh cool touch and a feeling that anything is possible.

Chat tomorrow xx