Lessons in moving outside your comfort zone and finding magic



IMG_2326
The landscape is vast and gently undulating, rugged red rocks dotted with lime green spinifex that looks soft, though in reality is spiky, unpleasant to brush past or worse still, to fall on. As is the experience of an intrepid mountain biker, whose journey on two wheels began in the Karratha hills. Hills that appear out of nowhere from the expanse of flat land surrounding them.

The Karratha hills are mostly short sharp hills when climbing them on a mountain bike. There is one epic hill and this is a story about ‘that’ hill.

The alarm woke her from sleep on a mild winter morning, interrupting her dream of competing in a mountain bike race where things weren’t going well. She turned the alarm off and quickly realised where she was and what day it was. The thought of returning to sleep suddenly seemed like a great idea. It was hill climbing day. ‘That’ hill, 7 repeats, with no rest in between. She lay her head back down on the soft pillow and closed her eyes, fighting the desire to drift back to sleep. Thoughts passed through her mind.

‘Get some more sleep, you need it’

‘You can do the climbs after work, when you’ve had more sleep and feel more rested’

‘You could just go for a ride and not do ‘that’ hill’

‘Get up and don’t ride,  finish your ‘to do’ list’

‘Don’t ride today , it will hurt. Rest. Sleep.’

A voice stronger than anything else speaks loudly within, ‘It’ll hurt, but it won’t kill you’.

Motivated by these words, overriding all the other mental chatter, her legs move slowly until her feet connect with the floor. She sits upright her shoulders hunched. Yawning and rubbing her eyes, she stands and walks slowly to the door. Thoughts sweep through her mind as she makes herself a cup of green tea and in go slow mode, dressed in her cycling clothes she walks gingerly outside. The cool air is welcoming in what is often a hostile climate, with hot weather night and day for eight months of the year. She is aware of the ‘go slow’ mode she is in but is finding it hard to get excited about what lies ahead.

Eventually, her helmet in place, dressed in riding shorts, cycling jersey and arm warmers she mounts the bike and pedals towards the hills with trepidation. Within five minutes, she is on the dirt trails, still contemplating turning around and going home.

IMG_1072

With the two wheels of her bike well connected with the dirt, a broad smile spread across her face and her pace quickens. This is her happy place, surrounded by nature. The moon high in the sky and the sun getting ready to rise for another day.

The shaley rock, so thick in sections it makes it difficult to pedal, crunches under her robust tyres. Thick rubber tyres, needed to survive the sharp, unforgiving rocks that make up most of the trails she rides. She realises that the sooner she gets to ‘that’ hill, the sooner the torture will be over as she quickens her cadence.

A pair of  kangaroos appear graciously above the spinifex , silhouetted against the horizon. As she rides towards them, they bound away rapidly. Wishing she was a kangaroo, appearing effortless in motion, she finds herself smiling and keeps on pedalling. As she nears her destination she begins to visualise the climbs. One after the other, until she reaches seven. The view from the top, obstacles along the way, the recovery on the downs, conquering the mental negativity trying to convince her to stop.

A climb up ‘that’ hill takes, four to six minutes on a mountain bike, without stopping. It’s difficult not to stop, mentally and physically. Recent heavy rains, unusual in winter, have eroded the track making the ride challenging as it traverses to its peak. Rocky outcrops need to be navigated and in the steepest sections, keeping both wheels connected with the dirt takes effort.

She reaches the base of the hill, breathes in deeply and begins the first incline. The mental chatter is relentless already.

‘What’s the point?’

‘Why are you doing this?’

‘One climb will do’

‘You are crazy’

‘I think I’ll give this up, it hurts too much and is way too much effort’.

Meanwhile the voice of determination and persistence pipes in.

‘You’re doing so well, just getting here is a bonus’

‘Just focus on getting to the next rock, then choose something else ten metres ahead and get to that’

‘Keep. On. Pedalling’.

Navigating the rutted dirt, shaley rock whilst negating the mental chatter takes her gets closer to the peak. Having climbed ‘that’ hill almost 200 times she knows it well, yet it never seems to get easier. She has just learnt to navigate better and is braver at facing her fears.

CH false flat

There’s a false flat that give some respite before the last pitch to the top. Her breath is laboured when she reaches it, just another short climb to go. She rolls down the short descent, embracing the very last section of the climb. A large smile spreads across her face, for both her achievement and the majestic view.

The sun peers over the horizon welcoming the morning on a stunning winter day in North Western Australia. The sunrise is spectacular and from the hilltop the view is expansive, taking in the vast ocean and vast rolling plains. She glances at it all briefly before turning and beginning the decent after the first climb. Meandering down slowly as she recovers from the effort going up, she begins to mentally prepare for the next climb.

Reaching the bottom within a few minutes, she begins again.

By the fifth climb she is trying to find a way out, a reason to go home and avoid any more pain. Somehow, she finds the energy and the brain power to continue, knowing the feeling of accomplishment once the task is completed.

For each negative thought she works hard to find a positive.

‘This is crazy’ becomes ‘you’ve got this’

‘It’s time to go home’ to ‘You’re half way there’

‘There is no way I’m doing this again’  ‘Yes you can’

Somehow, with a remarkable level of grit and determination, she keeps the wheels turning. One pedal stroke after another and repeat climbs of ‘that’ hill are conquered for another day.

The feeling of exhilaration as she makes the final descent down the winding, eroded trail to the base of College Hill is enough to convince her that this won’t be the last time.

It hurts, but it doesn’t kill you.

CH lush

The correlation between hill climbing on a mountain bike and surviving and thriving in life is intriguing. Repetition is the key to success. Not often is it done right the very first time. The more you attempt the same thing the more efficient you become at navigating the hurdles along the way.

Finding the right line will get you to the top the most efficient way but to find the right line you will take the inefficient way more than once. You may try the right line but get taken off course, by an incorrect judgment that finds you holding on and using all the energy you have to get back on track.

Life is a rollercoaster ride, the descents can be fast and fun but there’s many bumps along the way.

The effort it takes to navigate the bumps make the journey more exciting. This doesn’t seem so at the time but it’s always worth it in hindsight.

Comparison to others is wasted energy. It’s possible to reach the top without taking the same route as everyone else.

Doing it your way is the key to success in all aspects of life and doing what you once thought was impossible is possible.

Facing fear is doable. It might not be easy but it can be done. The harder we make it in our minds, the harder it will be. What you will find on the other side of fear is magical. Give it a try.

Join Amanda for a Mountain Biking/Hiking Weekend on the 4-6 November 2016 for a ladies weekend in Karratha staying at The Ranges, right on the doorstep of the Karratha hills. 

IMG_2322

 

Reasons to choose yogaglo.com for online access to yoga and meditation wherever you may be

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 8.44.27 pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 6.43.38 pm

Want to start a yoga practice in the comfort of your own home, where you can choose your teacher and how much time you have for a class? Want easy to access guided meditation, whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to meditate?

Yogaglo.com is an online resource that is more than just yoga and meditation.

Your investment in yogaglo.com is under $20US a month. This gives you access to hundreds of classes, over 30 teachers, more than 7 yoga styles and a multitude of levels to choose from.You filter as much as you like. Your level, how long you want your class to be, what style you want, your favourite teacher, pick a body part, select a focus and even choose if you want music or no music.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.17.25 pm

 

Let’s explore yogaglo.com visually and highlight the features you’ll find when you subscribe.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 8.37.58 pm

Choose your class level from 5 options. Want to see where yoga can take you? Check out what they get up to in a level 3 class.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 5.07.41 pm

 

This is the best bit. In a hurry or got heaps of time on your hands, there’s a class for you. Choose between 5 and 120 minutes.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.31.06 pm

 

New to yoga, explore 7 different styles. You can go ‘Beyond the Mat’ and listen to a lecture on a myriad of different topics. You can solely do guided meditation.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.32.25 pm

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 5.46.45 pm

 

Find your favourite teacher. We all have favourites that we resonate with. Your favourite may not be your friends favourite. That doesn’t matter when you are customising a class just for you.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.33.04 pm

 

Got a body part that needs attention. There’s a class for that. Shoulders need attention? You’re in luck. 32 body parts to get working on.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.35.45 pm

Now to choose your focus. Evening, breath, energy or beginner? 35 different areas to focus on. No boredom or repetition here. Unless you want repetition.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 6.05.05 pm

 

Your classes are recorded and you can go back to your favourites over and over. If you so please.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 3.31.05 pm

 

Just want to meditate? There are hundreds of guided meditations to choose from and my main reason for subscribing to yogaglo.com.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.41.07 pm

 

Yogaglo.com even records your efforts for you. You can look back over a week, month or year to see what you got up to.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 6.21.33 pm

 

Subscribing to yogaglo.com has many benefits. It changed my life in such a positive way. Meditations for grief helped me immensely after losing 2 people closest to my heart in less than a year.

Living in a remote community means that access to real, live classes are hit and miss and very transient. Find someone you like and they move on.

The downside is that a hone practice requires motivation, more so than attending a class. Choosing a regular time for your practice and scheduling it is much more likely to make it happen. Stick at it consistently and the benefits will be worth all the effort.

 

I’m a big fan of yogaglo.com. You can make  it work for you too. It could be life-changing, like it has for me.

What online sources do you use for yoga and/or meditation? What benefits has this given you emotionally and/or physically?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How NOT to feel guilty about putting yourself first

fisherman

Feeling guilty about putting your needs above others is a really common problem. And not just for women. Some people are fabulous at putting themselves first. Lots and lots of people, are not!

No guilt is necessary. I’m giving you permission to move your way up the ladder and prioritise you. The more you do, the more you’ll have to give.

When you prioritise others over your own needs your energy gets depleted. This doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years before one day you wake up and notice that there’s nothing left to give. Let’s not allow it to get to that.

Self-care is not selfish, it’s imperative.

Generations in western culture have taught us that putting ourselves first is selfish. That we must look after others and put their needs first because that’s just what you do. That’s how I was raised. I have learnt over time, that putting yourself first does not turn you into a selfish person.

Let me tell you my Mum’s story and see if you can relate. My Mum always, always, always did things for others and put her needs way down the priority list. Mum worked part-time as a remedial teacher, giving everything to her students and their parents. On top of that, Mum worked as a volunteer and this took up most of her spare time. Mum raised 3 daughters and had 5 grandaughters before she literally, dropped dead one day. Mum had a stroke at home at 69 and did not survive.

Since that day, I’ve reflected on Mum’s life and my own. I was going down exactly the same path. Volunteering for umpteen things (because no-one else would), working as an entrepreneur and raising 2 daughters. After years of life coaching and counselling, it still hadn’t sunk in. My business coach had to be blatant about how I was spending my time and suggest it couldn’t go on without fallout of some kind.

‘You are not God, you cannot create time’ my business coach said.

I had no time to work on my businesses, let alone myself because I was filling it with things that put my own needs way down the heir-achy. Committees, board chairman, volunteer coach, school council. If I didn’t do it, who would? And if I said no I felt guilty!

Learning from experience I know how important it is to nourish YOU. You are the only one responsible for how you spend your time.

Change doesn’t happen overnight so you need to be patient. You will be rewarded.

I took a year off all voluntary activities. It didn’t mean forever. Well that’s what my coach insisted, in order to convince me. And I am so thankful he did. It made me reassess what was working and what wasn’t. What I enjoyed doing and what I didn’t. What drained my energy and what gave me energy.

Have a think about what you are doing that you don’t really enjoy but feel like you ‘should’? There will always be things we ‘have’ to do, but if we have a choice we must choose for our wellbeing. Not for someone else’s agenda.

What’s really imperative is leaving time to schedule in time for the ‘urgent, not important’ stuff. And time for ‘being’ not ‘doing’.

Making time for having FUN every day is highly recommended.

An interesting exercise to get a real idea of how much time is available in your week, is to draft a calendar of what fills your time, including sleep. This is a great way to realise that your expectations may be too high. I recommend doing this for your real week and then for your ideal week and see what they look like, side by side.

Use Google calendar and highlight different departments of your life with different colours.

If paper is your thing, get some colour happening. I love paper but have found having an online calendar really effective and always on hand. It’s less labour intensive too.

The ‘how you fill your time exercise’ is really practical for lot’s of reasons. It helps with saying no without guilt, when you realise how precious your time is. For some reason our brain is really good at telling us we can do it all. We can, but the price is high and the long-term health implications are massive.

Putting yourself first is not selfish. It really is self-care.

Self-care is the best way to reduce stress in your life. Look after you and you will be a hundred times more able to give to others. It starts with saying no. Saying no to the stuff you really don’t want to do, but that voice in your head tells you that you ‘should’.

Saying no helps other people grow.

Instead of thinking, I can’t let that person down by saying no, turn your thinking around. Say no and see what happens. It takes practice and I recommend baby steps, but I promise you that the world will keep spinning.

A friend suggested that men don’t have a problem saying no without feeling guilty. Perhaps there are more men than woman that put themselves first but a lot of men have a dilemma with this too.

I’d love to hear from you with your stories. Have you had an epiphany moment where you realised something had to give or disaster would happen? What has happened when you said yes but you really wanted to say no?

Sharing your thoughts will help me help others and bring less chaos to this world we live in. And wouldn’t that be fabulous!

 

 

 

13 ways to make meditation happen in your life, every single day

IMG_3014
You’ve heard it all before. A regular meditation practice makes a big difference to your life. Research proves it. Committing to meditation regularly can be a monumental challenge.

Here’s 13 ways to get you there. To a regular meditation practice that will make YOU calmer, more focussed and happier too.

  1. Choose a time that will work every day and become a habit This set time can be on waking, before breakfast, at a set time (on the clock) each day e.g. 7am, 30 minutes before bed, at the end of your yoga practice or daily exercise routine.
  2. Get up ten minutes earlier and meditate on rising  It might seem a bit weird to wake up and then close your eyes again but it is a fabulous way to start the day. The positive impact it can have on your day makes every effort worth it.
  3. Find a form of meditation that is right for you  This is super important. What works for your mate may not resonate with you. It needs to be enjoyable so that you are motivated to do it daily. Guided meditations are a great way to start.
  4. Download an App like Headspace     Having an App that is easy to use such as Headspace means you are more likely to ‘just do it’.
  5. Subscribe to a site like Yogaglo with a monthly fee     Often when we pay for stuff we are more likely to use it, especially if it’s an ongoing subscription. You can use Yogaglo for a trial period before signing up monthly. Searching for a mediation is easy and fun. Choose your time (5 – 60 minutes), your teacher, your style and off you go.
  6. Use the free trial period on Yogaglo to learn how to meditate   Yogaglo has beginner series for meditation and different styles too.
  7. Set up a space that is your sacred zone   If you have a set space for your meditation practice it can be your ‘go to’ and you are more likely to make a regular practice happen. It could be a chair in the corner of your bedroom or a cushion somewhere.
  8. Be aware that meditation can be done anywhere   Sure it’s ideal to have a beautifully quiet sanctuary for your regular practice of meditation but in no way is it essential. Using headphones if you’re doing a guided meditation can work if you can’t escape noise.
  9.  Find a meditation centre for learning how to meditate   Jump online and search the internet for somewhere you can go to learn meditation face to face or an online course if there isn’t any other option.
  10.  Make a list of your excuses, reasons why you think you can’t meditate daily     Do this and then list the things you can do to negate those excuses.
  11.  Join a daily meditation challenge to hold you accountable Google ‘daily meditation challenge‘ and find one that clicks with you.
  12.  Get a friend to join you on your daily meditation challenge and set yourselves a reward for achieving a set number of days.
  13.  Set a reminder in your phone for your daily meditation practice and treat it like a very important meeting that cannot be cancelled.

Habits take practice and practice makes perfect! Once you’ve found a style of practice you like schedule it in your calendar and JUST MEDITATE!

You can read about letting go of fear of meditation here. And read the reasons why you need to meditate here.

 

Things you need more of and how to make them happen in your life

Fun pic

You know you want and need more fun in your life. When the fun stuff does happen it’s so awesome that you vow you will make time for more of it but you don’t seem to be making it happen.

Days turn into weeks, then months, then years and you wonder where your time goes. Don’t want to be one of those people that always complains about not having enough time? ‘I can’t believe where time goes’ will always be in your vocab until you make some changes.

Change doesn’t just happen. Change happens in small steps.

Absolutely – you can dream big and aim high, just start with small changes. Research gurus have proved that writing things down means you are 80% more likely to get them done. That’s massive. Eighty percent more likely to get stuff done if you write it down! That’s an 8 in 10 chance.

Find a system that works for you and get writing;

  • a hand written diary
  • an online calendar
  • a bit of both
  • a notebook
  • whatever system works for YOU

Schedule time to schedule! Sounds a bit weird but if you don’t do it, the things that you want more of in your life won’t happen and I know you want more. You really want change but everything seems to stay the same. Time after time.

‘If nothing changes, nothing will change.’

Take a moment (put the timer on for 5 minutes) to write a list of what the fun stuff is in your world. What you want more of. Make it handy and easy to access. Notes on your phone/ front of your diary/ a list on your desk. Look at it often!

Now you know what you want more of – make time for it in your schedule. I can pretty much guarantee this will make you

  • Happier
  • Super productive to smash that ‘to-do’ list (schedule that too)
  • A heap of fun to be around
  • More relaxed and chilled
  • Healthier
  • A seeker of adventure

You’ll be left with an awesome sense of achievement at the end of each day. AND at the beginning of the day you’ll have something to look forward to. EVERY day.

Here’s some examples of a ‘fun stuff’ list;

Laugh

Listen to a comedy show/Podcast

Bike ride (this is the top of my list)

Dance to a fave song

Sing out loud

Fix something broken

Meditate

Write to/text someone you love

Spend quality time with a tribe member

Date with self

Swim

Do 10 star jumps

Practice headstands

Watch the sunrise/sunset

Connect with nature

Stargaze

Watch a movie

Go on a picnic

Read an awesome book

 

Have a list of ten minute things and a list of things that take longer. The benefits are amazing! Start now, not next monday or after ‘this’ or ‘that’ happens. NOW is the time and you can do it.

Add your ‘fun’ stuff to the list above in the comments below and let’s get the ‘ripple effect’ happening.

And then, get scheduling. It’s profoundly life changing.