Don’t think you have time to meditate? You need to meditate

If only there was another word for meditation. It scares people, yet it is something that  we could be taught in school, from the early days. What a wonderful tool to take with us into adulthood to improve our lives and help us cope better with the stresses we face daily.

Anyone can learn to meditate. The hardest thing is facing the fear (read about this in my ‘facing fears’ blog here) and asking ourselves what we are afraid of.

Meditation isn’t all about having a still mind, void of thought.

What it is about, is taking time out, making it happen and focussing on being present. There are so many variations, it’s not hard to find a method that works for you. But it does take a bit of effort. I know, nothing in life that is worthwhile comes without effort. I promise you, it’s worth it!

For me it started after a friend recommended a meditation course she had done. I went along and loved it, but it wasn’t until 6 months later when I had surgery (to repair some trauma after childbirth) that I really put it into practice. Then it became invaluable and helped with my recovery beyond words.

Daily meditation keeps me grounded and is extremely calming

My preference is guided meditation and there are some great resources (my favourites) available here. Yogaglo (click here) also works wonders, with limitless ‘meditations’ from 5 minutes to 60 minutes on varying topics.

Nope, you don’t have to sit on the floor cross legged with your palms face up, insence burning. You can just sit in a chair in a quiet space and set your timer. There are no rules.

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Start with 2 minutes. Put the timer on, sit with closed eyes and focus on your breath.

Thoughts are fine. Keep returning to the breath. Timer goes off and ‘hey presto’, you just meditated! Throw out all the rules meditation has for you and start from scratch. With an open mind.

Celebrate your achievements.

Meditation really is an incredible tool to that helps reduce stress and improve our daily lives. Starting is the hardest part. You don’t have to  do a course, you can teach yourself. Be kind and stick to 2 minutes in the beginning or give the guided style a go. You will thank yourself and it’s worth celebrating!

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What other people think…

From such an early age, most of us worry about what other people think. The day we learn not to worry is  the beginning of an awesome  journey that is a joy to travel.

Worrying about what other people think is none of your  business

It’s important not to spend too much time worrying about trying not to worry! Awareness is the first step. Being able to step outside your head and look at what’s going on inside,  just as if you are another person.

We’ll never really know what other people think, so why do we spend so much time worrying about it?  If we can be comfortable in our own skin, it becomes less important.

Why not share what you think about someone close to you? The good stuff.

How awesome would it be to receive a message full of warm fuzzies? Blokes may not want to share with their mates but what about a sibling, wife, girlfriend, Mum?Not only will the recipient feel amazing it makes you feel good too. Really good.

It will only take 10 minutes of your day. Put your timer on and give it a go!

There is now time like the present. Losing my Mum so suddenly, less than a year ago, highlighted the importance of sharing the fabulous things about those close to us. Read about how I found a silver lining after my mum died, here.

I used to walk into a room and wonder if people would like me. Now I walk into a room and wonder if I’ll like them.

Be yourself, not who you think other people want you to be. We can’t please all of the people all of the time. Pleasing ourselves is a step in the right direction.

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Inspiration!

Since starting my blog a month ago the most asked question from friends has been – ‘How did you choose the name for your blog?’.

The start of another year and still no blog created. Ho hum. I had to dig deep and ask myself why, what was stopping me? JUST DO IT was a powerful voice in my head, so powerful I had to make it happen and soon. How long can it take to choose a name, 3 years?

What’s my blog about? Who do I want to connect to? How do I choose a name that somebody hasn’t already thought about?

For days I was all consumed with creating a unique and innovative blog name.

Food was what I had always thought my blog would be about. I love food; creating food, sharing food, inspiring people to eat well.

The thesaurus in my head was running out of ideas. Every time I googled, the name I wanted was already taken. I was lying on the lounge, in the middle of the day, sharing time with my wonderful husband (no kids).

Lounge, it could have the name lounge in it. Woo hoo, I thought, I’m onto something.

Lounges are for taking time out, sharing time with friends and family. Indoor lounge, outdoor lounge. Real food. Cuppas, champagne, reading, watching a movie, listening to music. We are so caught up in the busy-ness of life we rarely take time to stop and chill. Lilac is a colour of tranquility, starts with the same letter as Lounge, they sound good together.

What we need more of in life is time out with ourselves. With friends. Eating, drinking. Delicious food. Calm.

…..and so, Lilac Lounge was borne.

What’s the one thing you’ve been wanting to do, that you think about every day? What’s stopping you? Facing fears isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

Find 10 minutes in your day, today, and get started!

Transform yourself into a morning person in 8 simple steps

Always been envious of people that can get up when they wake up AND be cheery and bright in the mornings? It IS possible to become a morning person. Change does require a bit of effort on your part, there’s no miracle answer. Here’s some ideas that will help create that change you know you want.

How you wake up and how you spend your mornings, has a direct impact on your entire day.

1. If nothing changes, things will stay the same! 

You can’t suddenly set your alarm for an earlier time in the morning and expect habits to change just-like-that. It won’t work. The first step is to accept that some things will need to give.

2. Set your intention

You must have a reason for getting up earlier than your current ‘normal’. Do you want to get up earlier so you have a relaxed morning? Add some exercise to your day? Get on top of your paperwork? Cope with kids that are early risers? Do an ‘at home’ yoga class or a guided meditation (I use  and love yogaglo.com)? Without an intention you will find change almost impossible.

3. Write your intention down and plan a reward 

Did you know you are 80% more likely to make change happen if you write down your goal? SMART goals do really work. Write it down but remember to be realistic and specific. e.g. I will get up at 5am every weekday and go to bed by 9 pm every week night. 

Set your goal and also write down how you will reward yourself when you have achieved a milestone. It could be a gift to yourself; doing something you rarely give yourself permission to do; a massage or perhaps something you haven’t tried before – Bowen therapyReiki. ..think outside the square!

4. Your morning is very dependent on how you spend your evening

If you want to get up at 5am feeling refreshed or even just OK, going to bed at 11pm (or later) after hours of TV or computer use, isn’t going to cut it.

5. Count backwards

Work out what time you need to get to work/kids to school/out the door and count backwards. Make time for breakfast. Then work out what time you need to go to bed, allowing for 7-8 hours sleep most nights (we know what is ideal for us individually, if we are honest with ourselves).

6. Get ready for the morning the night before

I bike ride most mornings, getting up at 5am. This seemed impossible to me just over a year ago but I’ve surprised myself! Getting my stuff out the night before makes a big difference.  I also try and prep snacks and lunch for my work day. Mornings are so much more enjoyable these days. Yes, it takes effort but YES, it’s worth it!

7. Curfew on electronics/TV the night before, at least 30 minutes before bedtime

This IS important but only if you really want to create change and to feel GREAT with your new morning routine! Write down what time you will get off your phone/computer/TV and think about how you will relax before bed, after you are ready for the morning.

8. Be kind to yourself

You’re not going to suddenly become a morning person overnight. It takes time and there’ll be hurdles along the way. You can do it; believe it’s possible and value the importance of sleep and making time for YOU.  The things we think we ‘must’ do before bed really can wait. The world will go on.  Intention and preparation. It works!

Give it a try, you never know what might happen.

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Every cloud has a silver lining…

We had set up camp last Easter,with friends at Karajini National Park, a 5 hour drive from our home in Karratha. Karajini is an incredible oasis in the ‘middle of nowhere’. We’d planned to camp for 4 nights and then drive 3 hours to the coast to meet my family from Perth, who would make the 10 hour journey north to camp with us at Ningaloo :- a marine park that has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. My Mum and Dad, my sister and her 3 girls.

Life doesn’t always go to plan

The park has the most incredible gorges, with ochre rock walls carved deep into the earth and beautiful swimming holes that you could lounge about all day in, taking in the dramatic scenery. We spent the first day  relaxing and after returning to our campsite the ranger dropped by. I might remind you that this is a remote location and it’s a 3 hour drive to get mobile coverage.

A ‘rock drop’ moment…

The ranger asked for me by name and had the satellite phone in his hand. He said my sisters had been trying to contact me about my Mum. Instinct told me that this wasn’t good news, but I refrained from asking the ranger what he knew. He said I could use his satellite phone to call my sisters. This was doubly bad, because one sister lives on the other side of Australia.

I bravely called my sister and promptly handed the phone to my Dad. He spoke in an unfamiliar voice and his words were  ‘Your mother had a stroke at home this morning and she hasn’t survived’.  My husband was standing next to me, grim faced, and I looked at him and mouthed ‘Mum’s had a stroke and died this morning’.

We were in a remote location, 6 hour drive from home, a 14 hour drive from my family and it was 5 o’clock at night.

Shock took over and after hanging up the phone and thanking the ranger we decided that we would wait until morning to move on. Drive back home and fly to Perth. We had to break the news to our daughters, 9 and 11 at the time, and of course to our friends camping with us. How lucky we were to have them there, their support was wonderful.

I’m writing this post to share the wisdom I have gained from an experience that was (more than) upsetting.

It’s amazing how we have the strength within us to get through whatever life throws at us.

It’s almost a year now and I miss my Mum every day, but I take time to celebrate the legacy she left behind. Over 300 people attended Mum’s funeral, a testament to the inspirational woman she was . Mum appeared outwardly healthy, was still working part-time at 69 years old and took no medication. It was a huge shock to everyone that knew and loved her.

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In the face of adversity I found the courage to speak about my ‘amazing Mum’ for 2 minutes to a huge audience. I knew I could speak publicly for 2 minutes (because I had once before) and I drew on all my courage to do so. Mum would have been very proud.

Losing Mum so suddenly, taught me that life is for living and we can do anything we put our minds to.

Meditation has been wonderful to assist me in the roller coaster of grief, to learn to ‘let go’ and not cling on to the fact that Mum’s gone. The hardest times are anniversaries and my daughters milestones and achievements, when I just want to pick up the phone and call my Mum.

In moments that I miss Mum incredibly, I pause and breathe and reflect on how blessed we all were to have her in our lives for the time we did and how wonderful she was.

My sister commented recently that Mum used to drive us crazy but now that she’s gone we really miss her driving us crazy!

Every cloud really does have a silver lining.

I have found strength I didn’t know was there, not only to deal with grief but also to achieve some personal goals. I’ve had to move outside my comfort zone, but as they say – that’s where the magic happens.

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