Ponder 

Sometimes I wonder, why sometimes we create scenarios in our heads or visions of what we want to be, who we want to be and what we should be when in reality we don’t do much about our current situation. 

We spend so much time living inside our brains that we are unable to differentiate our reality to fiction.

It is so hard to change our behaviour. When we unconsciously create a habit, it’s hard to break out of it. Whether it’s comparing ourselves to another or sitting for hours on end when you know you should be getting active, it’s still such a waste of time. You could be doing so much more 24 hours a day than doing things that keep you on your vegetative state. 

What is the solution you may ask? Sometimes the answer is so straight forward. There is no magical equation or answer to this: JUST DO IT. 

We know this to be true. That action brings about a result. We know this. As human beings we absorb, process and overload our minds thousands and thousands of information that we are almost debilitated from it. We seem to be unable to turn that information and create an action that we know will be beneficial. We know certain things are bad for us to consume, yet we do it anyway. We find ourselves in health compromising situations however we do little to rectify the situation. 

We think we have time but our time is so very limited. We lose time every single day, so why do we switch our brains on to autopilot and do things because we are “expected by society”. 

I think part of success, is practicing what you preach. It’s bringing your ideas into fruition despite what others may think of you. It’s taking risks, it’s standing alone in the midst of a thousand voices telling you you’re not good enough, it’s harnessing courage, it’s being vulnerable, its transparency, it’s being honest with yourself, it’s enlightenment and it’s action. 

So I invite you to ponder and re-evaluate what your actions have been this past few months of 2017. Have you achieved some of your goals? Have you grown the past few months? If so what’s changed you? What could you do today that could make you better tomorrow? What could bring you a step closer to your goals? It doesn’t have to be a big task. Small increments can make a big difference overtime. 

So I want us to go through this together. To be a work in progress everyday.

Strength in Vulnerability

What does it mean to be Vulnerable?

The Oxford Dictionary has three meanings to the word Vulnerable – the first definition being:

Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

I honestly never really knew what this concept meant. I used to think there was weakness in feeling vulnerable. I used to feel like I was opening myself up to inevitable pain and suffering. But I realized that it is part of the human condition to feel. During my dark moments – dark times of rumination, sadness and depression, I contemplated as to why there were millions of songs about sadness, lost love, unrequited love, loss, pain, heartbreak, betrayal… you know where I am getting at here right?  As humans, we make mistakes. We ourselves have hurt, and others have hurt us. As we go through life, we go through a myriad of experiences that change us – whether we’re conscious of it or not. But some things affect us.
I found that… suppressing the innate humanity within us to feel only hurts us even more. It only harbors pain, confusion and trepidation to go on and live life to the fullest. I’ve learnt these past few years that disappointment, heartbreak and all those horrible human emotions are part of our existence. It will happen. But during those times of darkness in our lives how do we get through them? Do we suppress these emotions? Do we let ourselves feel – allowing them to come and go? Do we throw these emotions on to others? Or do we keep them to ourselves until our thoughts eat us up? If there’s one thing I believe: It is the power of Vulnerability. I once came across a TED talk by Brene Brown. She words it so brilliantly that all the pieces of the puzzle made sense in my mind on what the word or the concept actually meant.
I will leave you with a the link for the video and a quote that resonated with me – go ahead and see for yourself.   THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY
To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee…to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough” … then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”
Everyone is going through something in their lives whether its something big or small. If you’re going through a rough time or feeling down, I want you to remember that it is okay to feel the way you feel. It’s okay to feel down, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to lay down for as long as you need. But once you’ve let yourself go through those emotions, take the courage to stand up, ask for help, keep your head up high and move forward.
It is only when you continue to stay in that non- progressive state, that you feed that emotion rather than let it pass. 
Just wanted to spill my thoughts tonight. It’s the Easter Weekend and I have been busy eating chocolate and organizing my uni work. Typical student life right?
Happy Easter readers. Keep at it.

To my could’ve been…

For 365 days, I’ve relentlessly battled to remove every ounce of romanticized feelings of you. I knew that some point along the way, it just clicked to me. I deserve so much better.

I felt excruciating pain, uncertainty and guilt all mixed in one. Happiness that would last a few hours, did not compensate for the shadows of sadness that downed on me for the time that remained. I tried to think of all the possibilities of how we could make it work – I would’ve given up everything just to feel you near me every day, and feel the warmth of your body on mine.

But you were selfish.

You told me things that made my heart sing. You opened up deeper parts of me so you could wrap your hands around my heart just to hold it hostage. You made me feel so special and wanted. It was as if it was just me and you against the world. The way you would whisper sweet nothings into my ear and I would dream of you to the point I feared of losing you. You spoke to me whenever it was convenient to you, but when my heart yearned for you, you were no where to be found. You would fill my heart with love, and my your touch was sparking energy through my veins. I was falling in love…

But you…

You made me believe we could last. That you and I were forever. And it was my mistake for falling for empty promises just to fulfill the fantasies created in your head.

I wish you genuinely cared, and did not seek my attention just to fill the emptiness in your cold heart. I wish you could see how much I wanted you… not just physically but mentally and emotionally. I wish you saw the way I looked at you and admired you when you weren’t looking, and the way I would smile when I saw your eyes light up. I wish you knew how many hours of the day I wondered how you were and if you were taking good care of yourself. I wish you knew how many times I cried my heart out during times I needed you most. I wish you were interested in what I was passionate about and saw that whenever I pushed you to do work, that it was because I wanted the best for you.

I wish you said how you really felt. I wish you confided in me the way I confided in you. I wish you opened up to me, the way I did with you. I wish you meant the words you actually said. I wish you fought for me. I wish you didn’t take me to places we wouldn’t get seen. I wish you didn’t hide me from your family. I wish you valued me the way I valued you. I wish you asked more questions to get to know me better. I wish you respected me more. I wish you understood how heartbroken I was when you we hung up the phone. I wish you would show me the darker parts of your soul, the way I shown you mine. I wish you loved me.

Despite the hurt you caused me – I still love you. But my love… you never loved me. No matter how many times you said to me you wanted me… I knew it was not in the way I wanted you. And it killed me.

I’m perceptive. I knew if you were hiding. I could sense it.

I hope you find what it is that will fill the emptiness in your soul. I hope you find a girl who would love you the way I would love you and that you would love her equally as much. I hope you love her unconditionally. I hope your parents love her. I hope she gives you all the happiness in the world that will bring you true joy. I hope she makes you laugh. I hope she listens to your concerns. I hope she loves you endlessly.

In the end… we deserve better. We are better off apart than we are together. And no matter how many times at night I think of your touch, I will remind myself of how much pain you brought to me…

From the girl who would have given you the world.

 

Steps to Minimalism // 112615

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After much contemplation, I have realized how much “clutter” I have lying around in my bedroom. I have tonnes of papers, make up, clothing lying around and to be honest, it’s not a place I feel peace anymore. Every Time I entered I would feel overwhelmed and stressed. How my bedroom was reflected my thoughts: cluttered and full of baggage. I decided to make a change. After reading the blog of the minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – I have been inspired to take the necessary steps to remove superfluous baggage out of my physical life and emotional mind. And I am excited. If this is something you are interested in, I encourage you to check out their blog. http://www.theminimalists.com/21days/

For such a long time, I’ve always thought that “stuff” were integral for happiness. I needed money to buy THIS. Everyone has THIS so I need money. It’s an endless search for new and expensive things that you might not even use! This being said, there’s nothing wrong with new things or even expensive things to treat yourself, but if it becomes the number one priority in life, happiness is no longer present. Things that are sentimental to you, or things that you will use often will make you happier. And many people have attested to this. So here I go…

Day 1: Decisions

Your only exercise today is simple: make your Must List. What are your musts? What must change? What has brought pain into your life? What will bring great pleasure? Take as much time as you need and write down all your musts.

  • I must… remove unnecessary clutter in my bedroom.
  • I must… be kinder and more open to others; especially family.
  • I must… improve my health by exercising, pilates, yoga and meditation
  • I must… spend LESS time on social media.
  • I must… read a book a week
  • I must… rekindle old friendships and make the effort
  • I must… retrain my brain to think more positively and develop a growth mindset
  • I must… learn to cook more food
  • I must… practice playing the piano and the guitar
  • I must… go on more adventures in my own town/country
  • I must… let go of things that hurt me
  • I must… grab opportunities each day
  • I must… share my dreams and passions
  • I must… not fear judgement

I MUST CHANGE.

Sincerely,

Nicole

 

Writing that speaks to my soul // 112515

depressionI am quite active on media. And not just the social aspect of media. I love discovering new things. Especially blogs or writings from other inspiring people. I found a few online magazines and blogs that I absolutely love and I find completely and utterly inspiring. More people should read them because they are filled with IDEAS, MOVEMENTS, INSPIRATIONS. Things that matter. I’ll link them all below.

But one thing that spoke to me, was this one article from SOUL ANATOMY. Titled “How Depression Actually Helped Me Develop A Deep Appreciation For Life”. I read it and thought – my goodness, someone crawled into the inner cabinets of my brain and put pieces together to create this wonderfully worded piece of writing. It may not speak to all, but it definitely does to me. Depression is something I have slowly overcome. Now all that is left of me is my Anxiety. Although this is so, I still thank my experiences (bad ones) as it has really given me a different vantage point of life. So here is an except from the article, but I encourage you to read it.

Depression does this funny thing where it forces you to choose the option that only feeds it even more. Lay in bed, starve yourself, skip hanging out with friends, fail classes, ignore phone calls. It was like I already didn’t exist, so dying didn’t seem like that much of an extreme decision at the time.

After a couple of years of therapy, self-help book indulging, pages of writing and few attempts with anti-depressants, I was starting to find myself having days that I actually enjoyed. I think this was even more difficult than just being depressed all the time, because I’d believe my illness was gone only to find myself the next day curled up in bed, unwilling to move.

It was strange because there would be these times I didn’t want to exist and within 24 hours I would be completely ecstatic and wanting to get the most I could out of life. I was struggling still. I was so afraid to be sad, because I knew what my sadness could do to me. It made me think irrationally, causing me to have days contemplating whether life was worth it or not, even though deep down I knew it was.

Once I began having more good days than bad, I don’t think life had ever seemed so beautiful to me. Laughing became uncontrollable and I started enjoying even the outmost minuscule of things. I went from dreading the sun peaking out from my blinds, detesting any plans I made previously in attempt to get myself out of bed to feeling the breeze when making a left turn in a hot car as the windows were down and thanking God for it.

Read more at How Depression Actually Helped Me Develop A Deep Appreciation For Life .

Here are other sites I encourage you to browse.

  1. http://soulanatomy.org/
  2. http://www.theminimalists.com/
  3. http://moreloveletters.squarespace.com/
  4. https://www.ted.com/

 

Gratitude / 112515

Due to the craziness in my life these past 3 months, I have forgotten to keep my little promise. To write a minimum of 5 things I was grateful for (each month). Therefore here are 6 things I am grateful for that has happened these past few months.

  1. Job Interviews. I don’t know about you, but sending job applications is such a DAUNTING process. I mean… you’re basically trying to sell yourself. It has always been a tricky process for me as managers especially really intimidate me. However, I am grateful to have had opportunities these few months to have been considered as an employee and had a chance to exercise my strength in speaking well of myself.
  2. Celebrations- These few months I have had the opportunity to attend balls, dances and festivals as exams ended. Who doesn’t love celebrations right? I attended my first festival and it was sooooooo good. I never knew I’d love it.
  3. Silence – I find that silence is rare. Serenity is rare. Having the time to just sit, contemplate and not let any white noise stop you from reflective on yourself. I find that having ‘me’ time daily is rejuvenating and energizing. Sometimes when you’re caught in a whirlwind of responsibilities you don’t have time for yourself. Like they say – “the quieter you become, the more you hear”.
  4. Internet access – A lot of people now take this for granted. Hell. I don’t. These days, it’s the only means of INSTANT communication. I contact family, friends, employers, university lecturers and so forth. I communicate a lot. It’s also a place for discovery. Discovery of TED talks, youtube videos and music. It’s wonderful when used wisely.
  5. Health – I am grateful for a healthy body. I have been eating less meat lately and IT HAS BEEN SO GOOD. I feel less guilty eating animals. You could say I’m transitioning – to what you may ask? I do not know yet.
  6. Music – thank goodness for music. I never was a type of girl to like just ONE genre of music. I love most types. It just makes me feel happy, during times I believe music speaks to me.

So there you go. I hope you can think of a few things that has made you smile or happy these past few months.

What I Learnt in My First Year at University

Reflection time!

It was the most stressful time towards the end high school. Not only was I going through teenage years full of stress, confusion and social anxiety, there was no doubt that I was anxious about getting into University. I was quite conscientious, determined and competitive at school. This enabled me to be accepted into an early admissions program – meaning I got into University regardless of my final mark. This lessened the amount of stress I was feeling at the time. Before getting the early admissions acceptance letter, I honestly felt that if I was not going to do well, I was bound to be homeless or something like that. I thought that I was headed for failure and that I was not going to get anywhere in life. Little did I know that the hard work and persistence paid off. And I was off to University. I was so fixed in the idea that the ONLY way to success was through University and that was all. University was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. I got even MORE confused. I was unsure and let the uncertainty get to me. Little was my knowlege back then I have learnt so much therefore I thought I’d share my personal experience of my first year of University.

1. The learning environment is completely different. 

High school was very structured. A curriculum was set out for you, and at times I believe you are spoon fed by some teachers. You get lots of time with teachers and a timetable was provided for you. University is different. It is a very independent environment. You create a timetable that suits you. Instead of more one on one time with teachers, you email lecturers and tutors for academic advice. And the structure of education differs from each faculty, course and subjects. Transition from high school to University is different for everyone, regardless of how ‘smart’ you were considered in school. My first year of transitioning was STRESSFUL. But I have learnt a lot and it was worth it.

2. You encounter people from all walks of life.

In high school you are basically kept with the same year group from grade 7 to grade 12 (In Australia). Segregation into clicks are formed due to this. You stick with your group of friends and don’t really get the chance to truly get to know other individuals from different groups. Unless you happen to choose the same classes then you just might meet those other people. At university, the social aspect is completely different. Everybody seems to be on the same page, and it becomes a place of which fosters engagement and interaction with different kinds of people. Being an introvert, it definitely brought out the ‘outgoing’ in me.

3. You may discover what you TRULY like and dislike.

I don’t know about you, but the course I did in my first year is NOT the course I am doing now. I truly believed that that course I did was the one for me. But it was like hell. I thought I’d love the course but it turns out I didn’t. It took me that year to realize what I wanted. I then transferred and I am now doing the course that I love! I believe that we are all still learning. We are all still discovering. Whatever we do at University, TAFE or through other endeavours is for our learning. Although I transferred, I still learnt a lot from that year. I learnt that I did not want to do what I did as a long term profession. I learnt that I had a passion for something else, which was health, nutrition and education. What you enjoyed when you were younger may not be the case when you are older. So don’t be frightened. Find your passions! And if you feel lost and confused, don’t be disheartened. Try as many things as you can till you find the right ones. Be wise about it but also don’t be afraid to try new things. This is the way to personal progression.

4. Productivity and Time is more important than how good you look.

In high school I used to value appearance a lot. I would spend hours doing my hair and makeup to school and care about how my uniform looks etc… It was a lot of time wasted. I still do care about my appearance but I care more about simple, clean presentation that worrying if my eyeliner is good enough. Saying this, I love fashion. I love make up, but I have gotten to understand that makeup is to enhance beauty not conceal beauty. I used to put so much make up on in high school and envied the girls who looked all glammed up at school. That doesn’t matter now. In my first year, I had no time to spend hours on end making myself look the prettiest. I just focused on wearing something neat and simple. My make up natural and hair tidy. Some days I don’t wear makeup at all. It really does NOT matter. Learn to focus on the less vain things in life. Less stress.

5. You learn to be self-reliant and self-sufficient.

In my first year at University, I really learnt to take matters to my own hands. There were times I felt so lost, confused and bewildered. I thought to myself “Everyone knows what they want to do, whereas I have no career direction anymore”. I felt disheartened. I felt like I already failed! But I learnt to keep going, use University resources like Careers Advisors and Counselling of which helped me greatly! I also learnt the art of email etiquette and contacting different people at University. Ultimately, you learn independence. And such things cannot be learnt by being spoon fed and given everything you need on a silver platter.

6. Budgeting and Saving

University students are known to be short in terms of money. Why? Textbooks are unnecessarily expensive. Transport is NOT free. And you have to pay for food. And I get hungry at Uni ALL THE TIME. Fortunately I get allowances from parents all the time. I never really had to rely on anything else BUT my parents. I work now, which is a bonus, and when it comes to textbooks, I have refrained from purchasing new textbooks. You learn to be wise with money. Buy second hand textbooks, use shuttle buses of which are free, or even walk! And lastly you learn to make your own sandwiches and wraps.

7. You get what you worked for

University is a place of learning and you can only achieve good marks if you work for it. You cannot expect to go to Uni and think, I can do this by doing the minimum and just passing by a percent. You get what you deserve. The more effort you exert, the more you get out of it and the higher the marks. Of course there will be times when you studied to your potential but did not get the mark you desired. Don’t be disheartened by this. Focus on your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Don’t disregard them because one day they will become STRENGTHS. Luckily on my first year, I got a lot of distinctions and credits. I had subjects where I did not do AS well, but you know that next time you’ll do better and work harder.

8. There are other pathways to get to where you want to be

University is NOT for everyone. Some people decide to go to TAFE, take on apprenticeships, go to the army, go to a fashion school, a business school etc… There are so many different avenues to success. University is not the ONLY one. Some people don’t get to University for a certain reason. There are also many pathways to University, no joke! I learnt that anyone can study at any time. I’ve had students aged 40-50 attend the same classes as me. It’s all good. You will have your time, and you will have your place, University or somewhere else.

9. You decide how you shape and mould yourself to be the person you want to be

I learnt that you can have opportunities to study abroad, take on volunteering opportunities, networking, job opportunities, sports, wellbeing and all sorts of extra curricular activities to widen your experiences. Grab those opportunities. It will not only make you employable, but these experiences are vital to personal growth and happiness.

10. Being organized and prepared is crucial. 

Being systematic and organised is essential to retain that block of information in that head of yours. Being messy only makes you stressed and frustrated. I learnt to keep everything neat and always be one step ahead. Read your lectures early, use those extra resources, get to exams or appointments extra early. These are skills you will be thankful you learned earlier. Your education is important. And staying on top will get you ahead of most of your peers.

Whether you’re in highschool, university/college, gaining a diploma or having a gap year. I wish you the best on your endeavours. Your first time in anything can be hard. But you will definitely benefit from it. I assure you.

Good luck my friend.