Meditation, is it time to try it?

 

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Photo: Google Images

Attention busy women of the world, who spend their time overthinking!

 

If you are not already familiar with the practice of meditation, you have probably heard a bit about it and have seen stories and articles about it popping up everywhere. Well keep reading, you need to hear this

If you haven’t jumped on board the meditation train as yet, you need to.

Everyone needs to. You just do!

The women in my life who know me well or are part of my uplifting group The Self Love Project on Facebook, know that I talk a lot about meditation and the benefits to our health and happiness.

I have experienced some life changing transformations since committing to the practice of meditation during my Breast Cancer journey. It has been about two years now, and I can’t go a day without listening to a guided meditation at least twice.

I have experienced first hand how powerful it is, and love it so much that I ran a dedicated group on Facebook, just for women, for 30 days during January. It was a great success, and many of those beautiful participants have felt great shifts in their level of calmness, have noticed a reduction in their stress levels, increased feelings of joy, and improved sleeping patterns.

So I am doing it all again.

We all have those days when there is just too much going on in our minds.

It seems that at times we just can’t slow down those wheels of “overthink”.

As women, for those of us with families, it is usually a constant scheduling nightmare that gets overwhelming. We have to be here, be there, pick up little Johnny at that time, deliver little Sally at that time, feed everyone…etc. Oh and then there’s work or running your business (or both in my case). I could continue on, but I’m sure you get the drift!

What if I told you that meditation can help you cope with all of that? Would you give it a go?

The benefits to your health are immeasurable.

It helps lower blood pressure, heal the gut, reduce the severity of anxiety and depression, improves sleep habits and so much more. And above all, it helps you find your happy.

Have a look around Google and you will find a lot of information.

Due to the success of the first round of The Meditation Project the next round is starting next Monday 19th February. (It won’t matter if you are a little late in starting.)

30 days of guided meditation to help you transform your life…

FOR WOMEN ONLY

img_6487Joining the program is a great introduction to guided meditation and will help you create a new habit, or get back into it if you have fallen off the wagon!

If you want change in your life, this is one of the simplest ways to make that happen.

Prioritise yourself, and jump on board!

In 30 days time, you could be sleeping better, feel happier, and be more calm and relaxed.

Who doesn’t want that?

Just 30AUD for 30 days. Click on the link below to confirm your participation, and request to join the group where the daily posts will be uploaded. All the information you need is in the pinned post within the group.

Confirm your spot here
Request to join the group here: The Meditation Project (After the Paypal notification has come through, your request to join the group will be approved.)

If you would like more information Email me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

I can’t wait to get started again, and see how much change will unfold for everyone. I look forward to seeing you in the group!

 

Namaste 

With love, Ali

 

 

 

A call for help…

Magic happens

I have to be completely honest. This is a call for help, for me personally.

This could possibly be the most vulnerable I have ever been in my entire life.  And it feels very uncomfortable.

Let me explain what I mean…

When I started writing my blog, I called it by the name “Raw and Completely Beautiful”, because I made the commitment to myself to always be open, honest and raw in my words.

Today is no different, so here goes…

Throughout my Breast Cancer journey, I have undertaken a lot of personal self development. I have taken a good, long and hard look at myself and what I could change to be better. To be a better person, and to do something meaningful to help others be better also.

I have come to realise in the last year, that finding my way to true happiness has inspired a passion in me to help women do the same.

Finding your joy doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be achieved through simple daily activities and devoting time to yourself.

I wrote a 30 day program called the Lotus Program, and tested it with a group of women. And the results were phenomenal.

I started a group in Facebook called The Self Love Project and there are now over 300 beautiful women in the community who uplift and support each other.

It has become my purpose each day, to make even just one woman feel more positive about herself.

I have also been focusing on my writing, and have the burning desire to write a book to help women find their happiness, without it being an overanalysed, heavy, painful process. I have found a way to guide women through grief, trauma and self sabotage to value themselves once again.

Recently, I participated in a short writing course with an international author and publisher based here in Australia. It was an incredible experience and opened my eyes to developing my skills in a way that I have not known before.

And something amazing happened.

I have been offered the incredible opportunity of a rare half scholarship to be mentored directly by the beautiful author/publisher, Joanne Fedler, in her upcoming writing program commencing later in February. I have been offered this because Joanne understands and appreciates my desire to educate women.

This program is going to help me in so many ways to give life to a book with a strong message, and make my dream a reality.

Now here is the uncomfortable, vulnerable part for me…

I need help to make this happen.

The mentorship does not come for free.

But, the scholarship offer is one that I will not have access to again, and I just feel I need to take a leap of faith to try and make this happen.

After two years of the most difficult financial time in our lives through my cancer journey, my Husband and I just do not have a way to raise the funds.

So I am now appealing to the kindness of the human spirit.

I am a big believer in authenticity, letting go of the fear of judgement from others, and allowing yourself to find strength in your vulnerability. I will admit that putting this message out there has completely tested my resolve.

I guess, if nothing else, I have pushed through a limiting belief and broken down a huge fear, all of which will help me to be a better version myself.

If you can find it in your heart to spare the time to click on the link below with all the details that explain my appeal, I would be ever grateful.

Go Fund Me

It is my hope that you are able to appreciate what I am trying to achieve. I also hope that you will, at the very least, reserve judgement and be empathetic in understanding why I have taken such a big risk in putting myself out there in this way.

In whatever capacity you may be able to help, I am truly grateful.

I may not be able to repay you, but I am completely committed to seeing this journey through. And you will be able to play a large part in enabling me to complete my mission.

Who knows, maybe this will impact the world in a positive way.

At least I will have tried.

Thank you for sharing some of your time with me. And please don’t hesitate to make contact with me if you would like further information.

With love,

Ali

 

Your inner power…

The ocean at my favourite place is incredibly powerful. Rain, hail or shine it has the power to give life, take life, give joy and fuel fear.

But no matter the weather, it rolls in every day. Lapping the shore, soaking the sand, leaving treasures behind and is either raging or calm.

No matter the weather, it’s power is ever present. It is never vulnerable, it is always there.

It calms and soothes even the most troubled of souls who visit.

It reminds me of my power. It represents my inner power that is always there.

No matter the circumstances, and no matter the strength of the storm, it is there.

It is always lapping the edges of my soul. I can always find it. I can always seek it.

Just like the treasures left for me on the beach that I find in my path, so is my strength.

It is always there. Some days I just need to see it. We all need to see it for ourselves.

We need to open our hearts and our minds, and see our own strength and power within.

It is always there. Rain, hail or shine, it is always there…

The true cost of Cancer…

Two years ago today, we received my diagnosis. It turned our world upside down. It was just the beginning of a huge journey.

During those two years it has been just as much ugly as it has been beautiful. Behind our smiles and strength is our truth of the real cost of Cancer.

Cancer has cost me my body as it once was. It has cost me my hair, my eyebrows and my eyelashes. It has cost us the ability to work, exercise and at times, function as parents. It has cost me full feeling in many parts of my body. It has been painful physically, mentally and emotionally.

It has almost cost us both our souls and sanity, more than once.

It has almost cost us each other.

It has tried to cost us our home, and still might.

On one dark day, it could have taken me with it…

We have felt disappointment, we have felt abandoned and we have felt lost. And we have felt fear. All consuming, terrifying fear.

But there has also been beauty.

Beauty in the love and support from those who have been there and accepted all that has been.

Beauty in the change that has evolved from within. To search ourselves so deeply and learn to love what is, has been a blessing.

The beauty with which we choose to see life, even more than before, gives us a second chance. Being forced to learn lessons so harsh have changed us forever. We will never be who we were before.

Each day we rise and smile. One foot in front of the other as we greet the day.

We have each new day to start again and find hope. Life keeps moving forward regardless.

I am here. I woke up today. I am breathing. Anything else is a bonus.

Life has never felt more beautiful…

My Daughter’s footsteps…

img_4533As I watch her walk along the sand in front of me, I wonder about my Daughter’s footsteps into her future.

She doesn’t walk in mine, and nor would I want her to. But I created her, and I must show her the way.

Because of my own footsteps, I can teach her differently. Because I strayed off the path, I can recognise the signs. Because, once, I hated myself, I can fill her up with my love. Because, once, I hated my body, I can teach her to love hers. Because I never thought I could do anything, I can encourage her to try everything. Because I needed to measure up, I can teach her to ignore judgement from others. Because I was never good enough, I can remind her to always do her best.

In a world that places so much pressure on our children, I can teach her to be grounded. I can teach her to take responsibility, and I can teach her to be self-aware.

I can teach her as best I know how, to prepare her for her adult life. I can invest in my parenting techniques to teach her how to know her boundaries. I can ignore the fourteen year old tantrums and embrace her insights into humanity. I can make light of the drama and emotion to stop the momentum. I can sacrifice being a friend right now, to become her closest in years to come.

I can watch her make mistakes, and be there to catch her in the fall. I can celebrate her joys and successes and be the loudest cheerleader from the sidelines.

I will quietly walk beside her, observing, guiding and admiring the young woman she is becoming. I recognise parts of me in her, but she is a more evolved mirror of my younger self.

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Her passion, determination, strength and resilience that shines through fills me with joy. The foundations are there, it will be up to her now. I have done my best. I have to let go, just a little. But all the while, watching, waiting, guiding, and cheering from the sidelines.

At times, apparently I know nothing. At times I am on the receiving end of that acidic teenage venom. At times I am the enemy. At times, I am not the perfect parent. At times, I fail her. Sometimes, I can’t be all for her. And sometimes, my heart hurts for her but I cannot fix it.

She has been through more than a teenage girl should have. In her short life, she has embraced the many lessons that have been presented to her. Life, death, trauma and lack. Unimaginable for some. And yet, she is brave, strong and shines light wherever she goes.

As I imagine her future, I know there will be heartbreak, disappointments and setbacks. I cannot protect her from those times to come that will try to wear her down. I can only continue to observe, guide and cheer her on.

I will never judge. Who am I to do that?

She deserves the safety and security of my love and support, no matter what.

The day will come, when she may not need me so much. She might not want to ask my thoughts and opinions. And that is ok. She will be ok.

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For now, I will love her fiercely with my own strength, resilience and compassion. The future will come, faster than we realise.

My Daughter’s footsteps may be the same size, but they will never make the same pattern as mine. And for that, I am grateful…

 

To give love, one must feel love…

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We all want love in our lives. We all love to be loved. We need to feel love and we need to give love.

Love is everything.

It all starts with our self love.

If we feel love we give love. If we give love, we receive love.

Love is everything…

With love, Ali xx

The evolution of a boy…

img_9423Yesterday, I watched my 16 year old son, my middle child, play in his men's volleyball team and I saw a boy on the verge of manhood.

Once my shy, sensitive, quiet boy with many anxieties  and fears is now accepted as 'one of the boys'. The teammates congratulate each other with the sportsmanlike pat on the butt and high fives! They celebrate the wins, and support each other in the losses.

On the way to the game we were chatting about my son's successful week of work experience with a carpenter/builder last week. It was his first exposure to being on the tools in a real working environment.

He wants to be a carpenter. He knows it with conviction. It lights him up and he feels no doubt.

What an amazing thing for one so young to be so certain of his purpose.

At 46 I am still trying to figure out what my purpose is, other than being a mum and wife!

Whilst chatting to my son, his future flashed through my mind. I had the sense that his life will be great. He is already aligned with his passion and has direction.

I spent many years worrying about my son. His formative years were very difficult and our circumstances were challenging. He was very protective of me, even at the early age of 4, and he also had issues with separation. I would drop him at childcare on my way to work and he would scream as I left. It was heartbreaking. The early years of primary school were the same. Some days he would not get out of the car and I would have to walk him in to the classroom.

I realise now that my son didn't feel safe. For a long time neither did I.

For many years he wouldn't settle at night. He couldn't fall asleep, and when he did he had bad dreams. He was also very angry. Angry with me, angry at the world. We sought help and support, and were very fortunate to eventually find a wonderful woman who helped my son finally find a way to articulate his feelings.

All I could do as a mum was give him love, be consistent and function through structure. They were difficult years, and exhausting.

My son found balance through sport. He has a natural ability. He achieved his back belt in Taekwondo by the age of 11, played footy at the local club and participated in many school sporting activities and competitions. At the end of his final year of primary school, he received the sports award from the school.

I cried in that moment. I couldn't stop. They weren't just tears of pride as a mum, but also joy and celebration. That award was more than just an acknowledgement of his contribution to the school during that year. It signified his healing. His acceptance of all that was and his journey of processing and personal growth.

Fast forward to the now and it hasn't been easy. We have navigated more challenges through the years with our family. My recent journey through breast cancer has been very difficult for our kids. All six of them have coped with it in different ways.

Sport has been the way my son has coped. As I watched him play his game alongside the men in the team, some much older than him, I saw a boy who is confident, happy and ready for the next stage of his life.

As my son and I discussed his work experience, I asked him if he still enjoyed it by the end of the week. He answered and said, "I would love it even if I didn't get paid to do it". And there it was. The moment I realised he has found his purpose.

People who are aligned with their purpose and passion have flow in their lives. Opportunities arise for them in amazing ways.

I know that my son will not have the struggles that I have endured. As long as he is feeling joy through his work and his life, he will be happy. As parents we all long for that for our children. We hope that they will not know the struggles that we have experienced.

There will be lessons, no doubt. His life will change in years to come. He might have his own family one day. He might decide on a career change, or run his own business. Who knows. But for now, knowing that as a young man he has direction is actually a relief.

There is so much pressure on young people nowadays to figure out what they want to do. Navigating preferred pathways is much more complicated than when I was at school. It is almost overwhelming how many different options there are available to school leavers now. There is a big emphasis on attending university. This is not for everyone, and even once you have completed your degree there is no guarantee of employment.

I feel a sense of peace and immense pride in regards to my son's choice to be a tradie. I have a quiet knowing that all will be well. It was worth all the difficult times to now witness his evolution, and I couldn't be more happy for him.

My Dad said to me once when I was in my early 20's, …"I may not always agree with your decisions, but I will always be here to support you". That has always stayed with me, and I aspire to do the same.

Whatever my kids decide to do in their lives, as long as they are happy and are following their inner guidance system that I have taught them to listen to, I know they will be successful in this game of life.

As parents, we can't ask for any more than that…

With love, Ali.

*Big thank you to my beautiful boy for giving me his blessing to tell his story.

Why girls need girls…

 

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As women, we love to connect with other women. It starts when we are young. The bond of the "girlcode" begins as soon as we start interacting with groups.

 

We started whispering in each other's ears, sharing toys (or not!), and our mums started scheduling 'play dates', as soon as they connected at the local mothers group, childcare, Kindy and school.

Throughout our schooling years, we form friendships, end friendships and move through different groups. If we are fortunate, we will form some lifelong bonds.

Last weekend I attended my thirty year school reunion. It was a great day with many stories being shared about our school days and life since then for each of us. The fact that our secondary schooling was in a single sex environment meant that strong connections were formed, lifelong in fact. Every school creates the same, but being all girls, and some of us living on the grounds in the boarding house, meant that we did not have the distraction of boys and only had each other. Close friendships are inevitable in an all-girl environment.

This also meant there were some clashes, as with any family living together, and as we navigated through our teenage years we relied on each other heavily. Especially those of us who were living away from our own families.

I don't remember a lot of those years, just snippets here and there. My Mum was sick through all of my secondary schooling and died three months into my final year.

At the reunion, as we shared our stories, some of those bonds were still felt. We all reconnected, individually and as a group. It was a surreal moment in time, with the last 30 years feeling like a blur. At one point, after a few wines, we even sang the school song!

Fast forward through the next thirty years and they have been filled with friendships with some amazing women, all of whom have played a part in who I have become, and indeed am becoming.

Through school and the early years following there was always drama. That's just what girls do! We are hormonal, emotional and at times irrational while we are young. There were broken hearts, broken dreams, broken promises and plenty of broken rules! But through it all, those true friends were riding the waves with me.

Then there were the girls I lived with, girls I have worked with and girls I have met through business and in the social media space. It never ceases to amaze me how new people can arrive into your life in unexpected ways. Many of these women are still my very close friends.

I have life-long girlfriends who I have grown up with and am still so fortunate to have in my life on a daily basis. My oldest friend and I are only three days apart. We were inseparable as young girls and our mothers were best friends. To have that history with a dear friend is a special thing.

Then there is that special friend who knows all my secrets! We met on the first day of secondary school. I had forgotten my glasses and had been moved up to the front of the classroom next to a blonde haired girl named Louise. I had also forgotten my essential items to write with and spent the entire day asking Lou if I could borrow items out of her pencil case! I had my braces and bobby-pinned hair and shiny new shoes on. She still reminds me of this day and remembers that she was annoyed that I asked to use her belongings all day and ignored her at the recess and lunch breaks! But I was just going off to the boarding house for my meals with the other boarders!

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To be able to call a friend and have a good old offload without judgement is a blessing. To absolutely know that I don't have to hesitate to pick up the phone and call when I'm having a bad day and know that I will hear 'it will all be ok', feels safe and reassuring. To also know that I can call any time to have a laugh, tell my stories of failure and success, or chat about my dreams and aspirations, fills my soul. It heals me.

I have an incredible husband who makes me laugh, and we have wonderful male friends in our lives who bring much to our friendships, but my bond with my girlfriends is different. It is gentle, it is light, it is like your favourite song playing on the radio and you can't help but dance. That connection raises your vibe, and can make an ordinary day turn around in a matter of minutes. It can fill your soul.

I see my daughter at 14, in her first year of secondary school, starting to develop some of these bonds of friendship now. She and her friends are now of an age when they are starting to appreciate the special place that they hold in each other's lives. I see her life long friendships blossoming and new friendships forming. They spend a great deal of time chatting to each other about the issues that come up in their lives. I love watching that happen. I love that they are valuing each other and acknowledging their connections.

I love that I can have a deep conversation and talk with my girlfriends about life, love and lessons. I love that we can be so captured by our chatting that we aren't aware of what is going on around us. I love laughing at the memories of stupid things we have done. I love it when they say to me (through love)… "get a grip"! I love that I have been able to call a friend and say "can I just come and hang on your lounge today"… and you can ask the same of me. I also love that many of my girls are also loved by my kids.

I'm sad that several of my closest friends live interstate and across the ocean, but I love that we can be in contact in an instant. I love that in this day of modern technology I can be talking in real time across the world, or sending crazy Snapchat photos to each other, or we can video call and see each other's faces. We can make the effort to keep these special friendships part of our daily lives if we want to.

As Phil and I sat at our favourite spot in the sun yesterday drinking our coffee, I was observing the different groups of people walking past. There were families and partners, the fellas who had met a mate for a run, and then there were the girls. Groups of girls chatting, laughing and sharing stories about their week. They were in their own little world in a state of joy.

I have huge appreciation for the different types of girls in my life who are my friends. I have attracted smart, empathetic, creative, wise and amazing women into my world, all of whom have a no BS approach to life! They are different nationalities, have different backgrounds and upbringings, different interests, and sometimes different opinions.

I am so proud of them all, and so incredibly grateful that they have chosen me to be their friend. I also love them dearly…

Nurture your friendships with the girls in your life. Treasure the special moments, be grateful for them and show them love.

Do that, and they will walk beside you through your life and all that it is and will be…

With love, Ali xx