Tag Archives: freedom

What revolution do you want to lead?

It is Day Seven of the Live Your Legend writing challenge. I think I must be the last person to finish this, as it has taken WEEKS to get this far. This is mostly because I have been busy setting up our marine conservation charitable cause Friends for Sharks and continuing with our World Tour plans for 2015. It is such a privilege to be working full time on this and it is leading me down paths of discovery I didn’t even know existed. It has huge highs and lows, I am learning every day and it is incredible. The best bit is that I am doing what I love and people are interested. Dive clubs, schools and aquariums are booking events with us and this morning I received emails from schools in The Cook Islands wanting to work with us. Did I really make this happen?? It is a leap of faith and one I wouldn’t change (even when I lie awake at night unable to sleep due to fear).

Enjoy the Friends for Sharks blog at www.friendsforsharks.com

Banner Fish

I have also taken another leap of faith and entered a travel writing competition. I have never branched into travel writing and felt it was time to push myself and try. Admittedly it terrifies me and I don’t think my writing is necessarily of a ‘travel’ style but we shall see. I hope you enjoy the first of my four entries under the competition theme “Gratitude: A Place That Inspires You to Feel Strong and Hopeful.” 

The Watercolour Coast

The Watercolour Coast
Just over the prow of the hill lies the Watercolour Coast

For the final day of the writing challenge I am asked

What revolution do you want to lead?

The more I pursue my path in life, the more I realise that I simply want to inspire and encourage people to reconnect with the oceans and sharks through my work. I want to provide a healthy dose of optimism and love for the natural world around us at a time when I believe we need it most. I want to be the voice that people listen to and walk away afterwards feeling uplifted and empowered to make changes to improve their life and the environment around them. I also want to be the written voice that takes people away from their troubles in life and comforts them with beautiful words of positivity, enthusiasm and storytelling.

On which note, I have almost finished the final edit of my first book. All 123,000 words of it. It is time to take one more leap of faith and begin the process of approaching publishers with my work.

Have a wonderful day, think about what revolution you want to lead….and then DO IT.

sunrise
Sunrise at Seal Island, Fale Bay, South Africa.

The path that is true to you

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This week I have been reminded of the importance of following my own path and creating a life that has meaning for me.

It is all too easy to get caught up in others expectations of what they believe to be right or wrong in life, success or failure in our endeavors, and to make life choices based more upon others than upon ourselves. I should know this, as I spent the best part of a decade living in a way that I thought I ‘ought’ to, that I ‘should’ do for the benefit of society and it wasn’t right for me. That chapter of my life didn’t contain the fulfillment of my own dreams or wishes, it contained mostly me trying to find acceptance at work, with peers and at home by conforming to their ways of life. Throughout it all I forgot one simple fact (that is true for each of us) – I am unique. I had absolutely no sense of self or belief in me and I spent my days trying to blend in as a sheep in my relationships, my career and home life. I said ‘yes’ so many times to others demands and opinions that in the end it made me miserable and I became destructive within a reality I had created and yet did not want. There was nothing wrong with that life as such, I had a lovely home and career and I met many wonderful people, but it wasn’t the path that is true to who I am. I always knew something was missing but assumed it was me being greedy and dismissed the niggle in my mind. I ignored the loneliness I felt inside.

 

I had blinkers on and I didn’t realise that there could be another way to live that would be more fulfilling for me. I had no idea that there could actually be a way in which my opinions, my likes and dislikes, my dreams and aspirations actually mattered and were worth following and voicing. No matter how wild and outrageous they seemed to my fearful mind and to those around me who laughed at my creativity and at my habit of daydreaming in meetings. I thought everything would stay the same because I didn’t know how to make a change.

 

And then I read this quote two years ago. It gave me a huge wake up call.

 

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Actually it really does matter, more than anything else, that we LOVE wholeheartedly what we do each day. There is only ever right now in life and there is absolutely no point in delaying following our dreams for some other time in an unknown future, because there never is that tomorrow. We work hard and we bank our lives for a retirement that may never happen and some of us spend years miserable at work because we hope it will be worth it. What if you die before even reaching that age? Will delaying your dreams and working so tirelessly at something you were not passionate about have been worth it? Of course not, for it never is. We only have now to take a risk and make a change, to have a positive impact, in this world. We only have now to smile, to laugh, to love and to be thankful for the incredible gift of life – and to do it justice by following a path that is true to each of us. For only then can we spread more happiness across the globe and impact positively upon society.

 

The world doesn’t need more money, more order and people worked to the bone in jobs they hate. The world desperately needs more people that have come alive.

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The death of my mother shortly after her retirement highlighted all of that for me and it is in her honour that I strive to live a life that has meaning for me every day. I was absolutely terrified when I walked away from a well paid and stable career a year and a half ago to pursue what a lot of people dismissed as a low paid, pointless adventure that would go nowhere. In my time overseas I have worked extremely hard at times, I have often felt the fear of ‘what on earth am I doing?’ and yet I have never laughed more and that is because I love the path I am on. I have learned more about myself during the past month than during the past thirty plus years of being me. I have discovered a drive and passion I didn’t know existed, found my spirituality deepen and found abilities and talents within myself that I had failed to even notice before. Oh and I have also realised that no matter how many times I work on a boat I will always get sea sick. Damn.

In spite of injuries that have left me a little bit broken and still recovering a few months down the line, I am truly excited about the future, about today, and leaping into the unknown is bringing me such joy. I may not be earning a great deal (yet) and yes I wake up in cold sweats wondering how I will make this work but I am creating my charitable cause Friends for Sharks and I am proud of that. I am writing articles and books that I hope will propel me forwards (more on that in the months to come) and that I hope will inspire others to follow their dreams fearlessly. I am living proof that, whilst it isn’t easy at times, taking a leap and following your dreams is absolutely worth it and anyone can do it.

I wouldn’t change a moment of what I have done and I urge you to take a step towards the dreams that set you free. Do it right now and smile all the way.

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Happy Branch

Image

 

I played a little game this morning. The sun is shining down upon my patio and, as my mug of green tea steamed up my glasses, I thought why not. Let’s get creative and explore for a moment. It led me to this. I wrote down six emotions I have felt this last week that I am not particularly fond of. I wrote them out hastily in my black biro – perhaps a reflection of how much I disliked these feelings? Not a pink pen moment. Emotions that have pushed me off my happy branch where I like to bask in the sunshine and preen my feathers. Emotions that sent me fluttering to the rain sodden ground like a tired crispy leaf in autumn when I was enjoying being the pink, scent-filled cherry blossom in spring.

My mind, in her infinite wisdom, enjoys sending me upon an emotional rollercoaster now and then and I figure there is always a lesson to be learnt. I try hard to work with her, I try hard not to fight her and accept that the downside of being creative is perhaps being prone to a little too much self-awareness and a little too much of the crazy. In the absence of a lesson I roll my eyes at her and laugh as I climb my way back onto the happy branch again.

 

 When all else fails. Laugh and do it loudly. Often

 

With that in mind I started my game with some heartfelt laughter and wrote down the six emotions that left me on the rain sodden ground earlier this week. I scribbled hastily on my scrap paper as I lay in the sunshine. I asked myself….

 

How do I bring out the good in these emotions?

Can I use my heart and mind to make them blossom into something more beautiful?

 

I wrote down the ways in which I try and bring out the good in me when those emotions come rolling into my mind, demanding to be listened to and cultivated. The ways in which I aim for the sky instead of turning into a crispy leaf. I asked myself…

 

What happens when I do these things?

What is the benefit?

 

Now this was absolutely a pink pen moment. A grin spread across my freckled cheeks, much like the Cheshire Cat, as I wrote down some surprising realisations of the good my efforts can bring to myself and those around me. This only took me ten minutes. Ten minutes of scribbling, exploration and a cup of green tea. It was worth every moment, just to get to know myself a little better this morning. Try it, you might be surprised at the result.

So here is my list and the discoveries I have made on my patio today. I think they have a touch of relevance to us all. They give me a ladder back onto my happy branch whenever I need it most. I hope they will do the same for you.

 

 Fear

The feeling that tightens your chest and leads you to believe that you simply cannot do it. Ever. You will fail; your paralysis and terror tell you that is the truth. Left to her own devices Fear can be a cruel vixen indeed and magnifies with every frightened breathe you take.  When Fear rises within me I try and recognise it and take a step back to focus on her arch enemy Courage. I think courageous, playful thoughts and imagine me conquering Fear with my Superhero pants on and shouting chaaaarge very loudly. I ask myself that age old question ‘What would you do if you had no fear? If you knew you couldn’t fail?’ As I start to imagine a world of possibility the fear subsides and is conveniently replaced with one of my favourite emotions. Excitement. You know who she is. The one that puts the sparkle back in your eye with her giddy tone and makes you giggle uncontrollably in anticipation.

 

 Jealousy

This has to be right up there as one of the worst emotions to experience. The bitter taste of green, much like overcooked cabbage. I have moments of jealousy where I desire what others have, just like we all do. I ache for the flat stomach and long legs of the pretty people rather than my rounded little belly and the 29inchers that are apparently fully grown legs. I am jealous of the insanely kind, patient people that are always so content and able to forgive. When jealousy draws my eyebrows into a knotted, slightly wild frown I pull myself backwards to reality and focus on wishing the object of my envy joy. Wishing them every happy moment of their long legs, their contentment or whatever it is they have that I lack. I wish it with my eyes closed and with all my heart. This is not easy, especially when it involves the object of my affection and goes along the lines of ‘I wish you find the true love of your life. I wish you the woman that will bring you happiness, a lifetime of love and contentment and long legs. Even if that isn’t me’ But you know what, focusing on sending out those loving thoughts to other people brings me back to my heart. It takes me away from turning green and gives me the beautiful gift of Acceptance. I love that feeling.

 

 Selfishness

Now I can really be selfish at times and I am not proud of this. As evidenced by my one rule in life….I do not share dessert, ever. That is so selfish but true and I apologise I cannot seem to change this. And there are many more selfish things I have done and will probably do in the future. But let’s not go there. When I am being selfish, thinking of me a lot and retreating from others concerns I find myself feeling ill at ease, flat and prone to pacing. Slightly odd but again true. This is quite obvious but when I find myself being selfish I intentionally focus on being selfless. I go out of my way to think about the people in my life I can do something nice for and DO IT. It doesn’t matter how small the gestures are, they help. They help bring on the number 1 feeling of them all. Love. Pure, selfless, love for those around me and for myself. She wraps her warmth around us all like a soft blanket by the log fire and makes everything okay.

 

Hate

I see things in other that I hate. I see others that I hate. Isn’t that a terrible thing to admit? It is an appalling, poisonous emotion and I am guilty of cultivating it at times despite knowing this. I try to be non-judgemental and compassionate but sometimes Hate gets the better of me and ties my hands behind my back with her grasp. Pours poison into my veins and it spreads rapidly. There is only one thing to do when Hate strikes. Stand still and recognise that the thing I see and hate outside of me is merely a reflection of something within me I am yet to accept. Not everyone will agree with me on this but I believe it to be true. If I hate someone it is usually because they have a quality I can’t stand and have failed to accept I too have within myself at times. With that recognition I can give myself a big mental hug, send a little self-love my way and Bingo that person no longer offends me.

 

Loss

We all feel the pain of loss at times. The way it leaves you feeling alone, broken and wistful of Before…that time when it was simple and there was no loss to mourn. And you know what, I have come to realise that no matter how much I dislike feeling my losses there is only one thing I can do here. Accept them. Let them sit within me, cry it out when I need to and recognise they are a part of me. They are precious gifts in my heart that have brought me compassion and understanding but they will always hurt. It’s okay that they do. There is nothing to work on here. Just let them be and move on when you are ready.

 

 Pride

My pride, she comes from my Ego. That ridiculous character within me that likes to think I am better than others; that I cannot and must not fall from grace and in no circumstances should be vulnerable or wrong. Pride keeps me distant from the world around me, builds a horribly isolating shell that keeps me from making real connections. From being REAL. So when my pride strikes and I feel my Ego getting the better of my heart I drop her. And I drop her fast. I do everything I can to step back and recognise when she is talking – she’s that voice that is high pitched, whinges, reacts quickly and defensively to others and takes life entirely the wrong way. When I am able to recognise those moments I am rewarded with a wonderful feeling indeed. I come back to ME. The real me. The one who is made up of heart, soul, smiles and laughter. The one within me that sings every day for the joy of being alive. You know the one; the person within you that thinks life is great, doesn’t care about looking like a fool and goes out of their way to be humble and thankful. A fantastic person indeed.

 

If you look up you will find that version of you sitting on the happy branch. Waving at you to climb and join in.

Go for it. Enjoy and be free.