Sunday, September 26, 2010

Stay In Your Lane

The Commonwealth Games kick off in only a few weeks and every runner, who's been in training for this moment understands one fundamental rule: to have an eligible time, they must stay in their own lane. To cross into another lane will lead to immediate disqualification.

If only we could remember this rule in life too. To imitate someone else is to admit we don't think we're good enough the way we are or maybe we just like them more than we like ourselves. Don't be distracted; even if you try to copy someone else, that still doesn't guarantee you'll also have their success.

If you can visualise your life like a running track, it might help you remember to run in your own lane. Chaos happens when a runner runs out of their lane and so too, when we start lane-hopping, lane-sharing and even when we fail to start.

Life is not a race -it's a journey. A journey to be discovered, enjoyed, challenged by and to be completed. Staying in your lane means showing up each day and using what you know, what you love to do and who you are to add your stamp to the time line of history and leave a deposit of something wonderful in the hearts and lives of those you've touched through relationships, and service.

Constantly trying to live up to other people's expectations, to impress or to please, makes for a weary, unfulfilled life. Recognise your strengths and attributes. That's not being big headed, it's being realistic. Then take those qualities that are so familiar to you and go and be wonderful, as only you can be. That, in itself, is not only good enough but it's what your world needs and is waiting for. So go to it. Your lane and this life is empty without you being you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Assume the Position

There’s a sinking feeling you get when you realise you’re in the wrong place or maybe the right place but events have changed without warning. Suddenly you find yourself caught in unfamiliar territory. Do you make a run for it and hope no one sees you leave or do you stick around and check it out?

Rushing into what I thought was a pilates class recently, it took only thirty seconds to figure out, the next hour was going to be a whole new experience. Never before had I willingly been contorted into various shapes (most commonly, a pretzel), all in the name of exercise. Oh yes, I was about to encounter a whole new world of pain.

Body Balance is a mix of Tai Chi, yoga and pilates. Having never attended the Tuesday night pilates class I thought I was getting a fairly standard class, but on the night in question The Great Switch-a-Roo took place and a substitute instructor stepped in – a Body Balance instructor. I was none the wiser until I’d set up my mat and found myself up to my armpits in my ankles! I could’ve bolted for the door but this is the year of new opportunities and new experiences so I decided to stick around and check it out. By the way, you’ll never feel comfortable outside your ‘comfort zone’ if you don’t stay out there long enough for it to become the new ‘normal’. Scary but true.

Assume the Position
From the moment we had to bend down, touch the floor then step our right foot between our hands, I knew I was in trouble. My foot couldn’t reach that far. I was terrified that ripping sensation, may not have been my lycra pants! Ouch! To top it off the instructor had a wickedly dry sense of humour. We’re talking sawdust here folks. Maybe I wasn’t really in a position to appreciate her dry wit, possibly because the position I was in, replicated a reef knot! Did I mention every single position had an ‘ouch’ factor of about a billion? I’m beginning to despise flexible people.

The Funny Side
With every impossible position, I giggled. Only on the inside, but still I giggled. Me and my great ideas! The funny side was definitely shining through. Perspective is key. Next, I identified it was structurally unsound for my right arm to thread under my bent over body to grab the outside of my stretched out left leg. Being expected to hold that position (without a face-plant into the mat) until the end of the song, was not my idea of enjoyment either. I’m sure they use the same methods to extract vital information from spies who carry out covert operations, not unsuspecting mothers who were simply escaping from the real world for an hour of solitude. (Note to self: next time just go to the library.)
“FYI,” said the instructor, beaming with her yoga glow, “this is the theme song from Avatar.” Good to know but can we resume an upright position before all the blood in my body drains to my head and I pass out in the Unconscious position?
After multiple repetitions of Downward-Facing Dog, Intense Pose, the Warrior Pose, a ridiculous Balancing Dancer’s Pose, the Triangle Pose and a Twinkling Star Pose, I wasn’t sure if I was in a serious exercise class or the children’s crèche! More giggling – on the inside. (No offense to yoga-enthusiasts. Of course yoga is serious and highly effective. I just act immature when it comes to things I didn’t sign up for but are ‘fortunate’ to get anyway. Please read on...) Striking all these poses and gazing at my feet for lengthy periods made one thing very evident – I was in desperate need of a pedicure.

In the Dark
The last ten minutes were announced as a rest period and reward. Cool face washers were served and the lights turned off. More giggling. I couldn't see anyone. For eight minutes – silence, which gave me ample time to mentally write my shopping list, prioritise my impending emails and plan tomorrow night’s dinner. When the lights came on, I was relieved to see everyone was still there. I hoped they’d used their quiet time as effectively as I had.

“I’m back again next week,” announced the instructor. Thanks for the head’s up. I think one girl burst into tears. Glancing around the room, it was hard to gauge the effects the modified class had on the other participants. Poker faces were well intact. Will they return next week for more spine-twisting positions? For me, two questions remained: 1. What on earth did I just do to my body? And 2. As a result of (1) will I be able to walk tomorrow?

Reap the Benefits
The benefits of varied kinds of exercise keeps it interesting. The benefits of attempting something new increases your skill set. Besides, you never know when you may be called upon to strike an Intense Pose at the office or a Downward-Facing Dog at the supermarket checkout. Being highly adaptable and developing the ability to keep a great attitude in a changing or new environment may just sky-rocket you to the front of the line for the next promotion or dream job offer. What can look like a blunder can actually position you perfectly for your next big move if you’ll keep your cool, keep a good attitude and keep on believing. Salutations.

©2010 Philippa Vette

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Short Story - No Ordinary Day

In case you missed it the first time, click on it on the sidebar.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy. Can you pick the ending..?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To Succeed or Not to Succeed

SUCCESS - the favourable or prosperous outcome of attempts or endeavours.
- Online Dictionary

It always amazes me how some people think they're going to have mega success but don't have a plan of how they're going to make it a reality. Initially, we start with an idea. That's the easy part. Over time we're supposed to take that idea and begin to cultivate it by sharpening our skills and talents, drawing from our experience to build relationships and systems to support and grow that initial idea. This takes time.
We have so much at our fingertips now (literally) but some things still take time. With patience and perseverance, our idea - our dream, grows and matures just as we do. Don't be tempted to rush ahead or that sound you hear up ahead may very well be your world and your hard work, crashing to an end!
So, write a plan, be prepared to modify it and make adjustments along the way. Stick to it. Seek wise counsel and enlist the support of trusted friends and family and gradually, you'll build something worthwhile that will benefit even generations to come.
PS. Sorry about the layout of this post. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't change the line spacing between paragraphs. Hope it didn't distract from the message. :-)
(C) 2010 Philippa Vette

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Secret to Happiness

HAPPINESS - Characterized by good luck; fortunate, enjoyment, marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy. Cheerful, willing.
-Online Dictionary

According to this online dictionary definition of happiness, who wouldn't want happiness for themselves, loved ones and to wish happiness for others? Happiness is fun. It's infectious. Did you know when people are surveyed and asked what they most want out of life and want for their loved ones, they say, happiness?

Did you also know that your perspective largely affects your happiness, not necessarily your circumstances? How you perceive difficult situations affects more than your moods, it can dictate your decisions also. Decisions made in haste or under emotional stress may be costly later. Chill.

Be Grateful

Those who have a grateful attitude generate a contentment of the soul. Even if your circumstances are not ideal, (or perfect - which, incidentally will never happen) if you hold the right perspective, you'll also know that what you face today is only temporary - you're just passing through. Your best days are still ahead of you.

So keep a healthy perspective. Map out some ideas for where you believe your true north is and take steps each week in that direction and before long happiness will be a genuine part of your life.

(C) 2010 Philippa Vette

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Short Story - No Ordinary Day

“Opportunities like this don’t come along every day,” Darren Williams reminded himself, straightening his tie in front of his hotel mirror. He ran his fingers through his hair. An edgy rush of tension surged through his body. Calm down.

One last time Darren flicked through his proposal. Four years of heart and soul for sale, on a few simple white pages. He thought of his wife, Alana back home in Australia and the sacrifices they’d both made. Images of his two young daughters danced across the landscape of his mind. He remembered their hugs and savoured the memory of their wet kisses on his cheeks. Darren checked his watch, it was time to go. No turning back. He was ready to make his mark on the world.

At eight fourteen exactly Darren stepped into the busy city street. He didn’t notice the doorman wish him a good day or the slight crisp breeze brush against his face. All his senses were fully arrested and attuned like a jungle sniper. He was set to make a fortune.

On the ninety-second floor Darren was ushered into Globecom’s crowded boardroom. Executives in darks suits hushed as the fresh-faced Brisbane boy began his pitch. Despite feeling light years out of his comfort zone, the first eight minutes flowed effortlessly. As Darren paused to sip from his water glass, a sound drew his attention in another direction.

At the far end of the room Darren’s eyes became fixed on the wall clock. With each tick it became louder. Soon, every deafening stroke reverberated through his body. Is this a joke? he thought, looking around but no one else seemed to notice. 8.40am Focus.

Darren scanned his proposal searching for his next point only to discover the words looked encrypted. He blinked and it set off a slide show of images of his family - weeping. Something had to be wrong at home. His stomach churned, his head, now completely held hostage by a plague of fearful thoughts, left Darren only one option. Stuffing his proposal into his briefcase he excused himself and left before he could change his mind.
Moments later, Darren stepped out into the autumn sunshine. Dialing home, his breath lay imprisoned in his chest aching to escape as he nervously awaited a reply.
“Lanie, are you okay? Are the girls okay?”
“We’re fine. The girls are sound asleep. Darren, it’s the middle of the night here, what’s wrong?” Deep regret blind-sided Darren’s senses as the realization dawned that they were safe but he’d just cost them everything.
“Argh! I blew it.”
“Hey, don’t worry, there’ll be….”
“Don’t say that!" he snapped. "Everything was riding on this meeting. This was our dream, our future Alana.”
“No Darren, you and me - our family, that’s our future.” She was right. More than ever he just wanted to go home.
Darren walked a block to clear his head. All around, the crowded pavements bustled with people hurrying to get to work on time. It seemed almost comical that their day was just beginning and his was already over and it wasn’t even nine o’clock.

Without warning, a sound like a freight train careening out of control amplified through the air. BOOM! An explosion rocked the atmosphere. Shaken, Darren craned his neck to examine the skyline. Flames violently engulfed the office building where just minutes earlier he stood pitching his proposal. Suddenly it was clear; this was no ordinary day and it was one Darren Williams would never forget – Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

© 2010 Philippa Vette

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Have and To Hold

Yesterday morning as I waited for my husband (Mr Practical) to open his eyes, I had just two little words and one big wish. “Happy Anniversary,” I whispered. And then I waited… “What? Is it the 5th?” I nodded and smiled. I passed him a card and Calvin Klein cologne - he was silent. Yes, he’d forgotten. I’d waited eighteen years for this moment and finally I’d got my wish.

The year was 1992 and I was on my way to his workplace to pick up our car then take the short drive to our home in Wellington, New Zealand for a blissful sleep in a very quite house after a harrowing twelve hour night shift. He passed me the keys, kissed me hello, asked how my night was and I was soon on my way. It wasn’t until I climbed into bed, my entire body aching from exhaustion that I noticed a card on my pillow. Is it the 5th? I remembered thinking. Too late.

Since then, at prime opportunities such as dinner parties and special occasions, very strategically, Mr P has brought it up. It doesn’t seem to matter about the background story and why I forgot. Until now.

Now we are even. Never again can he even begin to mention my misdemeanour of 1992 or he will get slammed with the ‘very recent and no decent excuse’ misdemeanour of 2010.

Now all that is required, is a card (or letter) filled with descriptive accounts of his undying love and devotion, a present that makes me feel loved (name your price) and a date that is planned, booked and executed with flair, romance and a signed pledge to do the housework.

All in all, it’s the simple things that are most enjoyable; finally being let off the hook and getting even, rank right at the top!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Feeling Good

Don't you just love that feeling when you get good news? There's a spring in your step, your whole vibe is electric and you want to fist-bump total strangers .

Good news can have that affect. Everything else going on around you, vying for your attention suddenly fades into insignificance. Your good news takes centre stage and your whole life shifts up a gear.

So if you're feeling a bit flat, here are some suggestions for sparking that feel-good feeling:

- try something new like dancing, Zumba, learn to play an instrument or painting.

- plan a trip from you Bucket List - write your Bucket List.

- help someone else out - yep, if you keep a good attitude, it's the warm and fuzzies all over.

- exercise (groan - you say?) Get up and move that body and let the endorphins kick in. Falling in love feeling x mild natural sedative = N-I-C-E.

So come on, the weekend's nearly here. Why not do something to light up your corner of the world and have a little (or a whole lot) of fun? As the saying goes: Laughter is good medicine.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chill Out Time

There are days for bringing home the bacon
and then there are days for going fishing...
or hiking or biking or reading a book.
Relish the time when the most pressing issue is
planning what to have for dinner.

- Donna Hay, food goddess