Friday, April 27, 2012

Pushing the boundaries

It's funny how things happen.  As I finished writing my last post, after having the epiphany by the pool, I took my laptop back to the room, chucked on my swimmers and went for a swim.  Two Aussies and two Brits starting chatting and I heard them mention Byron Bay.  So I spoke up... told them I lived in the area and joined in on the conversation.... two hours later I was a total prune and completely water logged but happy to have chimed in, pushed a boundary and made some friends.

Now, we are headed out to dinner tonight - the five of us.

I'm happy as a pig in shit today.  After meeting these ladies, I headed out on my own for a look around.  One of them had told me about a gorgeous Day Spa called Spa Bali and gave me a brochure.  So, I walked around the streets of Seminyak and eventually stumbled across the place.  I've booked in for a 2 hour treatment - which includes a full body massage, a scrub and a flower bath.  Can't wait!

On my way back, I realised I hadn't had lunch and I happened across a vegetarian cafe (Zulu - on JL Camplung Tanduk) that served healthy, mostly raw foods.  Delish, cheap and super friendly.  If I hadn't given myself a rule that I wasn't to eat in the same place twice (I'm a creature of habit and would eat all three meals in the safety of the hotel compound otherwise) I'd be back there again tomorrow!  Comes HIGHLY recommended - from me anyway.

Learning so much about myself already... and I haven't even arrived at the retreat yet.

Loving live... loving Bali... and loving myself right now.

All is good in the hood.

Get dressed for success

Another post from the plane seat - certainly not complaining... flying is a privilege that many don’t ever get the opportunity to experience.  And as Cimone-Louise would say ‘does it get any better than this’.  Having said that flying Virgin these days tends to provide none of the privileges that were once attributed with flying (ie. watching new movies of your choosing, or even just a little cartoon plane traveling across a map, average meals and free drinks), these days saver fares have left me with nothing left to do but to sit and think... or, in this case, write and think.
Sure I have the distractions of iPad games and a mag or two to keep my occupied, but these things struggle to keep my attention for too long, so a great deal of the time I’ve sat still and thought.  
It’s been a blessing... and has given me quite a few insights.  One of which I’ll share now.  
For quite some time I searched desperately for my ‘purpose’.  I felt some kind of sense of entitlement... that this life was mine and I had been put here to do something huge.  It plagued me daily.  So I headed off on a soul search.
I believed I was destined for greatness... and I guess I perceived that as fame and fortune. I mean, it had to be something kind of Oprah big... so much pressure I’d placed on myself.  Hard to live up to an expectation of that level of success.  Own. Worst. Enemy.
Somehow, I knew inside that my purpose came from doing things that made me happy.  I felt the two were intrinsically linked.  So I looked externally for the answers.  I also looked internally... but it was difficult when I felt so disconnected from myself.  I didn’t know what made me happy - hell, at times I couldn’t even recognise what happiness was.  Without recognising happiness, it was really difficult to figure out what made me feel it.
In my garage, packed in one of the many boxes, I found an old school journal from around age 10.  Here, in this totally 80‘s contact covered exercise book, I would find the answers I had searched so far and wide for.

And, there, I did find it... only, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.  ‘I love dancing, singing and writing, but I don’t think anyone else thinks I’m good, so I don’t do them in front of anyone’.  It was like being hit in the face with a 4x4.  
My entire life I’ve been basing my success on what other people thought of me.  I’ve held their opinion in much higher esteem than my own.  And I’ve held myself back, time and time again, for fear of being judged... for fear of not being the best.  
Wow!  What would happen if I wasn’t the best at everything?  What would happen if I were wrong about something?  What would happen if I opened myself up to others scrutiny?  
Then I realised, I do these things... when I write.  My life is practically an open book.  I’m honest and I write from the heart.  Whilst I might hold back on the dance floor until I’m shitfaced... or sing full pelt only when I’m by myself in the car (or with Micko) but when I write I put it all out there for public scrutiny.   Now, I’m probably not the best writer in the world, but in this circumstance it doesn’t matter.  I don’t write for everyone else, I write for me.  I write because it’s an outlet... and it’s the one thing I did, even through the very depths of depression...  I write because I love to write.  I write because it makes me happy.
Ah-ha moment (Oprah pun intended).
Success is subjective.  These days, for me, it’s living a life aligned with my values.  It’s being true to myself.  It’s pushing through the boundaries and beliefs that hold me back.  It’s being vulnerable, kind and considerate and it’s living a life filled with integrity, love and joy.  It’s having the courage to do the things you love... being who you are... and being happy with that.  It’s living in the moment, content with what you have and knowing, even if nothing else was to change, that it’s enough.
And right now, in this moment, it is.


All by myself...

So, I’m on the plane on my way to Bali for Krista Jane’s Boom Boom Pow retreat.  To say I’m a little nervous is an understatement. And it’s probably not for the reasons one would assume.  In fact, it’s nothing to do with the retreat at all.  I’m not anxious about what I’ll discover about my self or being introduced to new people or Bali belly or being mugged or trying new things, but for something most people would consider blissful.  I’m flying in by myself and spending two days on my own...
I’ve never been a fan of my own company - something I’ve certainly been working on over the past 3 years.  I didn’t like my own company because I didn’t really like me very much.  Being alone was something that scared the shit out of me. What would I do?  Would I go crazy hearing my thoughts go round and round and round?  What would happen to me without the distraction of others?  How could I do things on my own?  And why would I do them just to please myself anyway? It always seems more fun and less scary when there is someone else around.
I’ve always been envious of those people who go on a holiday and within 5 minutes they’ve made a bunch of new friends - who they are inviting out to dinner or drinks.  This has never been me. In fact, I’m very rarely on the receiving end of these people either.  Sometimes I think I’m invisible if I’m on my own.  Even as a child I’d stay in caravan parks, see all the kids running around together and wish they would come ask me to play.  I’d plan how to make an in with the crowd, but never act upon it.  People often mistake this shyness for snobbiness... but it’s rarely the case.
I’m a people person... but I’m also a ‘familiar people’ person.  I like being around people and once I’m introduced to someone I’m fine, but I have a real fear of approaching and striking up a convo - I could probably count the amount of times I’ve done it on one hand (perhaps even one finger).  People who know me find this quite unbelievable.  They might not even realise I leave the stranger approaching up to them.  
I’m outwardly confident and quite outgoing so they would probably never guess that even the sheer thought of initiating contact with a stranger makes me quiver with fear.  Even more so if I’m on my own. Then, it’s a total no-go zone.  What if they look at me blankly?  What if they think I’m an idiot (this was a big one during depression)?  What if they don’t like me?   Sometimes, it’s not about what it’s about.  In this case, I guess it’s about an innate fear of rejection.  By not taking a risk, I’m safe, I’ve nothing to lose...  But I also have nothing to gain. 
However, if there is one lesson I’ve learnt through my journey it’s that through vulnerabilty comes great strength and growth.  When you push a boundary, it moves... sometimes even breaking apart on impact.  So this time I ask myself do I want to be free of this fear?  Do I want to be comfortable approaching people?  Do I want to enjoy my own company?  Of which, the answer is a resounding YES!
So how badly do I want this?  Is the pay off worth spending a couple of days by myself?  Is it worth approaching people and saying ‘g’day’?  Perhaps these are the questions you need to be asking yourself - probably not these exact questions, but questions related to your fears, concerns or insecurities.  
Instead of asking what is the worst that can happen (I’m opening myself up to possibly a little rejection... which we inevitably cop in all aspects of our lives, so why focus so much energy and attention on this) I should be asking myself ‘What is the best that can happen?’  In this case, I make some new friends, have some new adventures... but most importantly, I push that boundary a little further away... and by doing so, I make a little room around myself to let good things in.  I break a link on the chain that holds me back.
So this is where the captain announced we'd be landing and to turn off electrical devices.  This morning, by the pool, I've been getting this ready to publish when in this very moment I've had a complete epiphany... All this time I've been looking for external confirmation of my level of coolness.  I've been judging how likeable I am on how many people like me.  When that's not what any of this is about.  It's not about being in the cool gang on holidays... it's not about people coming up to speak to me because I'm approachable (or not) and it's not even about me getting the guts up to approach someone else.  It's about me... being comfortable in my own skin.  In my own company... without that feeling of loneliness or sense of lacking.  It's about enjoying MY OWN company... and not feeling weird about that.
So now, this trip has a different meaning... a different agenda.  I'm not feeling the pressure to get out there and do all the things I'd do if I were with people.  It's about doing things that I love.  Sitting by the pool writing.  Walking the streets observing the people and the surroundings.  Swimming... meditating... relaxing.  Sitting in a nice cafe trying new foods, sipping on a Bintang, watching the passers by and scribbling in my notebook.  Getting a pedi and a massage.  
These next couple of days are all about me.  And I'm now feeling really good about that!

The Resurrection

It's been a long time between drinks, my friends.  A loooooooong time.

Right now, I'm kicking back by the pool at a resort in Seminyak, Bali.  It's been a crazy, more than, a few months since I was last here.  So much has happened... but I'll save that for another time.

I'm back because I've realised how much of an outlet writing is... and just how much I enjoy it.  So, I've decided to make my comeback here.  I'm still writing from time to time on Think Beautiful... but I only post there once a week and I don't want to turn it into 'my blog' - it's for the contributors and the readers... not so much for my indulgence.

So, I gladly present the return of the once glorious Karlosophies.  I'll be using this space over the next week or so to journal my Bali trip and to release any thoughts, insecurities or realisations.

It's funny... As soon as I sat on the plane the words starting flowing, so I pulled out my laptop and started typing.   The next few posts are the result.

Enjoy xx


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