New York City
I was just 19 years old when I was told to leave home. It was unplanned and painful.
I was a “young” 19 year old. I was not wise to the world.
I stayed with my best friend’s family for a while until her mother organised a safe place for me to stay.
This was my first experience of living in community with people to whom I was not related.
I was lucky.
This community enhanced my growth and fulfillment. I had to learn and abide by the community expectations. I had fun with less financial struggle than what could have been. I had less status and stuff but I was happy and I was safe.
Research published in a recent Wall Street article describes loneliness as closely linked to mortality as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day or consuming more than 6 alcoholic drinks a day. Loneliness impacts longevity greater than obesity or physical inactivity.
This article is worth a read. You can find it here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-loneliest-generation-americans-more-than-ever-are-aging-alone-11544541134
LONELINESS AND AGEING
My grandfather refused to move into aged care. He was passionate about that.
Pop talked about renting out a room in his home so that he had some help and some company. He saw that this model of living would support him as he aged but also support other people who did not want to be alone.
It was an interesting idea. The trick would be to make sure you had the right mix of people and have clear guidelines and processes about expectations and how to resolve issues. This is not an impossible task.
My AGED CARE EXPERIENCE
I was just 21 years when I completed my University education and became a Registered Nurse. I had accepted a post-graduate position in Central Australia but worked casually around Sydney until the position started in the January (Too many years ago!).
One of the most challenging responsibilities was as the senior staff member in an aged care home. This was pre-accreditation days and it was horrific for a young casual nurse who was in charge a large number of staff and clients. Our Aged Care system has made significant improvements since those days. It had to.
I have now worked in the aged care setting across Australia and in the UK. I have been involved with education and leadership in care. I have completed a master’s degree in Education with the research component examining adult learning, aged care educators and the aged care sector.
I am not sure we have the system right.
Loneliness still occurs in Aged Care Facilities.
CO-HOUSING in the USA
On our recent visit to the USA my Project Manager and myself stayed in co-housing apartments where shared common spaces with long term and short term tenants. It was an interesting mix of people and of places.
Some places had private kitchen and bathroom facilities – and some did not!
It was a little uncomfortable at times but we relaxed into it.
We met so many people who were living, working or travelling. We learnt so much from these people. We laughed so much with these other people.
We were different. There were no other middle aged (I want to write ageless goddess but I am not sure you would understand that!) Australian white women in our accommodation. We made friends with people in the halls, the laundry, the bathrooms.
The permanent residents seemed to enjoy the new faces. They were open and welcoming to us as we explored their hometown. Most of the people we encountered who lived permanently were older, and some were disabled.
It was not comfortable all the time. The accommodation in San Francisco left us feeling a little on edge when other tenants came down to look in our apartment when we left the door open. Yes, I know – lesson learnt!
We travelled to Rochester to meet with a member of the Co-housing team there. This team had spent seven years planning their community but has not pursued it. There had been a number of factors that had prevented this site from being created.
The lesson here is that it doesn’t always work. It is not an easy option.
The most reliable wealth is found in relationship. (Courtney E. Martin)
Courtney Martin is an American journalist. In her book The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream (2016 – Seal Press)Courtney talks about how people are redefining the American Dream. This concept is not just American. It is happening all over the world.
Courtney talks about the new, redefined dream as having more fulfillment, community and fun with less debt, status and stuff. She talks of her experiences of living in a cohousing community.
She has given a TED talk which I highly recommend. It is entitled “The New American Dream”.
WE HAVE CHANGED
Co-housing is an opportunity to define a new approach to work and family that emphasizes community and creativity. As Courtney Martin says "The biggest danger is not failing to achieve the American (or Australian) Dream - …. (It) is achieving a dream that you don't actually believe in."
Last year I had a student who gifted me a red envelope and gold bookmark. She said it would bring good luck and prosperity. This awesome gift was received for a job I get paid to do and absolutely love. I was - and continue to be grateful for the lessons I am dealt.
My luck has continued. I have planned, looked for and created more of it.
This year my best friend from high school and I decided to travel to America! It has been a wonderful trip. There have so many memories created and times that have created unplanned opportunities – you know those!
So, we booked a bus tour to Niagara Falls. The falls were defrosting after being frozen – and the tour was a Chinese one (and I do not speak Chinee!)
Then, we realised that we would be on a Chinese tour - with Chinese people on Chinese New Year – surely this is auspicious!
So, the point of this post is to remind you (and me) of the opportunities (and LUCK) that this year will bring. Get prepared people!
The Chinese New Year is an opportunity to celebrate new year again
Now is the perfect time to re-adjust the January New Year resolutions or business plans. It is an opportunity to plan to pivot and change.
PLAN TO CHANGE
We had to TRUST that this tour will be fun and informative.
It was an opportunity for me to EXPLORE a work related project with experts in Rochester.
We BELIEVED that “things” were falling into place, as I KNOW that things always work out.
Handling adversity when you are out of your comfort zone (like travelling in foreign countries) is important. Handling adversity effectively means stepping back and taking emotion out of the situation. Learning to trust that the situation will turn out and there will valuable lessons to learn may feel uncomfortable. Handling adversity means that you must accept that it might just be different. Sometimes all the care and planning does not ensure everything will be how we think it should be – and that is OK!
SOME CHANGE CONSIDERATIONS
CHANGE CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Know that uncomfortable is normal. This is what traps people into never moving on. Uncomfortable is manageable – it can also be enjoyable. Be brave and move through this discomfort.
BE TRUE TO YOUas you set intentions that make you excited.
This is a lesson I lost in my modern world. Being blessed with the opportunity to travel and meet people makes me realise that other worlds have lessons to learn.
Years ago, I travelled through Egypt. I was lucky to witness the Light Show at the Pyramids of Giza. It was spectacular. After the show I met a tourist policeman. His job was to make sure tourists were looked after. He was a happy and proud man.
The tourist policeman taught me to live and love in the moment. No – not what you are thinking … It is about gratitude and authenticity. He was practicing his English and was excited to talk with people from other countries. He invited us back to his house, promptly woke up his wife and children and entertained us for the evening. He was kind and generous and created a memory that has lasted forever.
My lesson here was to be kind, generous, authentic and grateful for what you have. This makes life better and allows you to dream bigger. My lesson was to not let life limit you – but be brave enough to let it expand you – let life make your world bigger.
You are imperfect and that is OK – because we are all imperfect. IMPERFECTLY PERFECT (Thank you Brene Brownfor that lesson).
So with the new moon and the Chinese New Year, take the opportunity to review where you are up to.
I wish you great happiness and prosperity. 2019 is the Year of the Pig. Pigs are a symbol of wealth and prosperity. The Chinese New Year is a time to cultivate luck and extend wishes of prosperity for the year ahead.
SENDING WISHES and BLESSINGS FOR GOOD FORTUNE IN YOUR LIFE – PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL.
End of Year Madness
Is it the moon?? Or have we all gone mad?
This time of year is busy – busy for business, busy for community, busy for people. I am sure it does not matter what religious or spiritual practices a person pledges, this is just a busy time of year. And sometimes we get caught up in the madness that we forget to acknowledge the journey we have been on. We forget how strong we truly are and what we have achieved. So now is the time to celebrate the year that has gone to allow purposeful planning for the year ahead.
“Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is rigid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” Lao Tzu
Before we can move forward, we need to look back.
How has 2018 been you? For your business? What have you achieved? What have you enjoyed? Pat yourself on the back and acknowledge the lessons and the learnings.
Write them down. It is time to be your own cheer squad. It is time to remember what you and your team has achieved both in business and in life. Make a list of eleven of your best achievements of 2018. Then write down how you have celebrated these successes – or how you plan on celebrating. Don’t be shy, be outstanding. Sing your own praises. AND SHARE THEM! Tell us what you have achieved!
The celebration – what you did/ are going to do to celebrate
This is a very important part of the planning process. It is essential to identify the success that has already been achieved before planning to up the impact. It is also important to remember that people run businesses so celebrate the people. Celebrate the you.
This is not a new practice. The “Christmas Bonus” or “Christmas Party” has been a way for businesses to celebrate the achievements of the business with the workers and the community who has support its success.
This celebration cements a culture of success.
The foundation is now laid. You are an achiever. You are now free to work with the celebration of success to inspire plans for 2019. After the celebration of success is the time to plan further fantastic goals and dreams.
Now is the time to get creative.
The audit is done.
The list of achievements is complete. So, where to from here?
How can you build on from 2018? What can you do better? What are the lessons? What did not work and needs to be retired? What needs to be repeated? What can you do differently to increase value?
Dream big – have an over-arching big, bold, brash goal. Be audacious, be creative.
Start from the top, and then work down. How can this big, bold, brash goal be broken down into workable steps? What will you see as you are on the path to your success? What is the timeline? How are you going to look after the person / the people / the you to make sure the team is flourishing and not floundering? Have you thought about self-care?
I have another chart for you…
2019 success planning
2019 GOAL: Steps celebration
FIRST QUARTER goals (SELF CARE)
FIRST QUARTER goals x4
FIRST QUARTER goals x4
FIRST QUARTER goals x4
Mission and Vision
With all this reflecting, it is important to revisit your purpose for doing what you are doing. Do your mission and you vision still align with the challenges and changes of 2018?
Be clear on why you do what you do and have a vision of where you will be.
Does your mission and your vision speak to the people you serve? Is it clear? Does it speak to you?
I wish you love , health, wealth and happiness for 2019. Celebrate your wins, your lessons and learnings. Celebration and self-care are important aspects of achieving your goals.
At the end of a race, we celebrate.
It is important way to acknowledge the time and effort you have invested. It also helps measure what has worked and what needs to be improved.
This lays a firm foundation to build success into 2019.
CELEBRATE, and then create.
PHOTO CREDIT: Me - Queenstown, New Zealand
I have been thinking about thinking!
I am not going mad during this “silly season” – thinking about thinking is actually a thing!
So, let me ask you – what is your thinking like? Are you a naively optimistic type person or are you a doom and gloomier? Or, maybe somewhere in between?
According to a quick google – “thinking” can be a noun (a name word) or an adjective (a describing word).
As a noun, thinking is “the process of considering or reasoning about something.” For example, “the team has some thinking to do before the match".
As anadjective,thinking is“using thought or rational judgement; intelligent”.
For example, "She is a thinking woman".
Words that have a similar meaning are called synonyms. Synonyms for “thinking” could include intelligent, sensible, reasonable, rational, and reasoning.
Therefore, thinking about your thinking is a rational, sensible and intelligent thing to do!
I have been working with students in a busy workplace. There are always challenges in workplaces. Time management, person centred focus (customer focus), the technical knowledge specific to a particular workplace, and people. It is crucial that the student masters their thoughts.
In order to be able to succeed in stressful situations, such as a new workplace, we must be able to manage executive functions such as organisation, planning to follow through on tasks. We must be able to think about how we approach the day? We must think about our thinking.
If you don’t challenge thinking, we won’t change and we won’t grow. Thinking about thinking requires us to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable we must be brave. We must be courageous.
Thinking about thinking is a powerful process. It can change the way you see the world around you. AND as Dr Wayne Dyer says, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Dr Dyer talks about Self–Defeating ThinkingHabits.
He challenges his clients to examine their own thinking. Here is an example.
Let’s say I am working with you and I can get you to examine the idea or question – what would your life look like if you couldn’t think that thought? Everyone has the same conclusion. When I have really pushed them to the limit with that question, the answer is I would be free. I would be free. Perhaps for the first time. I would be free. And being free… what could be any better than that?
This is called “METACOGNITION”. Metacognition is an awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes.
Google says that Metacognition is "cognition about cognition", "thinking about thinking", "knowing about knowing", becoming "aware of one's awareness" and higher-order thinking skills. The term comes from the root word meta, meaning "beyond".
Metacognitive knowledge can be broken down into three categories:
Those of us who can demonstrate a wide variety of metacognitive skills usually perform better on exams and complete work more efficiently. Metacognitive skills enable us to use the right tool for the job and modify learning strategies as needed. Metacognition helps identify blocks to learning and empower us to change tools or strategies to ensure goal attainment.
Metacognition plays a critical role in successful learning. It is imperative that teachers help learners develop metacognitively.
Thinking about your thinking is a process. Basically, there are three steps.
(Fogarty, R. (1994). How to teach for metacognition. Palatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Publishing.)
WE ALL NEED TO BE OPEN TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES.
With the silly season madness and mayhem around the corner (or maybe it is already here!!) it is important to slow down and take a breath. THINK. Be brave enough to be vulnerable. Think about it. Be strong and grounded and think about moving forward.
“Don’t believe everything you think.” Byron Catie
My relationships are fearless. (MY AFFIRMATION FOR THIS POST).
What a busy year! 30 days until the NEW YEAR.
My business has grown, but more importantly I have grown too.
I have had to face many things about myself that I did not want to face. I have had to confront many fears – personal and professional. I have had to ask for help. I have had to keep still at times too. I have had to move through my fear. I have had to let go of my control.
I have had help though and am grateful for the fearless friends I have. THANK YOU.
here to edit.
This artwork is a composition from my talented daughter.
My children trigger me. My children, my girls, my babies are now beautiful young women. I celebrate them. I celebrate their beauty.
On a recent holiday, I was triggered. Men stop us in the street to talk with and ask for telephone numbers. Men call out from pubs to them. Men turn their heads after they have walked by. I was extremely uncomfortable. I was unprepared and felt like I have not prepared them for this part of their life.
These experiences are eye opening and superficially harmless. My jadedness has developed from conversations with family and friends upon our return.
I am still having conversations with men who suggest that women need to be mindful of the clothes they wear and the way they conduct themselves. I have heard stories of relationships that have broken down because the male partner has strayed ... but the women with whom he “strayed with” was “that type” of women so the man could not be held accountable for his actions!
I have even been lectured about the abuse that women inflict on men. YES this happens, HOWEVER the statistics are scary.
Violence against women and their children cost the Australian economy $13.6 billion. (Australian Bureau of Statistics - Defining the Data Challenge for Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence, 2013)
THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE IN OUR AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY PEOPLE!!
NOT NOW, NOT EVER!
We must be re-educated. Victim blaming is ignorant. It is wrong.
WE must accept responsibility. We must be accountable. WE must SUPPORT EACH OTHER!
A friend introduced me to Catherine Marroitt’s story. It has left me with a passion to change the way we think as a society. What is socially acceptable before is no longer.
THIS VIDEO IS A MUST WATCH for men and women alike.
Share it with your family, your friends, your colleagues. HAVE THE CONVERSATION NOW.
Am I jaded? I would say so.
I found this definition of Jaded in the urban dictionary. I resonated with it.
“A state of disillusionmentand sadness. You see through everything and have no illusions about what is true. So many negative things have happened that it becomes difficult to stay positiveabout what once gave you hope and joy. Sometimes you might think there's hope, but then more negative things happen in the aspect you are jadedin, and you become more jaded. This can be felt in many different aspects: Love, friendship, politics, trust, music, objects, etc.
Actions, people, places and things can all leave you jaded.”
I researched the etymology of the word jaded. Interestingly the word “JADED” is French, but comes from the obsolete Spanish (piedra de la) ijada. This word literally means “loin stone” ultimately from Latin ilia, plural, flanks; from the belief that jade cures renal colic. I am jaded. I am pissed off!
I have not written this to share a sob story. This is not a sob story. It is more than that. This is a sad state of affair. It is worth crying over and hanging our societal head in shame. The difference between a sob and a sob story is that with a sob story we do not change the story. With a sob, we cry and then we fight. We need to work together to build an authentic and meaningful society that is safe. We need to build fearless relationships and social change.
THERE ARE NO EXCUSES.
A few years ago, we were visiting friends on their property just out of town. My girls and I had been away for the weekend camping. We were relaxed and happy.