Tag Archives: happiness

Reflections from Bali – Part II

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Bali has always held a special place in my heart.  It was the place where I took my first overseas trip with my family at the age of 17.  I had studied Bahasa Indonesian at High School and it was so close to Australia that it seemed like the obvious choice for our last family holiday before I left the nest and moved to the ‘big smoke’, (Melbourne), from the sheltered safety of my childhood in a small country town on the coast in Victoria.  I fell in love with it the moment I stepped off the plane and suffice to say that love affair has continued now for almost 25 years.  It was the first place my husband and I traveled to together and then continued to visit as often as we could.

In 2008 we sailed from Australia in our 44ft cruising Catamaran, Makani Kai, stopping for a few weeks in our second home before traveling through South East Asia for nearly 3 years.  On our slow cruise home we lived on our boat in Serangan Harbour near Sanur for almost 6 months, we conceived our daughter there.  At just over 3 months pregnant and with a heavy heart, I left the Makani Kai to head home to Australia and wait while my husband battled the elements in an effort to bring the boat home before the birth of our first and only child.

Since then we have returned with our daughter to Bali every year.  She loves it and often we have to trick her into boarding the plane home as she doesn’t want to leave.  We have often discussed the idea of spending 6 months of the year there and the other 6 months here in Australia.  A dream that hopefully one day will become a reality.

This year I was worried I wasn’t going to get my Bali fix but the universe smiled upon us and made it possible.  It was a timely intervention of fate as I REALLY needed this trip.  Of course, once we had arrived and dropped our bags in our little piece of paradise I immediately fell into my old routine of trying to organise a million activities for us to do.  My husband just smiled at me and said, ‘How about we just relax and see what happens?’  What?  Relax?  I am the organiser of activities, I am always looking for the next thing to do after the next thing!  I like lists, I like itinerary’s!  And so began a holiday that took a little bit of an adjustment for me.

The first few days I felt a bit strange, I couldn’t relax, I kept thinking, ‘But we should be doing this or we should be doing that!’  I came up with a list of activities, just in case.  We fell into a routine.  My husband went for a surf while I looked after my daughter.  When he came home I would be out the door, walking like a woman with a mission but with no destination in mind.  But by about the 3rd or 4th day something changed, my body relaxed, my mind relaxed and that day when my husband came home from the surf I was lying in a bean bag chair beside the pool book in hand while my daughter splashed around happily.  He got himself organised and told me he was right if I wanted to get out and do something but I was happy where I was.  I was happy, I didn’t need to go and do anything.  There was no knot in my stomach telling me I needed to go and do something.  I was, dare I say it, completely and utterly relaxed!

I spent my days eating, swimming, reading, having spa treatments, playing with my daughter and talking with my husband about our plans for the future.  We did small activities as we found them instead of me dragging us around for entire days from one spot to the other.  I took my daughter to an art class, I browsed the shops taking my time which meant I stumbled across a lovely little book store where I was able to purchase a beautiful book written by a local writer as well as picking up a unique doll created to help support Bali street kids.

I did however end up organising two day trips during our stay.  One to Ubud where we showed our daughter some monkeys and I browsed the art shops settling on a beautiful painting to take home and the other to East Bali with the end destination being Tirta Gangga.  But the pace and flow of these trips were far different to how I had experienced before.  I have a tendency to choose a destination and we rush to it.  This time we cruised along the coast road, stopping at places that looked interesting, checking out other places we might stay in the future, stopping at small restaurants for sustenance and chatting lazily with the locals.

So what is the moral of this story?  Well, this is what I gained from this trip.  Life is too short to rush through it without seeing anything.  We need to slow down, look around us and spend time with people who matter to us.  Taking the time to breathe is important and at the end of the day, when I am taking my last one I won’t be thinking, ‘Gee I’m glad we saw all those things that I don’t remember the name of for 5 minutes!’ but I will be thinking, ‘I’m so glad I spent so much time enjoying the company of my little family.’  So while I do look to the future, I’m not in that much of a hurry to get there, I know I will get there eventually and in the meantime I’m just going to enjoy the hell out of the ride!

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REFLECTIONS FROM BALI – PART 1

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I’ve been suffering from terrible writers block.  I haven’t been able to write for months.  Too tired, too busy, a multitude of reasons have sprung to my lips in a weird, swaying procrastination dance to avoid putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  In truth I was blank, creativity had stalled, inspiration had deserted me.  The days became a monotonous grind, my own personal imprint of groundhog day.  I could feel myself slipping into the arms of my old foe depression.  What happened to the good thoughts?  The happy ones?  The living in the now?  Don’t get me wrong, there were flashes of happiness, even days of happiness.  I mean, why wouldn’t I be happy?  I have a wonderful life, a gorgeous and supportive husband, a delightful and happy little girl but still I began to sink…

We needed to get away, a holiday, a break from routine.  Our first choice of destination was local, Byron Bay but the weather forecast showed low temperatures and stormy weather not exactly the kind of trip to bring me out of my melancholy, especially as the weather mirrored my mood.  Then one word popped into my head…BALI!  A magical place that never fails to soothe, refresh and relax me.  Not the Bali that involves the fast paced drunken nightclub scene of Kuta or the upmarket, just like home feel of Seminyak and Legian with their fancy restaurants but a quiet private villa in a quiet street that houses locals and expats.  Where local taxi’s need directions to find it and a short walk will get you to the local end of the beach and some small warungs with simple but delicious food.  Within a week of that word popping into my head, my little family and I were disembarking from a delightful Garuda flight from Brisbane.  Our nostrils assaulted by the heady aroma of heat, clove cigarettes and incense that is the scent of Bali.

As we crossed the tarmac to the waiting buses I realised what had happened… I had forgotten to be vigilant, to watch my thoughts.  Happiness is not something that comes naturally to everyone.  We need to remind ourselves to live in the now, to pull ourselves out of negative thinking and to embrace a happiness we can find deep within our souls that has nothing to do with outside influences and material things.  There is a book I carry around with me called Zen and the Art of Happiness.  It starts with this:

There is only one way to achieve lasting happiness.  That way is simple: Be happy.

Sounds easy right?  Not for everyone, being happy 100% of the time is rare.

But I would like to be happier.

So with this in mind I jump on the bus, hold my daughter tight, smile at my husband and look forward to regaining my momentum.  Happiness here I come.

A LITTLE LOVE STORY…

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What is it about a wedding that inspires?  I think it’s witnessing a      beginning.  Two like-minded souls coming together and promising, in front of those that are most important to them, to love each other for the rest of their lives.  Sure… it doesn’t always work out but in THAT moment, on THAT day, there is love, there is happiness, there is         perfection.

I was privileged to witness this moment at my little sisters wedding on the weekend in a chilly but warm with happiness setting in a small coastal town a couple of hours south of Melbourne.  My sister has had a lot of ups and downs in her life, she has had many obstacles thrown in her path but she has overcome them.  She has raised 2 teenage boys as a single Mum.  The man who has come into her life has made her happier than I have ever seen her in her 36 years.  He is sweet, kind, caring, a little gullible but a happy addition to our family.  My little sis, prone to sarcasm, made a heartwarming and seriously funny speech.  She spoke of their meeting (she had known him at school, he didn’t remember her!  Not a good start!), their texting (he was missing a front tooth, she was unsure), their first date (he had his tooth fixed and seemed nice!) and their subsequent falling in love.  There was laughter, tears and elation as they concluded by                         announcing they are expecting a new addition to their family by Christmas.  They gave us a sneak peek into their happiness, they let us bask in the glow of their contentment and as the happy tears rolled I let it envelop me like a warm hug.

It made me reminisce about the beginning of my marriage.  I held my husband and daughter a little tighter.  My heart burst with the        happiness of my life, how lucky I am and I felt myself appreciate the now.  How far we’ve come, how much we’ve experienced, a future that seemed instantly brighter!

‘One day, in your search for happiness, you discover a partner by your side, and you realise that your happiness has come to help you search’ – Robert Brault

How very lucky we are.  Congratulations Briony and Ben, I wish you many fun-filled and happy years together.  Live well.  Laugh often.  Love much.  J xx

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TODAY I SMILED…

…because I made a decision, hopefully a life changing one.  I decided to give myself a well deserved kick in the backside to make some much needed changes.  To stop making my life about what other people want or expect of me, to start making my life about what I need to nourish my mind, body and soul and to share my passions with like minded people!  The 1st day of June (and of winter), seemed like a good time to start!  No need to rush into anything, I’d only been thinking about it since I turned 40 and that was not quite a year ago!  But the decision to make changes sits well with me.  I feel calm.  I feel ready for where my path will take me, with who I may meet along the way, who may share the journey with me.

This is my journey to find happiness and contentment in the ‘now’, to remove any negative aspects from my life and to take a healthier approach to food.  The way I buy it, the way I prepare it and the way I share it with my family.

Join me as I step into the light of a healthy lifestyle change… maybe we can help each other.