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Posts from the ‘Inspiration’ Category

faith or fiction

faithI was having a conversation with a friend of mine last week about her faith, or lack there of, and I was struck by how many people in my life have chosen a life devoid of faith.

Now, when I say faith I mean it in the traditional sense… a belief in God, or whoever you perceive your higher power to be and whatever name he or she takes.

I grew up under the banner of many religions… Catholic, Baptist, Mormon… and I haven’t attended church regularly since I was a child, but my faith has always been a source of comfort and guidance for me, even though I never had one denomination to call home.

People are usually surprised by my strong belief in God and Jesus, and the bible. I don’t live a particularly “Christian” life and I am certainly not condemning people around me who don’t agree with my beliefs. I support gay marriage, freedom of choice and religions that differ with my own. I drink, listen to R’n’B music (the filthier the better) and did not save myself for marriage (although I wish I had!). I also cuss like a sailor. But throughout my entire life, which was tumultuous at times, there was always one constant, an unwavering faith that a higher power was watching over me who I could go to for guidance and compassion.

Now, by that I don’t mean that I believe there is a man on white throne up in the sky who has a scroll with my name at the top and everything I am to achieve in life is already decided for me. Quite the opposite. I believe in an energy, a power that shows me roads I might take, and even though at times it would like to push me down the right one, is simply a hand on my shoulder as I decide my own journey… and who every now and then gives me a tap to remind me there are other roads to take when we hit a dead end.

At this point people will usually ask me… so do you actually believe that there was a man called Jesus who came from heaven and performed all these crazy miracles? My short answer… Yes. But let me explain how I interpret the Bible.

Do I believe God created the earth in seven days… No. But an energy in the universe created earth and life from nothing. Give that whichever name you wish.

Do I believe in Adam & Eve… No. It’s a nice story though.

Do I believe a virgin gave birth to the son of God… No. Do I believe a woman who was young and innocent gave birth to a special child who would change the world, yes. I believe people are born every day who have a special mission on this earth, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela… Kanye 😉

“So you believe that Jesus could walk on water?”. No. But I believe sometimes we meet people in our lives who make us feel like we could do anything, who inspire us and lift us up until we feel like we could achieve the impossible.

“And what about bringing people back from the dead?”. No. But I believe that someones we meet people who wake us up and make us feel more alive than we ever have.

“Giving sight to the blind?”. No. But haven’t you ever met someone or heard a story that opened your eyes to something you never saw before? Who changed your perception about something and made you look at something in a different way?

“Turning water in to wine?”. No. But we all know people who are so intoxicating that being with them makes you giddy and excited, as though you are drunk.

“Filled empty baskets with fish and bread”. No. But people who sustain us in so many other ways that our soul and heart are full.

“Rose from the dead”. Unfortunately, no. But anyone who has ever lost someone dear to them knows the feeling of carrying them with them after they have passed. Of feeling their presence throughout their day to day lives long after they are dust in the ground.

I think one of the biggest mistakes of the church is that they teach the bible too literally.

Here is what I believe. Really good people are born everyday, people who will selflessly put themselves in harm’s way to help others. I believe there was man called Jesus who was that kind of person. He changed the way people thought, showed love and compassion to society’s undesirables and challenged the establishment in a time when it meant death. Can you really say you have never known or at the very least, read or heard about this type of person?

The bible to me is the (extremely) dramatised version of a simple man’s life. A good man. A man who happily took on the sins of his brothers and died for them.

So when people ask me am I Christian, I say yes. Any by that I mean, I believe in GOOD, the good of everyday people. I also believe in the spiritual realm and in forces greater than myself at work in the world.

I believe.

gravity

Gravitation, or gravity, … is most commonly recognized and experienced as the agent that gives weight to physical objects, and causes physical objects to fall toward the ground when dropped from a height. (Wikipedia)

I’m due to go back to work on 1 September this year after 12 months on maternity leave. Like most new mums I am nervous to step back in to the corporate world. Will I remember how to behave around adults, does my brain still function the way it used to, what milestones and firsts am I going to miss by being away from my son more often than not?

On top of everything else there is a huge amount of uncertainty about the role I’m returning to. The fact is, at the moment there is no role! My manager was made redundant a few months ago which would normally mean I too would be offered a payout and shown the door. But no, for the second time at this company they are making a new role for me and I’ll be moved somewhere else. I suppose in a way it’s a compliment, when it would be so easy for them to just let me go they are trying to find a role for me. But on the other hand, once again I will be forced to work with a new boss, a new team and it will be a big step down in terms of my place in the business. Part of me wishes that they would just take the decision out of my hands and let me go.

The other reason for not wanting to go back is that my 2 best girlfriends will be gone. One of them will be off on maternity leave by the time I return and the other has resigned from her role this week and will be gone long before I get back. I’ve already lost my other close friends from the company through resignations and redundancies so there will only be a couple of us left from the original group. Considering the social aspect of my job was what I liked most about this role, this definitely changes how I feel about being back there.

Like most other women I know, I need to work. It’s not a case of being able to say, I don’t want to go back, I’m going to quit. I need an income. My husband and I decided a long time ago that we didn’t want to pursue high paying executive roles. We want a lifestyle where we are both present. We don’t want to work late nights, weekends and holidays. We want to be home to see our son before bed every night. We have a great lifestyle in those regards and financially we are very comfortable, but it’s not enough to live on one income, we both need to be in the workforce.John Gardner

In the last few months it’s like a light bulb has come on in my head. I know exactly what I want to be doing. I know where I want to be, how it’s going to work and how amazing it’s going to feel. I can see the sun shining on the final destination but at the moment the path to this dream is still hidden in shadows. I’m afraid if I go back to work the monotony of everyday life is going to push clouds over that sun all together.

Izmael Arkin of tiny buddah says, when we pursue a dream, we are connecting with our heart’s desires. It’s a way of telling our soul “I love you.” Izmael quit his job as a middle school science teacher to follow his childhood dream, to become a ninja!

I am the first one to build up my friends and family and tell them to chase the sun so why am I so afraid to make a call and walk the same path? Might life be a little tough to start with? Probably. Will I have to go without materialistic things and luxury holidays for a little while? Certainly. I grew up living hand to mouth so the fear of being on struggle street hangs like a big chain around my neck.

But what if I succeed, what if making that big leap in to the dark is all it will take to live a lifetime in the sunshine? Is the pressure of success now as big a chain around me as the fear of failure? How much longer will I stand on the precipice afraid of the fall?

Maybe it’s finally time to start defying gravity…

dream a little dream

It’s my third wedding anniversary today and I’ve just checked in to the Four Seasons for a romantic night with the husband. I’ve got about 2 hours to myself before he arrives so I’ve taken the obligatory photo of the amazing view from our harbour view suite and read a magazine over a cup of tea. I haven’t turned on the TV or radio, it’s quiet. The street noise and boat horns from Circular Quay are muffled by the 30 story distance down to the street.

The baby is at home with his Nana, my mum, and although I know she can easily manage him (she raised 4 kids practically single handed), I hope he’s not giving her a hard time. I was up with him all night last night.

I’m sitting at a beautiful big wooden desk in our room in silence, writing. I’m dreaming of a day when my life is one big holiday with time out taken in between walks on the beach and long lunches to write and do my work. You see, the beauty of being a writer is that I can do my work anywhere. I can write at home, in a hotel room, in a café, on the beach, in the air, on the road, out at sea… With the ability to connect to the world on line, I could be anywhere doing anything.

Image courtesy of The Travel Institute

Image courtesy of The Travel Institute

With the end of my 12 months maternity leave rapidly approaching I find myself dreaming about this lifestyle more and more. I miss the social aspect of my job but not the work. I miss the feeling of accomplishment and recognition for a job well done, but not the demands and office politics.

As I sit here at this big desk, looking out at the harbour, knowing the only schedule I’m on today is my own, I wonder, am I worthy of this dream? Do I have what it takes to make it come true? What will it take and am I brave enough to chase it?

It was easy to take big risks before the mortgage, before the baby. And although we are in a good place financially it’s not quite enough for me to quit my day job and focus entirely on my writing. But when will it be time? If we make a few sacrifices and put off buying a bigger house for a few years maybe we could do it. But is it fair to expect my husband and son to do without just so I can chase a dream?

I wish I was brave, like my friend the artist who quit office work to focus on her painting and is opening another solo art show tonight. Or like my sister who left retail to train and start her own business in fitness.

I want to be brave.

Dreaming is dreaming… When is the time for doing?

the best things in life aren’t free

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

I need to lose weight, at least 4 kgs, more if I can. I have actually managed to GAIN weight since my son was born. I know why. I didn’t have any weight to lose and took it for granted. I lost nearly 10kgs early in my pregnancy because I was so sick. The day after my son was born I was actually 8kgs lighter than when I got pregnant. Add to that a little thing called depression to get through and I didn’t gain anything for a few months after the birth either.

It’s like anything in life. When you don’t work for something it can be very hard to properly appreciate it. The song is a lie, the best things in life are not free, you have to work at them, appreciate them and recognise them every day… or they will leave you!

I have a terrible habit of giving out wonderful advice but never taking any of it myself. I am good at glossing over my problems and coming across like a well put together woman who has her shit sorted. Most of my friends were shocked to read my article last week admitting I had been suffering with post natal depression. Only a few very close to us knew the struggle I was having in the early months of my son’s life. Everyone else thought we were going along just fine. I’ve always been good at putting on a brave face.

People are also surprised to learn that I am painfully shy. One workmate once said to me, you are the farthest thing from shy there is. He didn’t know the half of it. But that’s another story for another day.

This time I’m not going to hide. Be it ever so trivial and unoriginal, I am going to share my weight loss journey with you. It’s the only way I can keep myself accountable. I’ll keep you up to date through Facebook so you aren’t bombarded with updates in your mail box. Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/losewithme/ if you want to see how I’m going or if you want to join in the challenge yourself!

my name is Ebby and I have postnatal depression

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

From the moment I conceived I lived in fear of developing depression and as my pregnancy wore on in sickness and pain I felt it creeping in as each day passed. I tried to put it down to hormones and baby blues but when my baby boy was put in my arms for the first time I knew it was more than that. I looked down on this tiny, helpless life in my hands and felt… nothing.

 

My baby was born by caesarean and with breathing difficulties he was rushed away from me in to the special care nursery. I didn’t see him for 36 hours. I lay in my hospital bed looking down on my once bulging belly and it was gone, but where was my son? I have no doubt that those first hours intensified the already overwhelming emotions of my pregnancy and labour. By the time the nurse handed him to me the first time I was already so disconnected from the baby, he might as well have been a stranger’s child placed in my arms. I wanted to love and protect him, I wanted to feel like a mum, but there was nothing. I was already lost in a haze of overwhelming fear and panic.

 

I was so lucky, I had so much help. An understanding husband, grandparents who were happy to give up their time to babysit and the finances to hire nannies to help me through the sleepless nights when I was at my worst. But nothing helped. I would hear my baby crying and even if he was right beside me, it felt like I was so far away, like it was someone else’s life I was watching from a distance. I felt like I was in a suspended reality. Life stopped. I was treading water with weighted legs and my head was starting to go under.

 

Just before Christmas I finally got the courage to see my Doctor. Maybe it was the voice of an outsider or the way she said it, but I left her office that day feeling as though I wasn’t useless, that I was doing my best and there was no shame in admitting I couldn’t cope.

 

By the time the New Year rang in the fog had started to lift. With a clearer mind I started to realise, no other job on earth is as hard as parenthood. In no industry in any office around the world are you expected to work such long hours under such emotional and physical strain, with little to no rest between shifts. And in those early weeks before the smiles or giggles and cuddles, there really is no thanks, no appreciation for all your hard work. You are the slave and your little bundle of not so much joy is the master.

 

mum and bugDays slowly passed and with each week my little man grew and changed. I barely remember those early days and looking back at photos of him then, so little and fragile, feels like someone else’s life. These days when I go to him, he smiles and ties himself in knots with excitement that I’m close. He reaches out to touch me when I sit beside him. He laughs when I’m silly. He looks at me like he knows I’m mummy and I’m doing my best. We’re a team.

 

To the mummies still stuck in the darkness, I promise it gets easier. One day you will wake up and the sun will be shining and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without this drooling, pooping, screaming little person attached to you all day. Enjoy the quiet moments when you can and when there are none just remember that one day too soon our babies will be all grown up and asking us to drop them around the corner from school so their friends don’t see us. Until then, hold them close, life will get back to normal soon. An entirely new, wonderful kind of normal.

For more information about postnatal depression please visit Beyond Blue and if you need help talk to your Doctor or Community Nurse.

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