The Bibbulmun: day fourty two – Giants -> Rame Head

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Yesterday was so cruisy I was thinking I’d be bummed about not doubling today, BUT. Wildish night, woke to rain and ?hail many times. Some rain during the walk but not too bad, just squalls passing though as per usual. In last couple of km to conspicuous beach though, up on the ridge of the dunes, really windy! Blowing me sideways off the track kind of windy. Had to take the cockblocker off or it would be lost (come at me boys). Saw Mum and Dad pulling in as I walked the final ridge, good timing. Also, randomly, Ben Carter with his girlfriend (small world). Had chicken sangas and raw cheesecake and rooibos tea that Mum and Dad brought. Went up to the lookout, then the viewing platform. One of the windiest land experiences I can remember. SO WINDY. Somehow beach and cliff turned into wind tunnel and it was so strong on the platform you could literally lean into it. Was like being on a show ride, was hilarious and fun. Just so love mother nature! So much wild!

Mum joined me from there, just 3km to hut but was rain (sideways) and strong wind and sand dunes. Made for v tough walking and on arriving here was glad to be single hutting! Peaceful Bay tomorrow with the much lauded fish and chips – don’t want to get hopes too high as got excited about hot choc/coffee at the Tree Top Walk and that turned out shite. Told Mum of some of my existential crisis-ness and she said I sound like a product of my generation. Chopping/changing, I think she is referring to. Maybe. But how does that help me? It doesn’t.

Hungry hungry hippo again this arv. Probs coz I’m sitting here doing sweet FA. Lying in baggie as too cold in wind not to. Shelter is fairly sheltered but even so. Nice hut here, love the coastal views. Just love the coast. Where will life go when I get back? Why do I want all the answers now? Is that not a lesson I have learned in the last 6 weeks, to not get caught up making plans and assumptions and worrying about the future coz you have no idea how it will go? (What day you’ll arrive, how the weather will turn out, how sore your feet will be then, etc). So then, just enjoy this part and then let it happen when you get back, right? Right enough I reckon.

Feel v sleepy all of a sudden. Saw the ‘king in his carriage’ orchids today, before Ficifolia road, then a new stripey one – unidentified as yet. Several roos – seems to be roos and not wallabies in this section. 842km today. Far out, long way. Feet still hurting. Don’t think they’ll stop. Right toe hurting yesterday for first time, at the joint. Also last night – took pandol during the night to get back to sleep. Hips also v uncomfy – kinda jerky uncomfortable feelings. V unpleasant. That is my new answer for what I miss most – a real bed. Comfy mattress and warm doona although my baggies is v warm, when it’s done up I can’t stretch out as much as I’d like. It’s 1520. And I want to sleep. Still 2-3 h til tea time. Nearly got lost around 5.3 or 5.5km, turning off firebreak. So distracted by views of sea, kept going on firebreak. Stopped for photo, then just happened to turn around. Saw trail about 5m into bush, with short sign post with waugal on it! Unusual as not many waugals in this southern section, so very lucky happened to see it!

 

The Bibbulmun: day thirty eight – Long Point -> Mt Clare -> Walpole

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Another day. Enjoyed most of it except the last about 2km on gravel bitumen road into Walpole. Left early (6:15) and got to Mount Clare around 9:30 – too early for lunch! Went up on a rock at the lookout area and managed to get reception – called the business I bought my pack from and they are express posting me a replacement hip belt, hurray!

Got into Walpole about 12:30. Saw the lady who gave me the apple in town! Haha. Nearly had an exploding poo moment on the way there – all the bush was too bushy to get into and dig a hole! Made it in time though. Phew. Came across a big roo in the middle of track, he just chilled. All the others who were going to stay at My Clare rocked up in town (I thought they might!) So I won’t be hiking alone out of Walpole. Sonja ended up helicoptered out of Woolbales  🙁  and sent to Bunbury hospital for assessment. Very sad. Peter left a note for us at the Visitor’s centre, they bequeathed their resupply boxes to us! Little bit excited – even though profiting from their bad fortune. Free food is free food, after all!

Have done washing, shower, food…Don’t know what to do with myself! Sitting around in the sun! It’s very mood boosting. More rain is coming but will enjoy sun while it lasts. Going out for dinner with current gang, which includes 3 March girls, Helle and Jerry. A motely crew.

The Bibbulmun: day ten – Chadoora -> Dwellingup

In September and October 2016 I did the 1000km Bibbulmun Track Solo, North-South. Here’s a few excerpts from my journal.

Today got up early (5:45am) and went about leaving camp early. Although I took the time to have HOT porridge for once, as a treat, as I was coming into TOWN and would be able to restock gas. Made a little bragging comment about how I had gas to burn now, and then Mr Deer commented to a fellow hiker who was based in Dwellingup ‘Can you buy gas in town?’. WTF. What if there’s no gas?

Was a beautiful 20km into Dwell. Arrived in town about 12 noon – went to post office first thing and got rid of my boots (finally. Posted them to mum and dad) then to the Blue Wren café – had steak burger with chips and soy latte (Bonsoy! So hip!). Very soon after had to poop real bad – tired of upset tummy. It was ok the last couple of days but obviously couldn’t deal with real food or coffee. An old guy in the café saw me sitting at the table alone, with my pack, and started a conversation. He asked if I was doing the Bibb and told me about when he did it with his wife. He tried to buy me a coffee but I’d just shit so much I felt sick and had to decline. Disappointing. Hard to turn down a free coffee. Also he was nice.

Went home to my accommodation for the night, at Lisa’s, dropped my back and went back into town – I went past Mr Deer and Michael and John – Mr Deer carrying my pink scrap of material which was acting as my towel, which I’d left hanging up to dry in the hut :/ He had it tied to the outside of a bag, as he knew it was mine but wasn’t sure if it was my ‘pee rag’. I assured him it wasn’t. Although nice of him to collect it for me if he thought there was a chance that it was covered in wee. I said, ‘what am I going to do when you and Eddie are not walking behind me picking up my trail of stuff I leave behind??’

Asked for gas at the IGA – the guy tells me it’s usually in stock but today happens to be a late delivery. Tiny towns. Sigh. Went to the post office/camping shop, no, they don’t carry that type of gas. Never have. (Said in a more aggressive manner than necessary, in  my opinion!). Back to Lisa’s for a shower, washed my clothes (borrowed some of her son’s clothes while they dried), had an afternoon lie down in a real bed. Very nice. She had left out a towel and small soap etc on the bed for me. So thoughtful.

She made beautiful fresh vegan food and we talked, and drank tea. Feeling sick every time I ate food though – reaction to eating real food again or just upset tummy being even more upset? Either way is draining. Went to bed quite late what with all the eating (even though felt sick, had to fill up on beautiful raw carrot cake while it’s available) and talking. Was nice to be comfortable and warm and fed. What luxuries we have in our normal lives!

Why my solo thru hike wasn’t really solo

It was usually the second question I got when I told someone that I was about to start hiking the Bibbulmun Track – who are you going with?* Myself, I always answered. A lot of the time, people expressed surprise to hear this. Some people responded with comments along the lines of: I could never do that; you’re so brave; aren’t you scared?

And before I left home and got started with the actual walking, sometimes I was scared – imagining what it might be like to hike solo for week after week (after week!). While I was walking though, I was very rarely scared. I ended up spending only one full night by myself in a shelter, every other night there was at least one other person there too. (And that one fully solo night, I didn’t freak out!). I walked by myself for the vast majority of the days, but I also did some days walking with either the people who were on the same walking schedule as me, or with my mum who joined me for a few nights. I quite liked the experience of walking with another person or people, mostly because the conversation made the time go faster. But I really liked the experience of walking by myself. The freedom to be happy, grumpy, bored, ecstatic, silly, crying, laughing, singing – with no one around to see or care, was great. The space to let myself think all the thoughts, even the deep, shameful, scary ones that I usually avoid, was helpful. The deep knowing that I am capable and strong, by myself, was really empowering.

But I finished my walk with the very clear opinion that a solo thru hike is not really a solo hike – at least as far as my experience was concerned.

Yep, I carried all my own things the whole way – clothes, sleeping gear, food and food prep, survival bits and bobs, first aid, comfort – all on my back.

Yep, I was by myself most of the day, for most days of the trip.

Yep, I planned everything myself, to my own timeline preferences.

Yep, I chopped and changed my plans to suit myself.

And. I stayed with my little bro when I first arrived in Perth, and took over his kitchen table for a few days while I sorted out all my food resupply boxes. I left on a Sunday, and didn’t think about the post office not being open for me to post all those resupply boxes – so my little bro did it for me on the Monday. My bro and my Dad came to drop me off at the start of the track. My bro drove down to meet me not once, but twice in the first ten days (first time with a food resupply, second time responding to an sos call from me, bearing a new pair of shoes). A hiking buddy I met on the trail resupplied me with some gas (which his parents brought down from Perth) when one of the towns was out of stock. The same hiking buddy organized me a sweet deal on a new sleeping mat from his work when mine was way too cold, which the same parents brought down on another trip to see him. A friend hosted me in my first track town – her son let me borrow his clothes while I washed mine, she fed me with delicious fresh vegetable-based food (no fresh veggies on the track!) and drove me to the next town to buy probiotics for my sad tummy. My Mum bought me a couple of nights accommodation when we met in one of the track towns, as well as coffee and cake and dinner. More hiking buddies provided company and compassionate ears to listen when I’d had a really bad day. My Dad drove up and dropped me more gas when ANOTHER town had run out of stock. Random people I met on the beach gave me an apple. Other hikers offered me their spare food (I may or may not have received a bit of a reputation for being forever-hungry). My boyfriend answered my phone calls and sent reassuring text messages when things felt overwhelming, as well as covering work for me. Friends and people I’ve never even met provided encouragement and well-wishes throughout the whole trip, via text or on my instagram. My parents picked me up at the end. There was much more too

It became very clear to me that my solo hike was anything but. I was completely surrounded by love and support. It struck me that this was a perfect example of how to do not just hiking, but LIFE as an interdependent being. Not codependent, not completely solitary and independent, but being both self-sufficient as well as leaning on others at times and letting them help you. Being your own, whole person, who is not looking for others to complete them or fix them, but who also recognises the importance of community and connection and asking for help. What do you think?
*(the first question was: how long is the walk?)

How to live in a screwed up world (I don’t know)

Sometimes I’m actually not sure whether my sensitive soul can deal with living in this world. It seems that my heart (soul?) hurts more (when I’m exposed to the hardhships of life) as I get older, insted of less, as I’d expected.

When I was a child and I would cry about something like having a fight with my friend, or getting told off, or a small animal dying, it seemed like a fairly expected thing for a child to do, right? But as an adult, I find those things, and more, somehow even more painful than I used to.

I used to walk around cities, as a late teenager/early 20’s adult, and seem homeless people, and…I don’t know exactly what I did. I still offered them food, but I wasn’t so saddened by their existence. Perhaps I found them a bit scary or something. But now, my heart aches every time I go into the Melbourne CBD, and see the (many!) people sitting curled up under blankets and carboard, on the concrete. Last night I was standing on the footpath at the edge of the street, waiting to cross at a set of lights. Ont eh opposite side was a man, who looked as though he’d fallen down. He had a black bag next to him, and he was kind of sprawled/hunched over, and holding on to one of his legs. I saw multiple people glance at him, and walk past. I thought, what the fuck? What if he’s hurt? When I crossed, I stopped and asked him if he was ok, if he was hurt. Just after I stopped, a guy riding past on a bike also stopped and asked the same question. The guy on the street couldn’t really answer, he was slurring his words a lot and didn’t seem to understand much of what we were saying. I guess he was wasted. Eventually he asked to be helped up; bike guy helped him and I got his bag for him. He was staggering around and I was worried he would fall onto the road and get hit by a car. Bikeguy was helping him figure out where he was going (Coburg?) so I left him to it. I had someplace to be, you know?

I honestly didn’t know what I could really do to help, other than to ask if he was ok, to care just a little bit. As opposed to all the people who just walked past, and didn’t even acknowledge him as another human being. I don’t know what he needed, but I don’t think I could offer it. Certainly, I don’t personally have all the resources to provide food, shelter, emotional support for all the people living on the street in Melbourne. And yet my heart aches to just walk past.

The other day I stopped and bought a guy a Subway footlong (meatball, his choice). Because I was on my way to go buy some hiking gear, and I felt so guilty considering spending a couple of hundred dollars on something I want, but don’t need, while this guy was sitting there apparently cold and hungry. I say apparently, because I don’t know for sure what his experience is (was). That’s how he looked, and what he told me. I have also heard the opinion that you can actually make good money begging, and that some people wll do it even though they are actually alright, financially. Personally, I can’t see the appeal.

But is that enough? Can I buy a guy a Subway, ask another if he’s ok, and then just continue to walk past and do not much else to help? Does the fact that I managed to hold onto my sense of self enough to not get into drugs, to get a house to rent, to get a job, go to Uni, mean that I’ve earned all the privilege I hold and I shouldn’t feel guilty about it? In all honesty, seeing them makes me want to turn away. Because it aches?too much to see. But I keep being reminded of something that Glennon Doyle-Melton wrote (I love her blog), about the refugees in Greece recently:

“But let us not say: I can’t look at this. It’s just too much. That is not true. It is not too much for us. It is too much to be them, but it is not too much to look at them. Please look and remember that if that was our [family] (and it is) we would want good-hearted people to draw close and help – not to look away. We will not look away. We will not protect our own hearts: we will work to protect our human family

When I think of that quote, I think, I’m doing a disservice to the humans of the world by trying to protect my own heart from pain, by looking away and trying to avoid going into the CBD. How then, to see the pain of the world, but not get engulfed in it? How to witness it, to hold it, to use the pain as a prompting to do more good in the world, without falling over and getting trampled by it, until I’m just crying mush and can’t do anything at all helpful?

That is a question/s I don’t currently have an answer for, and I’m working on it. So far, all I’ve gotten to is this: just love. Just do as much as possible from a place of love, as often as possible. Put out more love into the world.

Working on it!

Big love,

xx

Ps – I’m anticipating some people might encourage me to volunteer. I have thought about this, and for some reason Im not sure about it. Mostly, although I see that volunteering to help serve (for example) a hot meal to people might be helpful to the person on that day, but would it contribute to a solution to the greater problem? Im not sure.

PPS – I originally copy-pasted this from a word doc, and all the formatting went weird. I rewrote the whole thing, and still wordpress insists on inserting some random characters into the preview and deleting other important bits – like apostrophes – even though it looks normal in the editor section. If you see some random characters that look like they shouldn’t be there, or apostrophes that are missing, please use your imagination to fix them and carry on.

Is this the end of The Mind Movement? (you tell me)

Hey there!

This note has been a long time coming, right? I haven’t written for some time. Due to a few different reasons, but there’s a couple of biggies. Namely the following:

  1. My life has changed a lot in the last 6 months. In a good way! I’ve quit my job, moved house, I’m doing new things. I’m really happy with how things are going.
  2. With this change has come a change in where my attention and curiosity are focused. I loved Elizabeth Gilberts talk on hummingbird curiosity and following these roads, so I’m rolling with that.
  3. Part of this shift in focus has meant that I’m less focused on the scientific world of exercise and mental health. Which was a big part of starting the blog.
  4. Part of the change in my life has also been a change in some of my theories/opinions on …life stuff. For example, I’m leaning away from our current western medical definition of depression as an ‘illness’ caused by brain chemical imbalance, and exploring other ways of seeing depression, such as that written about by Kelly Brogan.
  5. A big, big part of where my interest is going is into wilderness and nature. I’m very interested wilderness therapy, equine experiential learning, bushwalking/hiking, and I’m currently planning a long distance thru-hike for myself. I see all of this as very much related to mental health and wellbeing, as well as movement. But at the same time, I see it as a very different approach to the more traditional ‘gym workout three days a week for 12 weeks to see if your mood improves’ typical ‘evidence based’ exercise for mental health.
  6. I ended up being ‘depressed’ (I’m currently unsure how I want to frame that particular title) for much of last year, which left me feeling really depleted, and like I didn’t have much of anything left to offer to other people (including you lovely blog readers).
  7. I’m really, really, really over the whole online fame/instagram/marketing game at the moment. The idea of yoga poses in natural landscapes, pictures of lattes with props arranged just so and the like is just so not my game right now. (Totally fine for others to go ahead if thats what they’re into! This is not an attack!). I’m finding it difficult to fit myself in to current popular social media trends and would prefer to be a bit more dirty, gritty, swear-y and real. Not that I’ve been inauthentic in anything I’ve written, but I’ve often censored myself for fear of offending, and often feel the need to provide linked evidence whenever I state an opinion. And I’ve found myself, from time to time, trying to create posts or photos to be more like those peeps who have 1000’s of followers, coz that’s what the world says is a good thing for a blog and for a business. TBH, I’m a bit over that. I just want to write what I want to write, while giving zero fucks.

So there’re a few big changes, right?
What I’m questioning at this point is the following:

  1. Should I keep the blog going in its current form? Was it helping anyone? Was anyone reading it? Were people getting any meaning from it?
  2. Should I divert the focus of the blog incrementally towards the things I’m currently into (aikido, hiking, alternative ways of looking at mental health. Feminism, energy healing, horses. Sustainability. SLOW (seasonal, local, organic, whole) food. Tuning into the seasons and living accordingly.)
  3. Should I start a new blog about the non-movement related stuff I’m doing at the moment? (see above).
  4. Should I give up the blog altogether and just write things for myself? And not publish it?
  5. Should I just do what Ive been doing and avoid all these questions by not writing anything and leaving the blog sitting there?

I’d love your feedback on this, because as much as I have written this blog as place for me to record my own thoughts, I’d hate to shut it down if people were finding meaning in it. I just feel uncomfortable with it sitting here doing not much. It’s kind of like that nagging thought: Is there something I forgot? Did I leave the oven on or something?

Hope you are all making meaning in your lives and finding a way to move that works for you.

Big love,

Louise xx

Let’s get real

I’m tired of reading about people who have beaten their demons.

We get a story written about us in a newspaper or on a website?when the story is along the lines of: “how I beat depression”, followed by a saga of how shitty we used to feel, until we discovered xyz, and now look at us, we’re great! And Happy! And here’s five tips you can take away if you want to be like us.

“I used to be fat and unhappy, until I lost weight and now people want to hear my story because I finally fit the image of what society says I should look like!”

“I used to be sad and cry all the time until I started exercising and now it’s worth talking about me because I’m a well adjusted professional functioning as society says I should!”

“I used to work in a corporate soul sucking job until I started my own business and now it’s worth writing a story about me because I’m really attractive and happy and rich! I’m successful, just how society says I should be!”

The message we get from this? My story is only valid when I’ve dropped my baggage and imperfections, and achieved success.

I want to see more stories about the people in the trenches. The people who are living with being obese, and how that is for them. The people who are living with difficult emotions, and what its like trying to go through life with that. The people who are still stuck in the jobs they don’t really like, and how that affects them in their day to day.

But that wouldn’t be inspiring, would it. That wouldn’t be click bait-y enough to get published – “I used to be overweight and I still am.” “I was depressed, until for a while?I thought I wasn’t, then I realised I still was.” “I was working in a corporate, soul sucking job, until I quit and got a different, soul sucking job.”

But you know what that would be? Real. People are already commenting?on how social media presents an unrealistic image that we all compare ourselves to, by only sharing our happy photos and brag worthy status updates. But it’s not just social media. It’s all media. You are story-worthy once you’ve gotten over your shitty past, achieved something great, and shed your imperfections along the way.

I saw a story recently about a person who used to have depression, until?she ‘beat’ depression, and now she sits on various boards of influence and has started a not-for-profit to help others who are like she used to be. Which is awesome, we need more of that. But when I’m feeling down, it’s also just another way that triggers me to think that I’ve failed. That I wont be good enough until I can fix myself from being the way I am, and become something great; some Louise 2.0, which is all the great, funny, compassionate, likeable parts of me, without the tired, irritable, depressed, achey parts of me. The Louise who starts meaningful businesses with purpose, who makes a difference to peoples’ lives, who tells her story of how I ‘used to be’ and how different that is from how I am now.

But what if it’s not so different? What if I’m still dealing with a bunch of the same stuff??

A person called me the other day, wanting to work with me. She told me she resonated with what I’d written about my story, about using movement as a tool to improve my mood, about the struggle with apathy and hateful self-talk. She told me that I seem “perfect”. That I seem to have figured it out and she wants to be like me. I literally burst into laughter. And I told her that I still deal with those things, I still find myself thinking from time to time, that I’m a piece of shit. She was surprised. I told her, the thing that has changed is that I don’t necessarily believe it straight away now. I question it. (Sometimes – sometimes I fall straight back down the rabbit hole). I’m not saying that this is all there is to hope for, that one day I might be able to get to a point where I don’t ever have the thought that I’m a piece of shit anymore, but for now, I’m still right down in the shit with everyone else.

And I feel sad to think that people might read my story and think that I’ve passed through the storm, that I’ve made it to the tropical island and I live in peace and happiness. Because the reality is that I am still on the boat, and ride out storms with frustrating regularity. I’m tired of reading about other people hanging out on that island, drinking cocktails seemingly without a care in the world, because I can’t relate. I want to read more about the other people who are on a solo mission around the world, weathering storms, icebergs, ripped sails and giant whales. The other people who are feeling?the grit and the rawness of life. Who also, incidentally, get to see some pretty amazing rainbows out there on the ocean.

PS – where did that sailing/ocean metaphor pop up from? I don’t know.

The biggest gift you can give someone (plus three easy steps to make it happen)

I was at a small gathering of peeps last night, a very diverse bunch all brought together by a common interest. Most of the people there knew each other and had a history, and I (and my significant other) were new to the crowd. We were sharing some food and drink, and chatting a bit.

One of the people there talked a lot. About his experiences, travels and life. His stories were interesting and sometimes entertaining. However, when I left the gathering I found I was feeling a bit empty and even frustrated. Discussing this frustration with my significant other, I suddenly burst out “there was no CONNECTION!” and he responded with a resounding “YES!” We realized no one had asked us questions about ourselves, in an effort to include us or to know more about us. I’m still thinking about it this morning. To have the awareness and selflessness to feel comfortable directing the attention to others when in a group – not out of shyness but out of a desire for everyone to feel heard and included, is no small thing.

In the workshops and retreats I teach at, a common exercise we do is a three minute empathy swap with a partner.

This is where one person talks, for three minutes, and the other person listens – really, properly listens, paying attention the whole time – and tries silently to guess what the person speaking might be feeling or needing. In our exercise, as we are practicing identifying feelings and needs of others (otherwise known as empathy) we pull out cards which have the feelings/needs listed on them and put them down as we think we hear them expressed.

Have you ever tried to listen to someone, to give them your full attention, for three minutes?

Or even one minute? Without responding with advice (‘oh, what you should do is….’), or a story about your own life (‘that reminds me of when I….’) or even sympathy (‘oh your poor thing, that sounds so bad’). It’s actually really hard, as it goes against the way many of us have socially learned to ‘do’ conversation.

And on the other side –have you ever experienced someone just listening to you – really listening to you – for three minutes? Or even one? Without interrupting, without asking questions to clarify parts of the story, without offering advice? I’ve been the person who is doing the listening before – and I’ve seen firsthand the incredible connection and understanding that people can get when they are given the space to just go there, be listened to, and have that space held for them.

index

I’m a human. I still struggle with this.

When I’m listening to my friends, I get so many ideas about what they could do to change things, what I think is the right course of action, wanting to tell them about the time that I suffered too, wanting to ask questions because I don’t understand a part of their story. But when I manage to hold onto these thoughts of mine and just give people the space to speak, that’s where the gift is. When they stop speaking and instead of telling part of my own story, I can say “Tell me more about how that is for you” and allow them the space to keep going, that is generosity.

You can do this for people you love (or like! Or don’t like!) too. Three easy steps:

1) ask someone a question (how are you? How do you feel about that? What’s been going on recently? Are you ok?)
2) Let them answer, and really pay attention. Try to guess what they are feeling, whether they explicitly use feeling words, or whether you are trying to guess the feelings underneath their words. Do this silently.
3) When they stop, reflect back what you heard, (‘wow, sounds like things have been really stressful/scary/fun/challenging/exciting/ for you’) then ask them if there’s more (‘Is there more that’s been going on?’ ‘how do you feel now we’re talking about it?’)

And maybe that’s it. Maybe the person doesn’t want to keep talking, maybe they’ve had enough. But giving them the space to keep going is such a beautiful, simple (but not easy) gift.

A warning: it can be really frustrating if you regularly offer this space to someone time after time but don’t ever get the space reciprocated.

If you want to try out this listening technique, and really want to be listened to as well, perhaps try asking someone to listen to you in this way – or offer to do a swap – one person gets three minutes while the other listens silently, then swap. You might be surprised by how much understanding you can get of yourself by just talking for three minutes without interruption.

I’d love to hear how you go trying this out. Let me know in the comments below!

Much love xx

Five ways to move for your mood that you might not have thought of…

We’re all being constantly bombarded with statistics and information telling us we don’t do enough exercise, we’re too fat and we’re not burning enough energy because we sit all day.

I’m not (necessarily) disagreeing with those sentiments, but I do believe that moving your body is about SO MUCH more than just energy burnt, or minutes logged. For me, moving your body is about connection with yourself, enjoyment of life, and self-care – honouring the incredible physical feats our body achieves on a daily basis – for example, when you start moving faster, you don’t have to think about breathing more to get more oxygen – your body is constantly measuring minute changes in your inner-chemistry, and just makes this adjustment naturally – how rad is that! Getting more movement doesn’t need to mean going to the gym, signing up to a team sport or joining a group fitness class.

Here’s a list of five ways to move that are about getting to know your body and the different shapes and movements it’s capable of, but also having fun and feeling good!

ways_to_move_you_might_not_have_thought_of_dance

Free, expressive, no-instruction dance.

Try No lights No Lycra (just what it sounds like – a darkened room where you ‘have a date with yourself on the dance floor’), 5rhythms (creative expressive dance) or just turn up the stereo in your lounge-room! Try thinking about how your body naturally wants to move to the different rhythms you hear, instead of thinking about how you look.

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-roll

Self massage/rolling

Movement ≠exercise. Moving your body doesn’t have to be about getting a sweat up. Using therapy balls, tennis balls, foam rollers, yoga blocks, or other soft-ish bits and bobs you find around, you can get to know areas of your body that you might have lost touch with. Proprioception is the name of our sense of knowing where our body is in space – and self-massage can help to improve this. My favourite therapy balls come from here.

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-play

Your local play-ground

Sure, the local council may have built the play-grounds with kids in mind, but there’s no rules to say adults can’t use them too! If you have kids, take them along and join in the fun, if you don’t have kids, playgrounds are often pretty empty during school hours or first thing in the morning. They are a great place for trying out some movements you might not have done since you were a kid – like hanging, climbing and crawling through tunnels. Bonus – it’s free!

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-bounce

Bouncing

How many years since you bounced on a trampoline? Bouncing has become a popular activity recently, with companies like Bounce Inc and Xtreme Air opening up giant buildings full of fun things like mega trampolines and ball pits. You will definitely get a sweat up with this one – I recommend getting a bunch of friends to join you (so you have a team for dodge ball!).

Five-ways-to-move-for-your-mood-that-you-might-not-have-thought-of-climb

Indoor rock climbing

Indoor climbing is great for many reasons – it’s great for your coordination and neural stimulation (brain training!) and you will definitely feel your arm muscles the next day! More than that though, you need to have trust in the person who is belaying for you (holding your harness rope taut) and it can be quite exhilarating when you make it all the way to the top for the first time – it’s quite high! This is another good one for bringing a friend along – it helps to have someone handy to belay for you. Check out Hardrock if you’re in Melbourne.

 

What about you? Do you have more ideas for fun ways of moving your body?

 

Why Belle Gibson deserves our compassion

belle_gibson_compassionPhoto from here

Unless you live in a humpy, you’ve probably heard about Belle Gibson – she (in)famously lied about having cancer while promoting her app, The Whole Pantry.

Since then, many of her stories have unraveled to reveal that most of what she claimed isn’t true. Belle just appeared on 60 minutes last night, which reignited all the media/social media abuse and public anger. My opinion? Belle deserves our compassion.

Before you get all rage-y and start querying my sanity, let me add a clarification:

having compassion for someone doesn’t mean condoning what they have said or done, or letting people act without consequence.

It means recognising a common humanity – which Kristin Neff describes as acknowledging “that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience”  To recognize a common humanity is to treat all people with respect – even when you’re angry and upset with them.

 

I don’t know if you guys have been following either a) Belle or b) the media articles about her, but holy crap! The aggressiveness, insults, and straight-out shaming has been insane.

I understand that people are very angry, hurt, outraged and shocked about finding out that she lied about having cancer – and they’d like to see some consequences for her actions. However, shaming someone (especially publicly) is not a helpful, compassionate or effective way of changing their behavior. Brene Brown says that:

“Shame is about anger and blame, not accountability and change”

and rather than encouraging someone to make amends, actually just leads them to feel “intense pain, isolation, and fear”. So if you’re upset with the action that someone has taken, and would really like to see them being held accountable for their choices, shaming them probably isn’t going to have the desired effect.

 

Here’s an opinion from someone who knows a bit about compassion – the Dalai Lama

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”

I’m inclined to agree with him. Compassion isn’t something we should give only to those who are ‘good people’ or who ‘deserve it’. Everyone deserves compassion – even those who we perceive as having done something ‘wrong’. I mean, I get it: it’s hard. It seems reasonable to have compassion for a young child who has been rendered homeless by a natural disaster. But a person who deliberately miss-led a lot of people and made a lot of money in the process? That’s a bit more difficult. Does that mean we should stop trying and revert to name-calling? I don’t believe so.

We’ve all made mistakes. We all will make mistakes in the future.

some big, some small. I fully believe that we should be held accountable for our choices, and in the context of big mistakes that might mean things like paying fines or even going to jail – and this holds true for Belle in her situation. But because someone made a choice that you (or even the majority of our society, or our law) disagree with, doesn’t mean that insults, name calling, threatening and shaming are OK.

What do you think about this? Do you reckon everyone deserves compassion or do some choices leave the chooser undeserving of compassion?