What should I do with my life?

What should I do with my life?

Do more than just exist | PictureQuotes.com:
I was basking in the sun at a trendy suburban café one
Sunday afternoon with the most beautiful group of mismatched women.  We had the pleasure of working together in one
of the most awesome teams I have ever had the privilege to work in.  Now we all have different jobs, but still
make time to catch up when we can.  We
were talking about all the things important in our lives right now, my blog
came up (!), all the children, and generally what we are doing with our
One of our party – bright, colourful, caring and kind,
clever, brave and driven – mentioned that she is still working on figuring out
what she wants in life next…still searching for what her passion is. 
I feel like this is something that is coming up around me a
lot lately.  I’m not sure if it is
because of the season of life my friends and I are in, or if it is an ongoing
quest we will encounter throughout the rest of our lives.  Everybody seems to be searching for
So how do we work out what that is? 
We’ve already had a chat here about the Desire Map; by
Danielle LA Porte (see this post).  The
main gist of her idea is that we work out how we want to feel in our life (because
she feels we are chasing a feeling rather than goals) and then sort it out from
I was listening to a podcast by Rob Bell the other day (the RobCast,
episode 6) and he answered the question how
do you figure out what your thing in life is?
Rob suggested you can find the answer in a number of ways:
Listen to the themes that keep arising in your
life. When is it that you felt most alive/at peace/satisfaction?  When was it and what were you doing at those
What do you love to do?  What brings you alive, what is it that makes you
lose track of time when you are doing it?
What angers you? 
What fills you with a sense of divine anger or injustice that you think “someone
should do something about that” – maybe that someone is you!
What makes you curious?  What do you want to know more about?
What gets you up in the morning?
What exhausts and exhilarates you? 
All great questions I think that could help guide you to
where your passion or “thing” in life might be. 
Everyone’s favourite spiritual guide, Oprah, suggests we already
have the answer within us.  All we have
to do is listen:
“If I were to put it in business
terms or to leave you with a message,” she told a crowd of Stanford GSB
students, some of whom waited in line 90 minutes to secure a seat close to the
stage, “the truth is I have from the very beginning listened to my instincts.
All of my best decisions in life have come because I was attuned to what really
felt like the next right move for me.”
“Your real work is to figure out
where your power base is and to work on that alignment of your personality,
your gifts you have to give, with the real reason why you are here,” she
said. “Align your personality with your purpose, and no one can touch you.”  If you want to watch Oprah speak about this go here.
Another suggestion that I heard recently (I think it was on
the Happier with Gretchen Rubin
podcast) is to remember what it was you liked to do when you were 10 years
old.  Chances are what you liked doing
then, you will still like doing today, and you may just find inspiration for
something you would like to add back into your life again.  Using this method, I have identified that my career
of choice should clearly be singing into a hairbrush, dancing to John Farnham
songs 😉  However, if this is not
possible, my next favourite thing to do was read books and write stories,
letters and poems.   Pretty close to what
I love doing now! 
What has worked for me? 
I’m a big believer in following my instincts.  It seems that the right opportunities seem to
present themselves when I am ready for them. 
I start thinking about something I’d like to do or achieve, slowly
mulling it over, dreaming, wondering if it is the right path to take.  Usually, when I listen to what my soul is
saying, something will happen that seems to show me I’m on the right
track.  I love those moments.  It is like you feel energised, excited and
can’t wait to get started. 
So, have you found your passion in life?  The thing you can’t wait to bounce out of bed
to do each day?  Are you still
searching?  Do you have any advice for my
sparkly friend?  Comment below or on the
Facebook page (search Creative Calm Connected).
Until next time,

E xx

Podcasts I love.

Image result for headphones cartoon image
I am a relative newbie to the world of podcasts, only having
recently discovered and started listening to them.  My first was recommended by a friend from
work and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the case of Adnan Sayed in “Serial“.  Since my son started primary school this year,
and I also have a one year old daughter, I find myself in the car a LOT,
driving here there and everywhere taking us to all of our activities!  The Serial podcast changed my car trips from
time I felt was being wasted, into special treat as I followed the story
Since deciding this year that my themes for life are to be
more creative, calm and connected, I
have been searching for more podcasts to listen to that interest and excite me
and somehow connect back to those themes. 
The most obvious one for me to start with was “Happy Mama with Amy”.  Amy Taylor-Kabbaz is the
amazing and inspiring woman who blogs at Happy Mama, the author of Happy Mama; the guide to feeling yourself again, and genius behind the Reconnect Program which I did earlier this
year (and am doing for the second time now!). 
I love Amy’s work because she is so real about motherhood.  She is not afraid to discuss the challenges
of being a Mama, and ways that as mothers we can reconnect back to who we are
and what we need.  Once a fortnight Amy
interviews a guest and they discuss issues around being a happy mama, and on
the other week Amy quietly provides her own thoughts and wisdom on a topic
relevant to her audience. There is yet to be an episode where I didn’t get some
little gem from, so if you are a Mum, maybe you might like to give it a go!
Another favourite of mine is “Happier with Gretchen Rubin
and Elizabeth Craft.   I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin’s books The Happiness Project and Better than Before. In Happier, Rubin
and her sister discuss simple changes and ideas for how to make your life
happier.  I love the interaction between
the sisters, and their ideas are great. 
What should I read next” with Anne Bogel is a podcast I both
love and hate!  I love it because each
week Anne does some literary matchmaking with a guest.  They discuss three books the guest loves, one
book they hate and what the guest is currently reading.  Anne recommends three reads based on their
discussion.  I love this podcast because
the format allows you to discover some books that you may also like to read
next.  I hate this podcast because I have
added so many books to my “to be read” list that I think I need a second, third
and fourth job to finance the purchase of them!!
Rob Bell’s “the Robcast” is a podcast that I’m relatively
new to but the few I’ve listened to so far have surprised me.  I heard Bell’s name come up a lot within a
short time from a number of different sources, and I thought the universe might
be directing me to him for some reason. 
Initially I was a bit turned off when I discovered he is a pastor;
however, he discusses issues in a way that doesn’t feel overly preachy or
churchy.  In my desire to connect with
something bigger than myself, I feel like there might be a few gems in Rob’s
podcasts that might raise some questions that I might like to consider.  What I love about him is that he encourages
people not to continue with what doesn’t serve them well – especially in the
religious context.  This one is probably
not for everyone, but one I’m exploring anyway. 
And last but not least, I have been listening to a podcast
with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) called “Magic Lessons”.  It is an extension of her book Big Magic which encourages readers to
challenge our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we must
fear.  This book is eagerly staring up at
me from my desk, waiting for me to read it. 
Each episode, Gilbert has a creative guest on the show that is somehow
blocked, or experiencing some type of creative challenge and provides
suggestions on how they might break through that block to move forward with
their creative life.   
So what podcasts do you love and why?  I am always on the hunt for new ones to
listen to and would really love if you would share some of your favourites with
me.  You can contact me on Facebook
(search Creative Calm Connected) or leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
Until next time,
E xx 
How did I go?  Follow up post to “Be Gone Cranky Rushed Mama”

How did I go? Follow up post to “Be Gone Cranky Rushed Mama”

Firstly a note – my post “be gone cranky rushed mama” was not meant as a
whinge about my husband not doing stuff to help out around the house.  He
is actually quite amazing and does a lot each day to help make the house run
smoothly and get us out the door on time.  My post was written from
my point of view and reflected my thoughts on me, my disorganisation, and my
hopes for change. 
So, how did I go being more organised?  The results were
mixed.  I had some success, but it didn’t feel like I had hit the
right mark.  There were lots of moments in the week where I
was better organised, however, I must confess that there were still moments
where I was rushing around at the last minute trying not forget anything. 
I did start my quick morning meditation habit again, so I think that
helped bring some calm, but I need some structure, more of a routine or
something to help me be more organised.  I am going to revisit my
routine and make it work better for me. 
This week I decided that my mantra would be “put s@*t away”!! It
made a big difference until Thursday and I don’t know what happened then.
 I didn’t get my normal quiet time during the day when the baby was
sleeping.  I spent those two hours battling with her to get her to go to
sleep, so my middle of the day tidy up didn’t happen.  And the second half
of the day was busy running here there and everywhere, and I couldn’t recover
my “put s@*t away” mojo.  
I have been reading Better than Before by Gretchen
Rubin, which is a book about how to establish and keep habits.  Rubin
suggests that
“Habits make change
possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self-control” (p5).
I like the idea that if I make some good habits, I will be freed of
decision making and life will run more smoothly.  After helping
readers know themselves better, Rubin outlines several strategies that help in
habit formation.  While I haven’t yet finished the book, I have
already picked up several tips that I think will be useful. 
I have been trying to work out what it is that stops me from making
plans that work for me.  I like to have a
plan.  I like to know what I will be doing in any particular week so
that I can plan ahead and be organised. As well as our online family calendar
(which my husband and I can both access at any time), I have an old school
paper diary AND a weekly planner that I fill in religiously.  So why
can’t I make it work in real life? 
A personality quiz that we did at work (I can’t remember the name of it,
nor do I still have a copy of the results),  identified me as someone
who dreams big, likes coming up with new ideas, but fails in the
execution.  While I love doing personality quizzes, I generally think
they should be taken with a grain of salt; however this result resonated with
me and has stuck with me for many years.  It is true; I often have
big bright ideas and then fail to follow through.  At work, I think I
can get away with it a little better because we work as a team and everyone has
different strengths and weaknesses. But at home, it is a bit harder to hide
from that truth. 
My plan is to review our regular weekly schedule and work out a plan
that might work for me.  But, how will I make myself stick to that
plan?  For those who are interested and think it might matter, I am
an ENFP or ENFJ in Myers-Briggs and an Obliger in Gretchen Rubin’s Four
Tendencies framework.   
Rubin suggests a couple of things that I think might work for me.  The
strategy of monitoring, where you keep a record of how you are going with the
habit you are trying to introduce, is said to be effective especially at the
beginning of habit formation.  I also think the strategy of pairing
might be useful, where you pair one action with another, usually already well
established routine.  For example, if you are trying to drink more
water, you might pair that habit with making a cup of tea.
I think they are great strategies to get started, but how will I make
myself do the things that are harder (or come less naturally for me)? 
Further into Better than before Rubin discusses the use
of rewards and treats.  She argues that when trying to establish a
new habit rewards actually get in the way and do more harm than
good.   Treats are different because you give yourself a treat
just because, it is not tied to doing something in order to “deserve” it. She
says that by giving ourselves treats we can ask more of ourselves.  So
perhaps I need to give myself regular treats?  It
seems counter-intuitive to me though, I like the idea more of
rewarding myself for sticking to my habits…. Maybe if I stick to the
habits for 3 weeks, then I could treat myself to a day’s shopping at
I WANT it to work.  I WANT to be able to feel more in control
and calm.  I would be really interested to hear your ideas on what
works for you?  Have you read Better
Than Before? 
What did you
think?  Do you have any ideas on how to
establish good new habits and routines that will help me feel more calm?
Until next time,
E xx