The magic happens when you listen

The magic happens when you listen

Yesterday was a near perfect day for me.  Our little family headed off to the beach for
a day trip. We often make these trips now, because it isn’t that far to go and
we always have a good time.  A trip to
the ocean seems to rejuvenate us all, calm us and help us spend some really
happy time together without being at home worrying about what we “should” be
doing instead. 
I was thinking about why yesterday was so magical for
me.  The weather wasn’t perfect (until
late afternoon), we left later than we wanted to, but none of that could get to
me yesterday.  I think that what made it
perfect was that it was a truly creative,
calm, connected
day.  We were all
relaxed and happy (calm!).  There was a
really nice connection between us all, we all seemed so present, so in the
moment, not consumed by anything else (connected!).  And we got to do lots of favourite things
(morning tea at our favourite café, lunch at the beach, spending a lazy
afternoon on the sand).  My husband and I
even had a little time where each of us could take some photos (creative!).
It really was an example of how, when we do the work, listen
to what our hearts want, name it, and then do it, your heart and soul really have
the opportunity to come alive.  I kept
thinking yesterday to myself and the universe “more of this please”.   And I hope there are plenty more days like it
to come. 
Here are some photos I took yesterday.  I hope you all have a calm and happy day.
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 
Why “Creative Calm Connected”?

Why “Creative Calm Connected”?

If you don’t know me, or even if you do, I thought you might be wondering why I have called my blog Creative Calm Connected.  What follows is my attempt at explaining a bit about why I decided to start a blog, and why I settled on that name.

My story is not new…. A mother trying to find her purpose in life… frustrated with her career, lack of fulfillment at work. If I have to go to work I want it to be for something that makes me come alive, and justifies the time spent away from my two children.  So I have spent a bit of time this year considering what it is that I want to do.

All my life I have had dreams of being a writer.  I am an avid reader and always did well in subjects at school where writing was a focus.  I thoroughly enjoyed my studies at university, and did best when the assessment pieces were written.  My job since uni has been in the public service, where I have held a number of policy positions that require creative thought and the ability to research and write convincingly.  So in a way, I guess, I have always been writing.

But I want more than that.  I want to be a writer where I am allowed to write whatever I want to write about.  I want to put my random thoughts on paper, I want to make stories come alive, I want to be creative and not bound by bureaucratic rules and political agendas that prevent me from writing what is true or right.

So here we are.  My blog.  My little piece of the internet where I can write whatever I like.  But what am I going to write about?

While on maternity leave with my second child, I have been able to really get back into reading.  I have been reading lots of fiction, but have also decided this year to read more non-fiction too.  I have really enjoyed books about self-improvement, like Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey, and Happy Mama by Amy Taylor-Kabbaz.  One book
in particular, connected with me and sparked my inspiration to have a go at changing my life from the mundane to one where I can sparkle from the inside.  The book is called The Desire Map:  a guide to creating goals with soul by Danielle LaPorte.

In essence, LaPorte suggests that in order to live our best lives, to honour our souls and be the happiest we can be, we should connect with what she terms our core desired feelings. These will lead us to make better decisions about what we want to do with our life, fulfill us and connect us to the deeper parts of ourselves that often get overlooked when we are goal setting or planning for the future.  She suggests that “everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way”.

This passage on page 39 of La Porte’s book explains a bit more and resonated with me:

Core desired feelings originate deep within us and make themselves known when we take the time to listen.  They do not change with circumstances…  They are “the soul cry”…it is good to remember that the soul always desires that which will reveal its true nature…. When we are able to recognise our core desired feelings as sparks of divinity that can begin the illumination of our life, there is a feeling of ahh… we are unveiling what is already there…there is a sense of having arrived home..

There are a number of exercises in the book that help you identify what your core desired feelings are.  Having contemplated, worked and reworked, I have settled on my core desired feelings being creative, calm and connected.  In my life I want to feel:

Creative – I love using my imagination, dreaming up big ideas, blue sky thinking.  I love to read, write, crochet, knit, loom.  I love using creativity to solve problems in my clients’ bodies at Pilates.

Calm– I feel I can be at my best when I am calm.  Particularly around my children, but in all situations in life, I am a much nicer person when I’m calm.  Shouty Angry Emma disappears and I have more patience, clarity of thought and a more positive outlook on things when I’m calm.  I want this to be at the essence of who I am every day.  Things that make me feel calm include snuggling up with my husband and/or kids, reading a good book, meditating, the mindfulness of Pilates, crocheting, being with really good friends, going to the beach, writing, holidays.  In my mind, being calm doesn’t mean that I can’t be excited about things.  Quite the opposite.  It means instead, calming the inner rage that sometimes gets in the way of me being truly present in the moment.  It means I am not fighting with the pressure/anger/frustration of the moment and am open to the possibilities that are in front of me.

Connected– I hate to be alone.  I get sad, lonely and deflated if I am not around people regularly.  I get my energy by connecting with others.  In my life I want to be connected to myself (who I really am at my core), to others (my family, friends, colleagues, clients, etc.), and to the universe (something that is bigger than us….I’m not quite sure what this is for me yet, but it might be spirituality??).

So there we have it.  In my life, I want to feel creative, calm and connected.  Having identified these core desired feelings I can make better choices about what I want to do by asking myself if the
option at hand will allow me to feel one of these feelings.  If not, it probably isn’t the right option for me right now.

This blog is my musings on life and will connect back each time to one or more of those three themes. It is my dream that by sharing my thoughts, we will create a place where like-minded people can journey together to discover who it is they want to be, and how to live their best life.

On the blog I will post about my thoughts, my life and whatever else comes to mind that may help me, and subsequently readers, live a more creative, calm, connected life.

I will post thoughts that inspire me, ideas I have tried, reviews of things that help me achieve a creative, calm and connected life.  I will share websites, insights and ideas as well as seek input from readers.

It is my hope that you enjoy your time here as much as I enjoy writing for you.

If you feel like it, maybe you could share what you think your core desired feelings would be.  How would you most like to feel in life?

Until next time,

E xx