Goodbye 2014

They say that the only time in life that you should look back is to see how far you’ve come – and what a year 2014 has been. I look back on the past with an epic, larger than life smile on my face – so here I say thank you and good bye.

To say that 2014 started off with a bang could not be any further from the truth. 2014 was brought in quietly and sombrely, the fact I even made it there was a surprise to me. Broken and fragile I brought the year in and wanted nothing more than to just be by myself and wish that enough time would go by so that I could forget every emotion and memory. Time heals wounds… yeah I think not… enough time passes and eventually (hopefully) you forget and learn to move on. So looking back, I remember that I was a broken, fragile, shadow of my former self both figuratively and physically…and now well… I feel empowered, invigorated, the best form of myself that I have ever been and so ready to take on whatever is in store for me. Let’s do this 2015…

So what changed? Where do I start?

“Just Breathe”

I spent the start of the year just surviving. Day by day, step by step, breath by breath. I found myself in so many moments where I just had to take a step back and say ‘Just breathe’, whether it was someone who pissed me off, something that brought back a memory or just anything, those two simple words and that concept was what kept me alive – literally.

Returning to yoga and taking time out for myself helped me get in touch with what was going on. Having the awareness to ‘just breathe’ and take a step back saved me from getting myself into so many situations – from reacting really. Such a fundamental concept that we often take for granted, reminding yourself to just breathe takes you back into the moment and separates you from the situation so you can really monitor, face and watch your emotions pass you by and stop you from reacting to an emotion.

“Let it Go”

To quote, Elsa from Frozen – Let it go, let it go…

February took me back to my roots yet again. Sydney, I love you but you were too much, too soon for me on my return and assimilating to my old life was not as easy as I thought it would be. On a plane and back to Sri Lanka… to a place in the hills known as Nilambe Meditation Retreat after a few days in Nuwara Eliya and World’s End. A weekend of trekking and playing in nature was exactly what the doctor ordered and to finish it off with a week in a meditation centre away from everything, no electricity and no communication with others was bliss.

To this day I will say that this place saved my life, I was able to find my centre and take the time out to focus on myself. I recommend that every person regardless of your spiritual or religious background take up meditation and take the time to get in touch with your inner self. Nilambe brought me back to my roots – the lessons I learnt about Buddhism as a child but have somehow forgotten along the way. Nilambe taught me the importance of self-acceptance, understanding emotions, causes for suffering but most importantly got me on the path to learning how to let go. Let go of attachment, of desire and most of all self-hatred. Forgive yourself, learn to love and create distance from situations because the more you hold onto something the more you end up hurting yourself, not anyone else.

Let it go and set yourself free – Thank you Nilambe (and you too Elsa)

“Being strong doesn’t always mean you have to fight the battle. True strength is being adult enough to walk away from the nonsense with your head held high”

April saw my 28th birthday (one that I never thought I’d get to, this time last year), a renewed affirmation to being true to myself, starting again and to making this year count. I can proudly say that 28 you’ve come with a lot of lessons but you’ve been one of the best years of my life so far.

I was suffering through a lot of work drama so I resigned. I was ready to pack it all up and leave – don’t get me wrong I’m not a quitter normally, but sometimes you just need to know when to walk away and enough was enough. This was by far one of the best decisions of my life… initially 28 was meant to be about putting me first and doing what I needed to do, a lot of this pertained to my personal life but by quitting my job I was catapulted into a completely different direction career wise. I learnt to back myself, back my skill and the fact that I know I can get things done. If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s hard to get others to believe in you. Walking away and giving up doesn’t mean you’re weak – maybe there is just something better out there for you.

You can’t change how people treat you or what they say about you. All you can do is change how you react to it. How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

As a self-confessed control freak it’s very hard to understand that you can’t control everything, especially other people. 2014 had me meeting a lot of people who were very different to me, some in a good way, others great and then there were the not so fun. Despite trying to be kind and keep an open heart always some people just don’t want a bar of it and will continue to treat others badly. And you know what – that is on them.

I learnt that I will no longer pay the price for the insecurities of others, but just because they act a certain way it does not mean I will stoop to their level and act like them.

I cannot control them but I can control how I behave – i.e when a guy kicks you out of his house for not wanting to sleep with him, it’s not on you.. it’s on them (note to self: also never date a guy who uses snapchat). If your gut tells you he’s a control freak, walk away because no one should ever make you feel like you’re not worthy.

After keeping to myself for a really long time after falling for someone who was clearly not for me, I could’ve sat and wallowed like I did before but this time I’ve learnt to pick myself up, not react to them but just move on for myself.

Be thankful…#blessed

Most of all 2014 has taught me the meaning of being thankful and helped me understand how blessed I am. Through everything that I have been through I have been supported by amazing family and friends. I was able to take yet another step back and realise how lucky and fortunate I am for all my blessings – most of all my parents and my brother who have stood by me through the thick, thin, beautiful and ugly. Thank you to my friends, old and new – the people who’ve been there for me for many years before this one, the ones who left and made space for the new souls to enter my life both near and far. Happiness has truly come from being thankful for everything I have and for seeing the blessings in the small things.

I have absolute faith that whatever happened has happened for a reason and I am so thankful that it has brought me here… I know in my heart and soul that I am exactly where I’m meant to be.

2015 I cannot wait to see what you have in store for me… let’s do this…

 

Silent Ambiguity

I took a step back today. I’m trying to find my feet and voice again so I went back to the beginning. I want to ensure I never stray too far from my roots…

This is my space to break my silence.

They lied when they said ‘words will never hurt me’. They do. They are inextricably linked to actions and sometimes are more hurtful. Emotions are difficult to deal with and often need to be expressed. But not always to the people you feel them towards.

This is my space to make sense of my ambiguity.

Responses to situations need to be lined with thought and devoid of irrationality. I find difficulty in separating my logic and emotion. I am often misunderstood. My honesty is often interpreted badly. Life is confusing. Interactions with people are filled with uncertainty. I am often consumed with self doubt. But I don’t understand why.

This is my space to be myself.

There is nothing remarkable about who I am, what I do or where I am going except that it is my journey. Growing up is never easy, nor is it complete or achievable on one’s own. We make choices that change the course of our lives and I need space to discuss and express them even if no one else is listening. But I am not here to justify myself.

This is me… today…

Chances – Enough is Enough

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”

How do you know when to stay and when to walk away? How do you know when it’s okay to let someone back in?

I’ve spent the last few days at a company offsite down the coast. I wouldn’t say it’s been in the middle of nowhere but it’s been pretty remote (I’ve had no cell reception. Best. Thing. Ever) and been three hours down the coast from Sydney. A beautiful combination of the bush and beach right at our doorsteps; Fresh air; Waking up and going to sleep hearing the sounds of the crashing waves – it’s actually been quite magical and just the escape from Sydney has been exactly what the doctor ordered.

Then there was the work part.

So a little bit of background, I resigned from my job a few months ago and was lucky enough to be seconded to a different part of the business doing something that was completely out of my comfort zone and an epic learning experience for me. I spent the first few weeks just trying to get me head around it all and was working for this girl who neither my friend nor enemy. It was an odd fit and a massive clash in personalities and backgrounds. I sucked it up and just did what I needed to do, keeping my connection to the executive in charge of our group. My contract and secondment came to its end and I was up for renewal, a few days before I was about to just leave and not turn back. During the renewal process, I managed to renegotiate the soft terms of my agreement and stay on but change my reporting line to the executive manager. Taking on a management role is not something new to me but being part of this kind of team has been. I am an accountant – a business partner through and through and now I am hanging out with the Sales team. It is a very different kind of culture and a very different way of doing things and has been quite the learning process for me. The biggest challenge though has been manoeuvring my way through this maze of personal relationships and different personalities – and especially dealing with this previous ‘manager’.
Needless to say the weeks leading up to this offsite have been interesting, I have been overwhelmed with many mixed emotions – excitement, apprehension, anxiety and concern. Most of which sound like they are negative but sometimes I definitely feel that you need the negative energy to get through… like some sort of adrenaline.

I was told that the team of 8 would be split up between girls and boys in terms of the sleeping arrangements, which for most people would be normal and all good – except not for me. I am one of three girls in the team and the two other girls are the only two people in the team that I don’t really hang out with. In fact they are the two that I have little to no relationship with. None.

Cue the anxiety and concern.

So this girl… for the last few weeks – we have barely had a conversation let alone exchange a hello and now I am supposed to spend three days with her and pretend that we have this amazing personal relationship. I am great at many things but being fake and pretending is not really one of them. I am a very cut the bullshit kind of person and I just have not been feeling this. She is also somewhat passive aggressive and insecure about everything to do with me so I had no idea how this was going to pan out.

Day one we sat next to each other at lunch and then helped prepare dinner. She sat next to me at dinner and made a remark that we actually did have quite a bit in common (we both have cats and like the same music – that’s it)

Day two was completely random. The morning was spent separately – the boys went out and did the bonding thing I was the only girl who was up and out early doing yoga and going for a run whilst the other two did the whole domesticated thing. Come midday and break time though she finally decided to make more of an effort and strike up a conversation we even went outside and went on the swings together plus for a little walk/bike ride. Through the day we continued to chat and at dinner we sat opposite each other and continued to chat.

Day three was less intense, we did the separate morning thing but now I wonder what’s going on. At what point do I forget all the other stuff and think or hey she’s being alright maybe this is ok? Or do I just take it with a grain of salt because the chances are she is going to go back to how she was previously the second we get back to Sydney. Is this just a show for the rest of the sales leaders to show that she is playing nice because she’s had so many personality clashes? Or is this actual a permanent change and she is trying to make a difference?

I’ve spent the good part of this year on a spiritual journey, trying to centre myself and make peace with a lot of things in my past and present in preparation for my future. A lot of this journey has been tied to returning to my Eastern roots and the lessons Buddhism taught me when I was very young.
Learning to let go and the notion of forgiveness – forgiveness to oneself and forgiveness of others. By holding onto disliking someone or negative energy you end up hurting yourself. Your body is filled with anger and hatred and it takes over to the point that it’s so hard to let good things in. I don’t want to be like that. At the pinnacle of all the issues with her I was so tense and anxious because of everything that was going on that it took a massive toll on my body. I was engulfed in this intense physical pain to the point where I collapsed from the anxiety and mental stress of it all. After that point I vowed to just let it all go and to not let it get to me and it was working. I kepy my distance and my bubble and was not affected by anything to do with her.
I didn’t forgive her for anything but it was more like I forgave myself. So in letting things go and taking it all as it came I was in a much better place. But now and I sit what to do next – what do I make of this situation? Of her trying to make an effort? I don’t want to be in a place where it’s like history repeating itself and the same thing happens over and over again. But what does this mean in terms of forgivness? Where do I go from here?
I guess it will be another case of taking as it comes – I’ll see how she acts on Monday and perhaps that will tell me what my course of action is because I do believe that at some point you just have to let go of people and focus on yourself.

Only you know when enough is enough.

Frenemies

I’ve never been a Mean Girl and I will never be a Mean Girl.  It’s just not in my DNA.  I’m sure that in the depths of my soul I can bring it out but I just see no need.  So why is it that other girls have that on as their default?

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a couple of weeks now but every time I try I avoid it like the plague and then later on I try and recall where my head was at but it’s all disappeared. Avoidance, selective memory – call it what you will, but today it’s back and it’s here to stay.

Ten years ago I finished high school and embarked on the real world.  The years of playground politics and bitchy high school students ruled by their hormones were over.  To be quite honest I wasn’t really exposed to that growing up despite the fact I went to an all girls’ private school in Sydney.  You know those inspirational quotes about females who work to empower other women, support and nurture them etc… well that’s what my girlfriends were like.  Don’t get me wrong we were all somewhat competitive but it was healthy competition not driven out of envy or jealousy.  We worked together so as a collective we all looked good.  This extended not only academically but in our personal lives as well.  Each one of my girlfriends were stunningly beautiful in their own right.  We were all unique and had different things to offer and together we were united and always there to help each other.  This was my high school experience and no we were not the mean girls either, we just all did our thing and accepted one another.

Turns out that my high school experience is not what tales are made of nor was it a realistic depiction of what was yet to come.  At the young age of 17 I took my first corporate job at a hotel chain.  Life was fun – we worked hard and we played hard.  It was just the culture of the organisation, everyone was young and just starting out.  I made two amazing friends whilst I was there, both of whom were a good 3 – 4 years older than me but they have been everlasting.  They transitioned into my group of highschool friends so easily and it was like we’d all grown up together.  I stayed at that company for a few years and then moved on but we’ve stayed friends, best friends actually.  We’ve known each other through a lot.

Now cut to the last 5 years – for the first time in my life I am exposed to this ‘Mean Girls’ culture and for the life of me I cannot understand it.  Everything that goes on there is always an undercurrent of bitchiness and the need to exercise superiority by excluding others and I just cannot make heads nor tails of it.  I thought with age and as people are further from highschool the playground politics dissipate.

No… they just get worse.

In recent years there has been a growing existence of the term ‘frenemy’ – apparently this is the making of corporate culture… women in the corporate world.  My last three jobs have brought my face to face with these kind of people.  A frenemy is a perfectly composed amalgamation of the words ‘fr(iend) and enemy which refers to someone who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy otherwise known as a wolf in sheep’s clothing or my favourite Satan in disguise. These people are toxic – their poisonous venom once circulating through your mind is like a nuclear bomb in your brain and heart.  At my latest job, females are few and far between so naturally I thought they’d work together and want others to hang out with.

Wrong yet again.

It seems like the less females there are the more frenemy like they all behave.  You couple jealousy, insecurity, immaturity and an overall sense of fear and inadequacy and that is what the culture is breeding.  Never have I ever felt like an outside until I started working at this organisation.  There is this abnormal competition for the affections of the few semi decent males here and for the admiration from the senior executive team.  I am all about letting my performance speak for itself but in this organisation in order to get through a day and appease the rollercoaster which is my bosses moods I have to throw in a comment about how lovely her hair looks or how she’s losing weight.  It feels forced and unnatural.  I have worked on a better approach of trying to be genuinely interested in the calamity that is her life (first world problems) or try and be a good girlfriend to her because I have been so blessed to have the angels I have grown up with but this is still not enough. Some of these people despite your best efforts still continue to exclude and just be overall bitches for the sake of it.  I have now come to accept the fact that they just DO NOT like me and I can finally stop trying to make an effort.

Sorry but my gripe is not over…as the thing that gets to me the most is that throughout life I have been taught to treat others with kindness and I have never been one of those girls who exclude others.  I try and smile as much as possible and when there is someone new I make sure I talk to them because it’s not fun being the newbie but apparently these courtesies are not practiced by the general population. As children when you have something like people excluding you or stealing your toys happen to you, you can sit and cry… but as a grown up, how are you supposed to deal with it? 

Do I continue to be nice and get a dagger in my heart every time I am excluded from a group event?  Do I start inviting them out?  Or do I just choose to give up and let bitches be bitches and play that at their own game?  I just don’t know.

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is one year to the day it started.

Today is the last day I allow it to consume my thoughts.

I’ve explored the darkness enough. I’ve seen the reflection and now it’s time to move towards the light and see something else again.

Enough looking in the mirror. Let’s look outside.

The Universe

The Universe sent me this today… months ago I would not have believed it and I would not have felt this way… but today… and this year I know and feel that this is true.

Despite the trials of the past few years and the last one more specifically… I’ve come through… I thought getting to today would be a miracle… but here I am..

So grateful for my blessings.

“A few years back, not so long ago, heaven and earth erupted into a major celebration with the news of your impending adventure into this very time and space. You see, someone like you doesn’t come along all that often. In fact, there’s never been a single one like you, nor is there ever ANY possibility that another will come again. You’re an Angel among us. Someone, whose eyes see what no others will EVER see, whose ears hear what no others will EVER hear, and whose perspective and feelings will NEVER, ever be duplicated. Without YOU, the Universe, and ALL THAT IS, would be sadly less than it is.

Quite simply:

You’re the kind of person,
Who’s hard to forget,
A one-in-a-million
To the people you’ve met.
Your friends are as varied
As the places you go,
And they all want to tell you
In case you don’t know:
That you make a big difference
In the lives that you touch,
By taking so little
And giving so much!

This is going to be YOUR year!! “