The WHY, WHAT, WHEN and HOW of ‘Friday, Monday, Thursday.’

This morning (Thursday) my shift started at 6:00am . . . and so I was up at 5am, planning to be out the door by 5:22am to catch the 5:27am tram.  But I was ready 10 minutes earlier than expected . . . and so I decided to check ‘Tram Tracker’ to see if the 5:19am was running.  And I’m SO glad I did, because that was when I discovered that the next tram to arrive was not for 27 minutes . . . a quick calculation in my head confirmed that my 5:27am was not running this morning.

The next tram would be at 5:39am . . . getting me to my work stop at 5:49am, from where I then have to walk 10 minutes, catch a lift up several floors, to collect the keys, to then run up a floor, to unlock and open up my department, and get changed into my scrubs . . . all by 6:00am.  Hmm . . . with a big day ahead and a few extra things to prepare as ‘worded up’ by my Anaesthetist the night before . . . I needed to gather every minute possible.  How was I going to do this? . . . I could drive! But I don’t have a staff car park card that enables me to park for $17, so that means I’d have to pay $35.  And then I remembered . . . .

. . .  back two weeks ago on a Friday . . . in preparing for the following Monday’s operating list, my surgeon had an appointment he had to get to and so in order to make that happen, it was all arranged that on Monday we would start at 630am.

This meant that on Monday I had to be at work by 530am . . .which means leaving home at 5am . . . which means getting up at 445am.  Thankfully one of my colleagues knowing I travel by tram, prompted me as to how I would get to work in time for that.  And thankfully another of my colleagues was right there to provide the solution for this.  ‘Pay Stay’ is the parking app I had to download in order to park at the location I was advised to . . . and given the hour of the day . . . there would be no issue of availability.

Come Monday morning . . . I was up and out the door . . . and on my way to work.  I found my street and parked in the very first space . . . prime location!  I keyed in the parking code and my rego into the parking app and set it to start . . . how convenient is all of this!  No need for coins and dashboard tickets anymore!  Then I set off on foot for work . . . a 10 minute walk away.  Then at the end of my shift I returned to my car, hit stop on the parking app, and it deducted $6.92  . . . the exact amount of funds for my time, and Voila!  How easy was that!

Now come forward to today on this Thursday morning . . . knowing where to park and how to use the app, I was confident of my journey.  Arriving at work, collecting the keys, unlocking my department, changing into my scrubs . . . it was a smooth process  . . . and I was on time.

And so I now realised . . . in hindsight . . .

The ’why’ behind the ’what for’. . .  ‘when it happened’ and ‘how come?’

The reason Why: I had to have such an early start on that Monday morning previous . . .

What for: so I could learn and discover my ‘parking’ need, and have opportunity to get the info from my colleagues (on the Friday prior) in preparation for it.

When it happened: Monday’s planned extra early shift had to happen before Thursday’s unplanned tram absence.

How come: because if it had been in reverse, the parking location and ‘Pay Stay’ app I used on Thursday due to the absence of my tram, I would not have come to know about until Friday in preparation for Monday’s planned extra early start.  Or if you like . . . I needed Friday first, so I could prepare for Monday, which would save me on Thursday.

And so I can see the ‘order’ of it all . . . and why it had to happen the way that it did.

So that everything could work out in my favour!

The order was perfect.   Any other order would have been the wrong way around.

While at the time of it, I didn’t like the extra early Monday start . . . but it was because I had forewarning of it on the Friday before, that I was able to plan and prepare for it.  Then this morning, I was now feeling SO grateful for that extra early Monday start . . . because it prepared me to know what to do today (Thursday) . . . when faced with that which I had not known was ahead . . . the absent tram!  And because of that . . . I was on time, my day went smoothly, and without any outrageous parking price to pay for being unprepared.  $8.80 hurts a lot less than $35.

Life: It is a process!  Understand it not? 

But doubt it less, and tighten its knot!

Life IS a process!  And while we don’t always understand it, we need to doubt the order of the process less, and hold on tight until we get to the other side of it.

Trust the order of it all.  Be confident on the journey.  Knowing that you have been / or will be equipped with what you need at the right time, for the right situation.

Sometimes we don’t know what we know until we see the events in hindsight.  And then we have the answer as to why it had to happen that way.

And while there may still be a cost . . .  it’s nowhere near what it could have been.

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If you cant find it, then make it.

Car smash

A few months ago I was driving along Mt Alexander road in the right hand lane. The traffic ahead had stopped as they were turning right, but were giving way to oncoming traffic.  I was going straight ahead and so I indicated and moved across to my left hand lane.  As I drove past the line of stationary traffic on my right, there was a ‘suddenly’ moment when a vehicle pulled out and connected with the front side panel of my car … at which time the right lane traffic must have started to move … as ‘we’ (me and my new unwanted accessory) moved through the intersection like we were ‘one’ vehicle.  I had nowhere to move left away from her, as we were ‘one’ vehicle, 2 cars wide, and in my lane . . . so as we’re moving together, I’m glaring at her through my window, literally screaming at her “GET  OFF  OF  ME!!!!”   She ‘eventually’ moved right … back into her own lane … and then we were able to pull over.

We exchanged license, phone no, address and car details, took photos, and went our separate ways.  We were both insured, and she admitted fault.  Her car was barely damaged other than some minor scratches on the side from where we were connected.  I still don’t understand how her passenger corner wasn’t damaged given the damage it did to my ‘Buka’ (Book-ah-ta! Zambian, meaning ‘gift from God’).

As I drove away I asked God, (rather agessively) “Why? Why did we have to collide like that?”  I had been on my way to a voice lesson, driving in my lane, and then suddenly, either she didn’t look, or when she looked I was in her blind spot, and now as a result, this has happened.  What is the purpose in this?  Why?!?!?!? God! Why????

That evening, (let’s call her) … ‘Mary’ called to say that she had called her insurer and learnt that she had missed her last insurance payment … thus she is uninsured.  So I contacted my insurer, giving Mary’s details so they could process the claim directly to her.  The process thereafter was quite frustrating.  My insurer advised me there was nothing closer to home, and so sent me to a smash repairer 30 minutes away, and nowhere near public transport.  I didn’t know how I was going to work this out, but I went ahead and got the quote anyway.  Then the guy doing my quote advised me of repair centres much closer to home.  Frustrated by the differing information … he then amplified that with the words “Given the age of the car, we may well just ‘write it off’ as not worth repairing.”   Now I’m frustrated and distressed!  This is Buka we are talking about here!  You can’t just write her off!  She is my gift from God, and even if she wasnt I’m not in a financial position to buy a new car, and the idea of going on the second hand search again was somewhat daunting.  “Ahhh! ! !  Why God? Why? ? ? ”  Then a few days later, the quote came back as repairable. So that was a major relief.   “Thankyou God!”

So then I began my own research, and found a smash repair centre that was close to home and with good customer reviews, so my insurer transferred my claim to them.  Making more work for myself . . . I then had to organise getting a quote done by this repairer.  Then it was about organising a date for the repairs to be done . . . which they said would take a week.  Then it was Easter holidays.  Then it was Anzac Day public holiday.  Working around their opening hours and my nursing roster, I finally worked out a day I could drop Buka off at the smash repairers . . . they could have her from Wednesday to Wednesday.  But then I realised that was a really busy week … I needed a car Wednesday night, Thursday night, Saturday, and always on a Sunday.  Public transport was not viable.  Organising lifts with people too complicated.  Hiring a rental was going to be expensive, and given this is an uninsured claim, I would have to pay the cost up front, and maybe I’d get it back on a payment plan from Mary, somewhere in the future.  But I didn’t want her to incur that added expense either.  Uber?  I used their quote app and that was going to be just as expensive as hiring a rental.  So I changed my plan.  I negotiated a shift change with a work colleague, and booked Buka in on a quieter week for the following Monday to Friday.  Hopefully that’s all it takes.

So on that Monday morning I dropped Buka off at the smash repair centre for her repairs . . . but instead I was advised that they’ll do a wheel alignment and a mechanical check first to make sure it’s all good to go ahead, and when they’ll be able to start those repairs.  Now I know I’m not a mechanic, but I thought those things would have been established on doing the quote?  But apparently not!  While waiting for that report … I felt like I was right back at the start again … revisiting the whole question of whether ‘Buka’ would be written off or not . . .  Is she repairable . . . ?  They said she was . . . !  It was looking good . . . ?  But now they think there’s a chance there may be more damage than first thought . . . !  So will she now be deemed unrepairable based on what they find on further investigation . . . ?  “Why  God?  Why?”

It was 2 days later … once up on the hoist, Buka was found to have some ‘structural damage’  … a bent wheel strutt on the right.  In that moment I wondered “What does that mean?  The damage IS definitely worse than first thought!   Does this mean she’s now ‘deemed’ not worth repairing after all?  “Why  God!  Why?”  But apparently not! … She still comes in as repairable.  What a relief! “Thankyou God!”

But it does increase the time they need to have Buka in the ‘workshop’ to be able to complete the repairs.   And so it was, Buka was out of action for 9 days in total.  And when I picked her up . . . Buka was looking great!  No sign of where the damage had been done.  No more of that clunking noise every time I opened my door and the two damaged panels collided.  Fully repaired and running like she should.

car repair

Life!!!!
Why do we have to collide with situations and circumstances that bring challenges causing frustration and distress?  Sometimes it’s our own doing … or ‘undoing’ you might say.  And sometimes it’s not.

From Mary’s perspective:
We all make mistakes.  We all have blind spots.   We can’t avoid/prevent what we didn’t see. That’s why it’s called a blind spot . . . because we are blinded to it, or by it.
From my perspective:
I was in my lane, following the road rules, then bang!   Thanks for the inconvenience and the turmoil to my life.

And … so it is in life!…
Life is staggered with ‘stuff’ …  inconveniences and challenges … but without them, where would our growth come from?   Sometimes the situation or circumstance is repairable, and sometimes it’s not.

As it was with Buka:

  • sometimes it’s about timing and schedules … and the time required with the repairer to complete the repairs to be up and running again.
  • sometimes the damage is deeper than first thought.
  • the damage is still deemed repairable, but it’s gonna need more time in the workshop, than first thought.
  • with a complete repair, there was no evidence of the damage that occurred, as a result of the collision that took place, which under different circumstances (no blind spots, looking properly and seeing) might have been avoided.

But that wasn’t how the situation played out . . . and all the ‘wishing’ it didn’t happen wasn’t going to change that.  If only she hadn’t pulled out of her lane.  What if I hadn’t changed lanes.  So that same afternoon I made the decision to find ‘some good’ out of this saga . . . and if I couldn’t find it . . . then I would make some good.  However, due to the nature of the incident I decided to wait until the repairs on Buka were all done.  For whatever reason, I feared any communication with Mary before that time, might jeopardise my repairs.  So once the repairs were done, I followed up on that ‘make some good’ and I sent Mary a card in the mail to say “Thankyou” (for admitting her fault and accepting responsibility) with a little gift of ‘encouragement’ inside.  I don’t say this to boast, (at least I got it ‘right’ THIS time, or I think so?), but rather to show that I could see it from her perspective.  I had to acknowledge that.  I wanted to acknowledge that.  Even though I knew it was an accident … thus unintentional … I guess it was for me an act of forgiveness for the inconvenience.   And maybe for Mary it gave her some ‘relief’ as well . . . because at the time of the accident when we exchanged our details, I was trembling like a leaf on a very windy day, caught up in my own trauma of the situation.  But on later reflection, I remembered Mary’s demeanour, I recognised and interpreted that ‘look’ in her eyes that said to me that she was struggling with more than just this accident.

I’m sure we’ve all been in life situations (not just on the road) where we’ve had a blind spot, looked and not seen something we should have, or just didn’t even take the time to look, see, hear or listen properly.  Then in hind sight we’ve regretted (and maybe even berated ourselves) for not having looked, seen, heard or listened properly.

In every situation and encounter:

always endeavour in looking … to actually see. 

and in listening … to truly hear.

And so I concluded that while I can’t ‘fix’ Mary’s internal struggle, I can do what I can to ‘make some good’ in this situation in which we collided … and who knows the impact of , and where that piece of ‘good’ will take Mary on her journey …

Ephesians 4:32 says … be kind to one another … and sensitive …

And a quote I like by an unknown author:
Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always.

So be kind and sensitive to those in your world today … especially those with who you collide!  Because maybe they need your ‘kindness and sensitivity’ the most…

Nooo . . . please, not my phone!

Today was just like any other Saturday . . . with a list of 101 things to do on my ‘to do’ list.  It was in the middle of achieving this list, while I was in K-mart that I reached in to my back pocket for my phone . . . Ahhh . . . my phone?  Not in my back pocket? I quickly dropped my Coles bag (where I’d been previously) so both hands would be free to search . . . my other back pocket, my front pockets, my jacket pockets, my very small handbag . . . back to my back pockets . . . really, it’s not like a phone can get lost in your jeans pockets?

So then began the mad rush to retrace my steps . . .  but in my panicked state of mind, I couldn’t remember where I had been . . . and so I was running here and there, dodging and darting between fellow shoppers this way and that, in the hopes of finding my phone still on the shelf where I must have put it down to look at something.

Think Helen!  Think!  What had I come to K-mart for?  A lazy susan and a whiteboard . . . so I ran back to both of those places in the hope that I would find it there . . . but No!

I had made an exchange at customer service, so I ran back there and asked the store assistant if I’d left it on the counter?  But No! I hadn’t done that either. 

I asked if she could call my phone for me.  And so she did . . . BUT  NOT  BEFORE  she finished serving the customer she was already serving.  I understand that’s not unreasonable for that customer, and that the store assistant owes me nothing, but from my perspective this was a moment to prioritise tasks as you would ‘desire’  if you were in the same situation.  As I stood there watching her put those photos in to the envelope, chatting to her work colleague, I felt like she had no understanding at the urgency of the situation.  This was a critical situation!  A time critical situation!  The difference between my phone still being on a shelf somewhere, and someone finding it and putting it in their pocket and walking away with it.

As she dialled my number . . . I wasn’t sure if I wanted someone to answer it or not.  I had hoped someone would answer saying “Yes, it’s been handed in at . . . “ but no, no one answered the call.

I had two images running through my mind . . . one of my phone sitting on a shelf somewhere . . . if only I knew where that was . . .  and another image of it in the hands of someone having just ‘received’ a brand new google Pixel phone.

I had no faith in the ‘goodness’ of someone to hand it in . . . I thought for sure it must be gone, and it’s just a matter of time before I will have to face the fact that I’m spending my afternoon sorting out a new phone, or at least reconnecting my former phone.

But just in case that’s not the case . . .  I resumed my crazy lady rampage around the store . . . remembering that I had checked out some plastic containers . . . No! Not there? 

“Please God!” I prayed, “not my phone.  Please take me to my phone . . . remind me where I left it.  Yes, it’s insured.  But that’s beside the point.”  Then I remembered . . . I’m on call for work for the weekend.  I’m now uncontactable . . . and that was the link to a whole new level of stress. In my own moment of crisis, I was now uncontactable for any hospital emergency requiring surgery.  Aghh!!!!!

Then I remembered an earlier ‘incident’ . . . I had sneezed unexpectedly . . . and with my current head cold . . . that was a tissue moment (sometimes life is messy) . . . so I had quickly ducked in to an aisle to give ‘the situation’ the attention it required.  But yet again at this place of my ‘situation recovery’ my phone was not there either!

Then I remembered across the corridor is a Telstra Shop . . . and since I’m one of their valued customers   . . . maybe they can help?  So I approached the counter . . . and found a store assistant who was not busy with another customer . . . and she was immediately helpful.  I typed in my gmail account on her phone . . . and there was the problem . . . my password . . . what is my password?  This is the very reason, I have an app on my phone that stores all my passwords . . . I just never considered the situation of losing my phone.

First attempt  =  Incorrect password.

Second attempt =  this password was changed 12 months ago (now that’s helpful – NOT!)

Third attempt = and the green circle is rolling . . . . and I’m in!  The store assistant is just as excited as I am, and then does whatever she does to track my phone . . . . and it starts searching . . . . and . . .  it’s located at Coles!  And I’m running . . . as she’s telling me she’s set it to sound an alarm in 5 minutes . . . long enough for me to get there . . . (Im wondering . . . will I be tracking that sound to the shelf space where I left it?  Or will I be confronted with a situation of having to recover my phone from someone whose pocket starts alarming?) . . . along the corridor . . . down the escalator “Excuse me!”  and again  “Excuse me!”  (and remembering I’ve just left my shopping at Telstra) out the plaza doors . . .  across the pedestrian crossing . . . through the plaza doors . . . and as I’m approaching Coles . . . I remembered using my phone after having been in Coles . . . so I knew it wasn’t there, unless it’s on the move . . . and I’m not hearing any alarms in the plaza yet . . . and that after Coles, I’d then gone to the $2 Supa Bargain store next door . . . where I’d been looking for plastic containers for a storage solution for my freezer . . . and so I had had my phone out looking at ‘notes’ while measuring different size containers and comparing them with the size of my freezer space that I needed them to fit in to . . . and as I raced to the counter of the $2 Supa Bargain Store . . .  inconsiderate of the queue of customers waiting to be served . . . I blurted out to the store assistant in my out of breath, head cold voice “Has anyone handed in a phone?  A google pixel phone?” . . . and there I saw it sitting on the counter . . . and she handed it over to me!  I thanked her, and everyone in the queue . . . and I could tell by the smiles on their faces . . . that they understood my plight!

Screenshot_20170617-205355

. . . very high accuracy I’d say!

I then returned to Telstra to retrieve my shopping, and to thank the store assistant that her part in the mission was successful.  Meanwhile the search alarm had not yet gone off . . . so I disabled that, and went on my way to finish my ‘to do’ list, thanking God that He did indeed lead me to my phone . . . via Telstra and its location tracker.

I then resolved that in order to prevent this from happening again, some behaviour modification was required, and thus from here on, after using my phone, I shall endeavour to return it to some place on me, rather than putting it down on a shelf (or some such space) for it to be left behind.

And so the life lessons learned today are many:

  1. Don’t panic! It will all work out in the end . . . just that you don’t know that yet!
  2. People won’t necessarily understand or perceive the urgency of your crisis. They’ve got their own priorities and ‘stuff’ to deal with.
  3. Have faith in people to do the right thing. Such people are still out there.
  4. Always pray! Say a little prayer . . .
  5. Life can get messy . . . especially when we least expect it! Always have tissues on hand.
  6. There is always someone willing to help . . . just keep on asking til you find that someone.
  7. Show your appreciation. Remember where the help came from.  Give thanks outward and upward!
  8. Behaviour modification: make a change so as not to repeat the same incident that results in the same crisis.  A repeat event might not work out so well.  So do what you can to prevent the event!

It all starts with a single mark…

They said: “…to expand and explore our creative vocabulary…”
They said: “… art is just a series of marks, one after another…”

And so I began … It was intimidating to think outside the box … to push myself not to paint an object like a shoe, or a vase of flowers.  I can’t paint or draw anyway, so I’m better off steering away from what would only be a poor representation of such an object.  

Sitting beside me, I have a real artist, who has decided to sketch with charcoal, and stroke with her finger the facial features in gold paint … it is Brilliant! with a capital B!… like Aghhh ‘NO  PRESSURE’ to perform at all!  I really wanted to just go and sit somewhere separate, by myself, where I was not at risk of anyone’s thoughts, or even worse, actual comments.  But I stayed in my seat, and I decided on abstract.  That takes away some of the pressure of it … to have to look like any particular thing … because it is no particular thing.  It is it’s own thing.

But I was still stuck at: how to, what with, and where to make my first mark on the page.  I knew I wanted bright and colourful.  And so I started with a paint palette, squeezing out the colours that appealed to me.  

Finally I decided to just make a mark, any mark, top right, in blue, with a wooden slider thingy… Ugh! … it didn’t really give the result I was wanting … so my next move was to pick up a twig and scrape out the paint further right.  Hmm … kind of what I had in mind, but not really. 

So I decided to leave that for a bit, maybe that will develop further later … but in the meantime I’ll explore a new colour … and so enter purple!  Then red … as I explored dots using the end of a twig.  Then some more blue, parallel with the purple. And back to the red dots to enhance those from earlier, as well as adding in more red dots.  Then back to the blue … with some blue dots.  I’m having a very ‘dotty’ old time … but with no idea of what I’m creating, where it’s heading, or how it’s going to look in the end.  But it’s growing … into something? … and I’m actually starting to enjoy the ‘unknown’ of it all, the freedom to just do whatever, and see what happens!

So then let’s try some yellow, each of the 3 with something different, a brush stroke, a squiggle with a twig, and another kind of twig impression that didn’t work, so I squiggled with a twig again.  A finger print in red … my one and only unique mark contributed by the fourth finger of my right hand.  Then something extra was needed bottom left … more yellow, then green on top.  How about some green in the middle … something in the opposite direction to the blue and purple … exploring different sides of the wooden slider thingy.  Then a bit of red in with the yellow and green.  And that was where it finished.  Or at least I figured it was finished? As I didn’t know, with the tools I had, what else I could add to it.  But what is it? I don’t know?  Other than to say:  “Its just like they said it would be . . . a series of marks one after another, that were impressed on the page, as I allowed my creative vocabulary to open up to explore the possibilities of what I could do, using the tools available to me.”

And so it can be with life:

Intimidating to be your own version of you, not conforming to the norm . . . but to live outside of that box.  Not to pursue the ‘usual’ things of this world, but instead the abstract.  Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘usual’ except when ‘usual’ is not a true expression of you. 

To recognise what you can and cant do in your own ability, but still being able to allow yourself to be open to expand and explore the possibilities out there.  Dont be a ‘piece’ poor (accidental pun, but it works) representation of someone else, but be the true original ‘piece’ you were designed to be.  There will always be other ‘pieces’ around you, but dont compare, as we are all unique in the ‘art exhibition’ that is life. 

There is no pressure to perform, no reason to hide.  So make the choice to stay, and do your own thing.  Dont get stuck on the ‘how what and where’ … take that first step, use what’s available to you, and make a mark, something, anything, somewhere, anywhere on the page.

Some marks will turn out as you expect, and others not.  As you explore and expand, with ‘twigs and brushes and wooden slider thingys’, you’re all the time ‘adding on’ to a journey of  discovery and learning.  Maybe with no idea of what you’re building, or where it’s heading, or even how it’s going to look in the end … but you can see it’s growing … into something?  You’ve just got to trust the process, the process of artistic expression, as you continue to make one mark after another on the page that is your life … and most importantly, have fun doing it! 

They said: “…art is the creative expression of leaving your mark … whatever that may look like, be it in writing, in song, in paint, or whatever be your talent.”
I believe this also includes that which has been entrusted to you, for the person that you are.  Maybe you’re not artistic in the usual interpretation of the word.  But you are just as much leaving ‘a mark’ when your life expression is lived out of who you are as a stay at home parent, as an employee in your work place, as a single person, whatever your situation may be. 

So go on, show the world … What is your mark? 

Noice! Verrry Noice!

A few months back while sitting out on the balcony of my new apartment, staring into space, (inadvertently facing my neighbour’s window where the window blind was half way down), and across my view ran a waste high view of a bare chested guy!  You know that moment when all in a split second you think “Whoa!  Look away!  Don’t get sprung staring!!!”  at what was a very nice side view of a muscle bound chest and upper arm.  OBVIOUSLY ! ! ! He works out!!!  I don’t even know how I managed to think all those thoughts in such a short amount of time . . . BUT it was all over in a flash!

So as to prevent potential for any further visual images, this ‘naked run’ incident prompted me to put up a screen between us .  In any case our balconies are so close that there is no privacy if we are both wanting to enjoy the sunshine.  It’s kind of awkward, and so I find myself checking if he’s out on his, before I go out on mine.

My screen is a work in progress . . . some bamboo wrapped around two metal mesh screens . . . secured together with cable ties.  Then on my side I am decorating it with quotes and pictures, and soon some hanging plants.

Then this morning while folding some washing, I noticed out my kitchen window . . . my neighbour has stood up a screen of bamboo on his balcony.  I had to laugh . . .  but wondering at the unlikely possibility if he is offended by my putting up a screen . . . probably not!  But it was funny to consider that he might be an eye for an eye, cheek for a cheek, screen for a screen kind of man?  Or has he also realised the close proximity of our balconies and views into each other’s apartments via our kitchen windows, and decided to follow my lead?

Noice Verry Noice

As I thought more about it . . . (not seriously, but as a notion) I considered the potential for offence.  What if?  Because, I never actually mentioned to him why I put up the screen (and I’m not likely to tell him the original cause) . . . but he would have seen the wire mesh stands just appear, then later the bamboo wrapping.  But the fact that seemingly, his response was not to raise the topic with me, but to put up his own screen (albeit somewhat sparse) did strike a thought . . . and so this parallel . . .

How often in life does an incident happen (like a nudey run),

that causes a reaction (screen),

rather than a response (discussion) albeit an awkward one.

While I was putting up a screen for both our sakes, to establish a boundary line of my privacy space on my balcony (and so I cant see into his apartment), his perception of it might be that I’m putting up a wall?  Or not?  He might just really like my idea, and has implemented it for himself.   But we’ll never know if one of us doesn’t raise the topic.

On the other hand, while my screen blocks my view into his kitchen, and our view into each other’s balcony, he had nothing to block his view into my kitchen.  Now to some degree, his screen does provide that, in case I was to make the same kind of run.  Not likely!  And given my own experience, my blinds are ALWAYS down until I’m ready to face the day.  But I guess he might be exposed to me washing dishes at the sink? But that’s a clothed activity!

Life is full of incidents and mishaps, where we are vulnerable and exposed, maybe more than we wanted or expected to be.  Instead of confronting the situation with a frank, open, honest discussion about it (albeit awkward), we react by pulling away.  But nothing is resolved or clarified in the reaction of pulling away!

As with my neighbour, I don’t know his perception of the screen.  He doesn’t know my reason for the screen.  And there is a whole lot of potential for misinterpretation of and/or misunderstanding, all because an incident happened that I reacted to, which he then in turn also possibly reacted to.

Boundaries and Walls!

While boundaries are good, healthy and necessary, providing a safety net.

Walls are for hiding behind and cause isolation.

 

Don’t allow the boundaries you establish for your safety

to become walls that you hide behind while still holding on to your insecurities.

Or is it:

Don’t allow yourself with your insecurities to hide behind walls  

masquerading them as boundaries for your safety.

In both cases, you are being ripped off!

My screen boundary has potential to become a wall, and my own insecurity and lack of self confidence in talking to someone I don’t know, will only succeed in building that wall higher.  So I’m now going to talk to my neighbour . . . .

And I did!

It was awkward, starting with introductions . . . as we’ve never actually met and  introduced ourselves.  Then I just straight up asked him if my screen was okay from his side, giving both of us privacy on our balconies, and that I noticed he had done a similar thing.  His resposnse “Yeah, I saw what you did, really liked the idea, and figured I’d do the same.”

Too easy!

Awkward discussion not as awkward as anticipated.  Possible thoughts, concerns and perceptions not even an issue.  It was ALL good, we just hadn’t communicated on it.  And now I know my neighbour  . . .  Win!  Win!

The Nurse in me!

In my day to day paid employment I’m an Anaesthetic Nurse.  That is (in short) to assist the Anaesthetist in their role of putting the patient to sleep for their surgery, keeping them asleep throughout, and to wake them up on completion of their surgery.

Last week, with a patient asleep on the operating table, I was taking off a blood sample from their arterial line, which is a small plastic tube that sits in the artery (usually at the wrist) giving us a second by second blood pressure reading on our monitor.  However as I pulled back on the syringe, I failed to extract the sample.  Assuming it was a positional issue, I requested assistance in pulling the patient’s wrist back so I could complete my task.  Then my anaesthetist advised me that it wasn’t the position of the patient’s wrist that was the problem, but rather my technique.  Whaaaat ? ! ? !

He was accusing me of rushing!!!  That I was pulling back too hard and fast on the plunger of the syringe, thereby causing the artery to collapse, thus making it impossible to extract the blood sample I needed.  Hmmm . . . . the irony here is that this Anaesthetist (and his constant demands), was the reason for my rushing, in order to keep up with his requests.  He had already expressed I was not moving fast enough  . . .  and here he is now telling me to slow down?

At the time of taking this sample, I had already backed off from my break neck speed (so as not to risk injuring myself after a couple of near misses already), so I now felt I was moving at a pace more in line with ‘reasonable’ expectations.  But seemingly, according to him, I was still rushing . . . and the patient’s artery was demonstrating its agreeance with him.

I did heed his advice though, and on my next attempt, I was somewhat gentler on the pressure I held as I pulled back the plunger of the syringe.  And what do you know!!! The blood flowed back easily, and I was able to take my sample.

Life lessons learned are sometimes not about position, but about technique. 

  • When too much pressure is applied in getting what we want or need, the result can sometimes be that that ‘thing’ collapses.
  • Changing position is not necessarily going to make any difference, as the problem is not with the position, but with the technique.
  • Thus the only solution to the problem is to change the technique, slow down, don’t rush, allow the ‘thing’ (in my case – the artery) to return to normal capacity, and try again at a slower pace.

Like my Anaesthetist, we can all be oblivious to the pressure (by our requests or demands) we are putting on another person, or sometimes even on ourselves.

Like myself, we can all be oblivious to the fact that we’re still rushing, even though we think we’ve backed off or slowed down our pace.  We think we’re moving at a normal pace of a reasonable standard … but apparently not.   Sometimes it takes someone else to tell us that we’re rushing in order for us to see that … and sometimes even then, we still can’t see it.

But as I learnt with my Anaesthetist, as much as he can try to rush me by placing constant requests and demands on me, it’s up to me as to how I respond to that.  So long as my patient is safe and receives the proper care due to them, my priority has to be for myself and my own safety.  I am no good to anyone if I injure myself in the process.

And so it is with life . . . it’s up to each of us to navigate our own response to each situation, not allowing ourselves to be rushed at a pace that feels unsafe.  We can only be the best version of ourselves, when we have prioritised our ‘self’ so as to reach that.

Thus I believe we can all do with taking time to:

  1. identify the signals of applying too much pressure.
  2. recognise the potential for collapse before the actual collapse.
  3. in the event of collapse, know how to back off accordingly so as to get the desired outcome from the situation.

Mondo (you) Rock!

IMG_20170410_172323

A month or so ago, ‘Mondo’ (the vacuum cleaner I’d been given when I moved in to my new home), stopped working.  He was second hand, but still, I was disappointed that he gave up after such a short time together.  But then on investigation, I discovered he didn’t have a bag inside. Doh!!!!  And as a result, Mondo had now over heated, stopped working, and there was ‘a smell’ I hadn’t noticed before.
“How could you be so stupid?” you might ask.
To which I would reply “I don’t know, but I’ve asked myself the same thing over and over again.”

At that time, I removed Mondo’s filter, gave him a good clean, put a bag in him, and tried him again, but Mondo still wasn’t working.  I concluded that what Mondo really needed was another vacuum cleaner to suction out all that dust from his ‘inner parts’.  So I took Mondo up to Godfrey’s to see if they could fix him. For a $10 fee Mondo received a thorough suction out with a high power vacuum … but alas … much to my dismay … that still wasn’t enough.  I had hoped that a good Godfrey suction would do the trick.  But I was again disappointed.  Not even Godfrey’s could fix this issue … but they did offer to dispose of him for me, to which I declined and left with my dead Mondo.

Later that evening, when I felt that Mondo had had sufficient time to cool down, I gave him another go … plugged him into power, and hit the button … NOTHING!  All that achieved was to reinforce those feelings of regret over my not having checked for a bag.  I guess the filter had blocked and the engine was now burnt out.  So rather than repeat and confirm that over and over again, I decided that the damage had been done.  The indicator was fully red instead of green.  Mondo was now kaput, beyond repair, finished, and dead!  Accept it!  It is what it is!

So I resigned myself to accepting my mistake.  But still, I kicked myself, repeatedly, that it didn’t occur to me to check inside for a bag … and for the resulting consequences of having to buy a new vacuum, incurring an expense that I wouldn’t have had to if I had just thought to check for a bag.   I guess I just assumed Mondo had one.  I actually didn’t give it a thought … even though I’d been given 4 packets of spare bags, it never occurred to me to check.

I also felt particularly bad that Mondo had been such a generous gift and I’d not looked after him properly, albeit unintentionally.  And now I could do nothing else but throw him out.  So I ventured out and bought a new vacuum, (a bagless one this time) and put Mondo in the carport to wait for the next hard rubbish collection.

  Then just last week …

… as I arrived home, pulling into my carport, I noticed my dead Mondo was gone from the corner.  Hmm…. someone must have thought they would give him a go (haha … good luck with that!) …. or that they could use him for parts or something … “Oh well” I thought “they have saved me the trouble of getting rid of him” …. but then I noticed a whirring sound coming from within my apartment building … I chuckled … thinking “Imagine that! Imagine if that is my Mondo making that noise? Can’t be!!!  But it does seem a little too ‘coincidental’ that Mondo is gone, and someone is vacuuming somewhere close by?”

Lo and behold as I entered my building … there’s my dead Mondo vacuuming the stairwell.  The cleaner had arrived but didn’t have his vacuum with him, saw Mondo sitting in the carport, and was ‘chuffed’ to find him ‘available’. So … he thought … Carpe diem! (seize the day/opportunity).  I told the cleaner Mondo’s story, and he said “Well he’s working just fine now.”  He seemed shocked, surprised somehow, that I could have thought Mondo was dead, when he is so obviously now working just as he should.

And so it is…

That ‘thing’ that you think is kaput, beyond repair, finished, dead … It’s not!
Just because it seems dead, doesn’t mean it is dead.

Don’t be so quick to throw it away and replace it.

Even though you tried again and again in the hope of getting it working again (the right way – with a bag in it) … and it still didn’t work, seemingly it just needed time.  Time to do what?  I don’t know … cool down completely maybe?  But in any case, it doesn’t matter, as it’s working again, just as good as it used to.  But maybe this time with a bag in place, your ‘Mondo’ (just like my Mondo) will work even better, and have a longer lifespan, without all that dust and dirt clogging up his inner parts.

Apparently even that which by all accounts seems dead and burnt out, (vacuum cleaners included), can be resurrected!  Nothing is impossible!

As I now have my flash new bagless vacuum, I’ve donated Mondo to the apartment building, where he serves a bigger purpose in maintaining our common areas: the foyer and the stairwell for 8 apartments.

I wonder what the bigger purpose is in the resurrection of that seemingly dead ‘thing’ you’re dealing with…

While the dictionary lists resuscitation and resurrection as synonyms of each other, no-one was resuscitating Jesus in the tomb. His story is one of resurrection…

But remember this:
What man can’t (fix) or resuscitate,
God can still resurrect.

The Voice

As I continue to face my fears, pursuing this singing venture … my singing teacher tells me these three points as I work on building my confidence:  

1) Get to know the sound of your own voice and then learn to trust it.

2) You’re hitting the notes, but you get nervous, overthink, forget the words, and miss where you’re supposed to come in. All because you got caught up in a few words you forgot, or your timing went off. 

3) try this: sit on the edge of your chair so your diaphragm has room to expand, but relax into the song, feel the emotion behind the words, what do they mean to you, close your eyes if that helps, and sing the words softly. You know the words, let anxiety go, and the words will come back to you.

4) When you mess up the words, learn to skip over that part, just humm over it or ‘ad lib’ over that part until you can pick up the song again.  It’s your version of a song, and in making it your own, most people will just think it was part of your version. 

Have you ever looked back on your life and questioned the life choices you’ve made? 

Over the last couple of years I have been doing exactly that.  Re-evaluating all the choices I’ve made over the last 25 years.  I can say I honestly believed I was making choices with my life that were in line with what I believed was the plan and purpose God had for me at that time.  And I still believe that … however, now I seem to be on a completely different journey.

But I think we probably all do it at some point … look back on life, maybe overthink it, and question if they were infact the right choices after all.  It’s a tough challenge to face because if I was wrong, then 25 years is along time to be getting it wrong.  

Maybe you’ve been in that place where you chose in line with what you believed? Or maybe you didn’t.

Maybe you’ve been in that place, when life and purpose has not outworked itself the way you had pictured it?

Maybe you’ve been in that place when repeatedly, things didn’t go as you believed, hoped and prayed they would. You began to doubt, and then lost confidence in who you believed was ‘The Voice’ to follow?

Maybe you questioned everything? 

Was everyone right when they said “You’re crazy!”  Maybe you should have been “looking after your own future…” 

But ultimately it comes back to what I believe … and I believe I’m accountable for my one chance at life, and so it’s important for me to follow my heart and the conviction that it carries in order to see the plan and purpose for this life to be outworked.
Well, even as I’m still on that journey, sometimes doubting, sometimes messing up, questioning The Voice, then rediscovering The Voice, learning to trust The Voice again, I’m learning that while the journey has not (thus far) turned out as I had believed, hoped, and prayed for, what is important is that I was faithful to The Voice (which I believe is the voice of God) as He speaks to me.  I followed The Voice to the best of my belief, knowledge, and ability. 
Then, however it works out from there, including those ‘off notes’ in difficult times is all just part of the process of learning to sing my song, to make it my own, and not be a copy of anyone else.

I love (sometimes) how art imitates life… And for me singing is doing just that … and maybe this speaks to you too. 

1) We have to trust the voice! Be it the voice in your head that pushes you to face a new challenge, or the voice of God that  prompts you to follow a dream or take the road less traveled. Get to know what that voice sounds like, feels like, or however it is that it presents itself when it ‘speaks’ to you. Learn to recognise it. Then go with it. 

2) We can be trusting the voice, following it as it leads, hitting the mark, and then for whatever reason, we get nervous, pause, trip up, and then if we’re still caught up in the bit that we got wrong, we can miss what’s coming up. So we need to be … 

3) … living on the edge of our seat, where our lungs can fully expand to breathe in all that they need to, so as to be able to do all that our purpose requires. But then to also relax into that purpose, allowing ourselves to feel what it means to us. Let go of our fears, and then the direction of that purpose will come. Then go with that, and allow it to outwork itself, whatever that looks like …. 

4) And when we mess up, we need to be able to skip over that part and pick up our song as soon as possible. In the meantime, ad lib to fill the gap, and most people will be oblivious to the apparent mess.

 In Jessica Mauboy’s song ‘Wake me up.’ a line that hits home for me is: 

I don’t know where the journey will end, but I know where to start.

None of us know where the journey will end, but I believe if we do our part and listen to The Voice, that’s the start.  Then the rest is up to God … only He knows the end. We can have our own idea about how it might go, but ultimately that’s just our idea … 

Facing fears.

​After years and years of: believing I don’t have a good voice, declaring that “my singing is so bad I don’t even sing in the shower,” fearing the person standing beside me in church might be traumatised by my voice and forced to change seats, and lastly … I definitely don’t sing in the car when I have a passenger! But then…. 

In December last year all that changed… and I had my first singing lesson.  Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous or anxious about it … the appointment had been in my calendar for a few weeks  … so there had been time to get used to the idea. But I did have some fleeting thoughts as I was driving there: 
“Why aren’t you trembling with fear?” 

“You do know you’re going to have to sing solo in front of your teacher don’t you?”  

“What were you thinking in signing up for this?”  

Maybe I was numb with fear? But in any case, I prayed a “God help me!”  prayer.  I sang, I conquered, and I even learnt some stuff. 

1) The way you hear your voice and the way others hear your voice are different. Because the singer is hearing it from ‘internally’ as it moves through the nasal bones. The listener is hearing it externally separate from the nasal sound of the singer’s experience.  

2) Record yourself and listen to your sound, it will sound different on the recording to that of hearing yourself live.  For the above reason … because what you hear from your head, and what you hear on a recording are different.  
It’s about recognising what’s off key (and correcting it), and what is actually not off key but your own unique sound.  And learning to accept that as your sound. 

Life can be like this: 
1) The way we see our own life and the way others see our life are different.  While many have watched it or seen portions of it from an onlookers perspective , there is only one who has lived it, breathed it, felt it, loved it, feared it, and totally been inside of it like no one else can know. But in any case appreciate it from both sides. 

2) Sometimes we need to take a recording as such because how we see day to day life in the now, and how we see day to day life at the end of a season, are two completely different perspectives of the same experience. 
As with a song recording, in reviewing the ‘life season’ recording we can learn to recognise where we went ‘off key’ in life (and make the necessary adjustments or corrections), and where we were actually ‘on key’ with our own unique (albeit different) life sound.  Then it’s about learning to accept our life ‘sound’ as our own.  

Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.  We weren’t made to all have the same sound. How boring that would be.  
Sing your song (and your life song) with a sound that is all your own …  and sing it loud! 

The Measuring Stick. 

Since moving into my ‘new digs’ I’ve been consumed with looking for good second hand furniture to set up my new home.  

I was previously in a fully furnished apartment (right down to the towels) but I recently moved into an unfurnished apartment, and with no furniture other than a bar table and 2 chairs (which I bought for the former balcony so as to enjoy the city views), I had nothing.  

So began my search of numerous second hand shops, Gumtree, and my local ‘buy swap sell’ site looking for things I needed at bargain prices. 

I love shops because you can see the item, examine it thoroughly and measure it up for size.  Online however, you’re relying on a photo and what the seller writes about the item they have for sale.  

The one thing that surprised me most in the ‘buying process’ online, was the number of people who don’t put in the size dimensions of the item they’re selling.  For me that was the most important information, so that I could know straight away if the item would fit the space I wanted it for or not. If it wasn’t going to fit the space, then all other factors such as color and style were irrelevant.  And so it was, I was constantly asking sellers to tell me the length by width by height by depth so that I could make sure my first decision on space and “Will it fit?” would be met.  

Another factor when buying online is that a photo doesn’t always give a true perspective of the item depending on the angle and the lighting. So that was something I learnt to clarify with the seller, rather than to assume the photo was a true reflection of the item,  only to be disappointed when collecting it. 

While it’s difficult or maybe even impossible to put an exact measure on, I believe we all desire to know to some degree a measure of the length, height, width and depth of love, value, and acceptance we have.  Be it to ourselves, by God, or by those in our world.  

I think the most important thing is having a right perspective on our love, value and acceptance and not like that of a distorted photo due to a wrong angle or bad lighting.  Because choices made thereafter are based on these three: what we see, what we believe, and what we perceive.  

So in the same way that we often measure 3 times to be sure we measured right, we need to apply the same rule to ourselves.  Always checking our perspective…  because while our perception would show and suggest it to be true, in reality our perspective is not always accurate and true of that which we see, believe and perceive.

Most important is that we love, value and accept ourselves. Those who are meant to be in our world will do the same.  And ultimately we can know that our love, value and acceptance by God is unconditional and immeasurable in its unlimited capacity.