Resting for Wellbeing

I have a confession: I spent the entire weekend in bed.

Did I have a stomach upset? No.

The flu perhaps? No. 

Was I grieving the loss of something intrinsically important to me? No.

I was Resting.

I say resting with a capital ‘R’ because sometimes I think we neglect to remember just how important resting is. By being ‘in bed’ I don’t actually mean under the covers sleeping (I’m pretty good at sleeping but not that good). I was lying in late, getting up for sustenance and hygiene (the hindrance of being human at times!) and then returning to lounge further; reading and writing, planning in my journal, daydreaming, napping, catching up on a few of my favourite vloggers and discovering some interesting new blogs to read. I read the entire Sunday newspaper from start to finish including all the lift outs.

It was positively Blissful.

It had been a hectic two weeks spent running around after my 15-year-old daughter who has a condition. Last week she had an appointment –  Every. Single. Day. Whilst the logistics of this is challenging to fit into any given day, I have become quite accomplished at the art of getting from A to B to C in speedy time. What was so exhausting was the emotional strain I was under. I had been holding everything together for others and letting my self-care wilt away, much like the unwatered pot plant in the kitchen. Ahh, Monstera Tragicosa, what will become of you? 

I don’t know what it is about resting that elicits a feeling of guilt for me. I had one such moment on the second day of the Rest-In, deep into my second leg of old school Sunday newspaper reading when my older daughter came in to ask me something. I jolted with surprise and quickly positioned a textbook near me so it had looked like I had been studying all along. What on earth was that all about?!

Am I worried about letting the values of hard work and effort I have tried so hard to instill in my daughters slide? Maybe.

Will she think I am lazy? Maybe.

Will she become lazy herself? Probably not.

Will that reflect back on me as a parent? Who knows.

What is it about taking time out for yourself that makes it seem so… sneaky, so forbidden?

I started to reflect that perhaps I should be looking at it from another angle. Taking time out for self-care, rejuvenation and replenishment of one’s mind, body and spirit are crucial for wellbeing. This is exactly what I would want for her! Heading into her final year of high school I absolutely want her to have strategies and a feeling of encouragement to take time out if she needs to. Western culture has become so deeply embedded with a kind of ‘busyness glorification’ that it feels so taboo when one goes against it. To purposely knock back offers of socializing and outings in favour of staying in to process the excessive amounts of stimuli we are exposed every single day.

We all need replenishment. This is part of being human. Feeling guilty should never even come into the equation.

When my daughters were in primary school one of their teachers created a space in the corner of the classroom, shielded away from the tables and chairs. She called this the ‘Chill-ax Space’ and kids could go there to zone out, chill, and just generally process stuff. I love the concept of having a designated space solely for ‘chill-axing’ and carry that memory with me now when life is overloading my plate.

I’m off to water my Monstera..

Luna xo

 

dsc_9612-01467023002.jpeg

 

 

 

A Long Distance Valentine’s Day

Being in a long distance relationship does not come without its challenges. For me, the greatest issue is the emotional pain at being separated, particularly on days of significance for us. The following post is a brief look at how Valentine’s Day 2019 unfolded for me, on the complete opposite side of the globe to the one I love..

 

Yesterday:

7:10 am – I wake and slowly remember that today is Valentine’s Day. We are apart. She is in England and I am in Australia. I daydream for a few moments about the fantastically brilliant time we had over Christmas on her side of the world..

7:20 am- We skype. She asks if I have opened her card that has arrived in a bright red envelope with specific instructions ‘not to open until the 14th’. I confess I have not, refraining from telling her that it will be a bitter sweet moment; her words of love will spill from the card yet she will not be near for me to reach out to hold and return the sentiment. I end up opening the card over skype and we smile and joke lightly about the funny otters on the front..

8:15 am – I decide to put all thoughts of Valentine’s day out of my mind as I go about my day, knowing full well, it is an over-hyped ploy from businesses to draw people in to consuming frivolous tokens of affection..

11:15 am – I return home from running errands to find six long stemmed roses near the front door. They are yellow. Our rose colour. The pit in my stomach returns. Another reminder that we are together, yet so far apart. It is actually incomprehensible to me at times. I feel slightly disappointed to have missed the flower delivery man who seems to be following along with unfiltered joy our tale of love through the scribblings on cards accompanying yellow roses! The flowers come inside and are placed in a vase on the hall stand for all to admire..

12:30 pm – Over lunch I decide to have a social media free day. I can’t bear the thought of endless scrolling over people’s PAL’s (public announcements of love). I am in love! I have a Valentine! She is wonderful in every way! Yet, she is not near. Nope, no scrolling for me. It’s the local paper and a sunny spot outside with the cat today..

12:40 – I cave. I find myself scrolling through Instagram. As suspected every second post is a love heart or broadcast of affection of some sort. Yearning to throw the phone on the ground in frustration and watch it smash into a million pieces, I painfully and gently place it on the table face down..

3:30 pm- Thoughts of her waking up filter into my mind. I wish I was there to wake up with her. I am feeling incredibly sad and sorry for myself. Misery is oozing from deep within me, seeping out of my every pore.

5:00 pm – Her first skype messages of the day filters through. She is thanking me for the ‘sweet owl card’. In my haste posting it, I had neglected to put a clue on the back to ‘not open this card until the 14th’. I had recalled that the stamp was upside down on this one…and she remembers. She has saved it to open today. My heart melts.

6:00 pm – I begin to stress that I have not organised something to be delivered to her. I was so happy to have posted my card in time to her. I fret over her not receiving a gesture of love when it is the only day of the year that she will be constantly reminded that we are together, yet so far apart. I can’t bear it. Thoughts of frivolous consumerism fly out the window. I spend an hour while I should be making dinner searching local businesses that might send an appropriate gift of love. The cut off times were mostly 3pm the day before. Bugger! Buggerbuggerbugger..

6:30 pm – The local florist near her is my saviour. They are just starting their working day and reply graciously to my confuddling series emails. The time difference works in my favour. I send thanks to the universe that this is so.

6:45 pm – The fretful feeling has passed. The only way to feel the love is to release the love and as hard as I had tried to hold on tight and refuse to acknowledge this day of ‘love’ that we are forced to endure from a commercial point of view, I know I need to show her just how much she means to me. Being apart is absolutely the most difficult part of our relationship. Especially those times when all I yearn for is her smile, her hand to hold or her laugh that makes me dissolve when it hits my ears. The vast emptiness is heart-wrenching and the hours apart so incredibly long.

10:30 pm – I turn out the light and think of her going about her work day. It will nearly be lunchtime with her. I wonder if the flowers will make it to her or not. They have not reached her in the past due to work and location issues. I feel a sense of peace knowing that my gesture of love is out there, somewhere making its way to her, somehow..

4:12 am – I stir with a pulling feeling that won’t go away. I try to ignore it but it proves impossible. I roll over and check my phone for messages. She has received the flowers and chocolates. And the heartfelt scribblings on yet another card. The space/distance barrier has been ruptured again…

Luna xo

(This was our first Valentine’s Day since becoming engaged).

On Finding Home

Lately, I’ve been thinking a little bit about ‘home’, what makes up the feeling of home and what this means to me.

As a child growing up in 1980’s, ‘home’ to me was the place I came back to after school, the place where my Nanna would come to visit, the place where I would play with our dog in the backyard and the place I would spend with childhood friends during the long and seemingly endless days of summer.

img_20150818_210943-01202496252.jpeg

In my twenties home took on a different meaning. Home was a physical place to raise a family. There was a certain functionality to it. Home offered four walls and a front door and comfort within. Inside we were safe, my children were loved and there was always a steady supply of home cooked food to feed hungry, growing bodies. ‘Home’ during this time for me was a sanctuary, a place to retreat to after the busyness of the days spent running around after small people and their hectic schedules. Home was an escape from the outside world and all of the noise that was ever present in it.

Sliding into my forties on rather a bumpy route, the concept of home has once again shifted for me. The family home that had meant so much to me was dismantled and divided up. Possessions associated with cherished memories were released, leaving a heartbreaking void that had once been filled with love and joy. As I ponder now on the meaning of home, I find my thoughts and feelings aligning more with the feeling of home that one carries within. I think of how home can know no boundaries and it is the energy and life we put into a place that makes it home. A house is a physical structure, yet home is carried within the heart. It can be shared and expanded. Home cannot be taken away from a person when viewed this way. Home will go where I go and where ever I find myself, I will be home.

 

img_20150808_183600-011210361307.jpeg

I am so happy to have come to this realisation. Last year I bought myself a camper with the intent of traveling to places with my teenage daughters. Whilst used a few times for this purpose, I have found that the camper’s greatest gift to me has been the opportunity to go somewhere completely different to my daily space, on my own with only my thoughts to guide me. The greatest gift has been the sense of home when I am driving somewhere new and unexplored, the sense of the unknown stretching out on the road ahead of me and the peace that I feel as I am driving there. I am absolutely at home within myself. This is indeed an incredible feeling.

Luna xo

To Find One’s Tribe

Yesterday I was at the annual Pride march in Melbourne. It was a baking hot 39c with a clear blue sky. The commencement of the march had been shifted from the previously scheduled 2pm to an earlier 11am, in order to give people a chance to escape the worst of the heat. In true Melbourne style the crowds came out (oops, no pun intended!). I witnessed people cramming onto trains and trams to arrive in good time to situate themselves in a shady aspect along Melbourne’s iconic Fitzroy Street in the heart of St Kilda. The crowd was a sea of colour; rainbow socks, frocks and sparkly pairs of jocks. Braces and bow ties, hats, capes and umbrellas for protection against the harsh summer sun. Feathers and bubbles with a side of sequins for good measure. Glittered beards. If a person is ever feeling like the lone gay in the village, all they need do is find themselves along Fitzroy Street on Pride day, where they will be enveloped in the enormous crowd that is Melbourne’s LGBTQI+ community.

dsc_9672-021900618292.jpeg

I had been feeling especially this way, living out of the city, where metropolitan living and rural zones merge. Life here, whilst being incredibly rich for my soul in so many ways, is particularly bland (non existent even?) in anything resembling rainbow visibility. I love Melbourne’s diversity and vibrant, eclectic mix of cultural groups. For me, it is what makes Melbourne home. I feel fortunate to be within easy travelling distance of the city and my heart goes out for members of the LGBTQI+ community who live in remote areas where traveling down for the day is not an option.

dsc_9715-01581348333.jpeg

Over the weekend a friend and I were talking about queer visibility in country towns and how important this is for people who identity as LGBTQI+, wherever they find themselves along the rainbow. For me, it all comes down to feeling a sense of belonging to my tribe, which is why events like Pride are so powerful for reconciling who we are when times are tough. It is about a sense of belonging, acceptance and zero judgement to be the person who is continually rising within. It is about authenticity and supporting my community. Empowerment. Giving back where I once received. Recognising that we are all so uniquely different and that is the richness of our identities. Sharing this and celebrating it however we choose. Carving a greater space for Rainbow Pride within communities across our country. It is about people connecting with one another and sharing who they are.

Tribe.

One word.

Of ancient origin.

Humans are social creatures and need to feel this sense of belonging. It is fundamental to our sense of self. Connection lies in the core of humanity.

I feel blessed to be slowly finding my tribe.

Luna xo

 

The Ups and Ups of a Long Distance Relationship

Three and a half years ago I met her. The One I Love.

Touring the UK with my mum and brother, she was an unexpected appearance in my recently fractured world.

“We can make this work.” She ponders as we avoid counting the minutes that we have left together at Heathrow Airport.

“I don’t know…I have so little to offer..” My voice trailing off as the reality of the vast distance between London and Melbourne began to sink in. 16,893 kilometers to be exact.

“You have SO much to offer!” We stand in silence and despair at the thought of parting.

With the concept of physical distance beginning to dissolve, being replaced with the closeness one feels in the heart when emotionally connected through a dimension physical distance does not occupy, I began to see that maybe this could work. We could have a chance at this. It need not be the end, especially as it really did feel like the beginning…

Jump forward three and a half years and I wonder in awe at how we have come this far.

Have we bridged the gap? No.

Is there a move scheduled sometime soon? Nope.

BUT!

We see each other every few months for a few weeks at a time, minimum. The world and it’s noise ceases to exist and only we are present in our glorious bubble of love. We condense our ‘dates’ into blocks (and have a bloody good time with that, let me tell you!).  When we are together we laugh, chill, go out, stay in, sleep late, eat delicious food, drink way too much and go places that we really want to share with each other. We read funny things and share them, in real time!

What about when you are apart I hear you ask?

We skype and text message everyday. And send lovely (and ridiculous) snail mail and special deliveries. We share our online music.

img_20170805_084718-012143543938.jpeg

Anything else that brings you comfort when you are apart? 

Well since you asked..

I know she can’t smell me when I skip a shower some days.

Garlic consumption is no longer an issue. For either of us.

I can eat at weirdly times (or not at all) and not feel guilty that I am depriving her of her daily nutritional intake.

There is a bucket load of time to work on personal goals, study and plan for when we are next together. This has to be a good thing, right? Yes!

I can research new places to go when we are next together, add to my list and watch it grow.

Netflix binging. It’s only natural that not all our viewing tastes align. Say not more.

There is no limit to the amount of sport one can listen to. Or choose not to listen to!

The cat sleeps on my bed (again, shh..).

img_20170713_105714-012120955137-1-011974741596.jpeg
Ridiculous snail mail! (Postcard courtesy of Chit Chat Design UK)

In all seriousness, what I appreciate most of all about being apart is the abundance of time for personal growth and working on achieving goals. Knowing that I can invest time in myself which will help me to become a better person, which in turn will bring us closer to being where we want to be, whenever that happens to be. There is something so wonderful about working hard for something that is sooo important to you (i.e. your future life), and enjoying your time together along the way.

I know that it won’t always be this way and I have every faith that we will somehow bridge that gap the separates us at times. Until then, there is much work to do to make sure I am in the best possible place when that time presents itself announcing that it is in fact right.

Be well out there, whether you are near or far from your love, or if you are yet to meet them.

Luna xo

The Importance of Queer Role Models when Coming Out

With Midsumma currently on in Melbourne, I find it interesting to reflect on how coming out can open one’s eyes to the presence (or at times, lack of) queer role models that we can look to for guidance, support and validation.

In early 2015, I came out to my husband and children. I was in my late thirties at the time. Yes, I guess you could say I am ‘one of those type of persons’. You know, the one who is married, has a happy family and then, BOOM! Out of nowhere completely shakes up her world and that of all those around her. “Why didn’t she know before?” “How could we not see it?” and my personal favourite “Oh, yeah, that actually makes a lot of sense!”

Coming out at this age was the most heartbreaking experience of my life because it meant dismantling the family unit I was in that was so close and so strong. Yet, I knew I would not be true to my authentic self if I continued to remain in a situation that was unrepresentative of who I actually was. Fast forward to looking at the world through my fresh queer eyes that everyone else was aware of too. This was completely foreign to me. Somehow I had thought that coming out would be the end of all my problems, and subsequently the beginning of a smooth existence without the wrinkles of deceit. Which to be fair, it basically was in the scheme of things, yet one thing was lacking. The presence of any queer role models in my world. I think my go to’s were Ellen and the gay couple who lived in our neighbourhood. All of my friends were in heterosexual relationships, and had children and families of their own. I felt completely isolated.

Coming out with no support from ‘your tribe’ is tough. No matter how amazing your family and friends are, there needs to be validation from people who share the same components that make up You. I remember at the time searching hard for similarly aged role models who I could relate to and coming up with zilch. And then do you know what happened? I started to find validation and support in younger people. My daughters who were in their teens began to talk about their friends who identified as queer. I looked to younger people in the media who were being so open and honest and unashamedly true to being themselves. It was empowering and validating. I felt not like some outcast of her world, but more like someone who was yet to arrive to her world. As my awareness of role models around me grew, from the political arena to the entertainment industry, so too did my experiences with real life role models. Again, the first to appear were people in my daughters’ age group. Their completely accepting and open natures made me speechless and so grateful to have them in my world. How wonderful to be a young person today and growing up without a lot of the undercurrents of homophobia that existed when I was a teenager. I know undercurrents (and outright blatant currents!) still exist, but so much has also dropped away. Yes indeed. How wonderful.

As my interactions with real life, younger role models grew, so too did role models more my same age, they just took a little longer to appear. From teachers to the people in my local cafe. From friends of friends to colleagues. Humans are indeed herd creatures. We function best when we are accepted by our ‘group’. Being able to find support among your peers is vital, especially when those peers know, and I mean really know the place you are coming from. The unspoken understanding of being different to the majority of the population. This comes from the look in a person’s eyes, no spoken words are necessary.

As Melbournians gear up for Pride on Sunday, I hope you are in a good place, with contact to positive role models that bring you validation and a sense of comfort and acceptance within yourself.

Take care out there,

Love Luna xo

20190120_133727-011935651950.jpeg

Dream Chasing (aka Goal Setting)

With January almost over and the working calendar about to step up a notch for many of us, it can be easy to let the new year’s resolutions that were made just a few short weeks ago with the best of intentions slip off our radar. My thoughts today are swirling around how we can set ourselves up for the best possible chance of success when it comes to achieving our dreams, and this is where goal setting comes in.

20181113_143324-011184052352.jpeg

The following are a few notes to myself to refer back to when it comes to chasing dreams, when I am feeling swamped by the everyday. Perhaps they may be of help to you too:

  1. Write down all goals..large, small, funny or serious, it doesn’t matter. Keep the list somewhere you can revisit it often, whether that be on your phone, in a diary or pinned to a noticeboard/fridge.
  2. Ponder hard about what is currently preventing you from achieving your goals and approach from this direction. This can be really helpful for those larger goals that seem so far off and unattainable, yet by breaking down the barriers into smaller hurdles, we can maximise our chances of success through digestible challenges.
  3. Reward yourself each time you make progress, whether that be hitting a certain target, acquiring a new set of skills or getting through another semester of study. Choose what feels right for you and enjoy some time away from the goal path once in a while. Coming back refreshed can help with moving forward with a fresh outlook and new inspiration. The goals/dreams will still be there tomorrow.
  4. Surround yourself with people who motivate and inspire you. Limit time with people who do not stretch you in ways of new thinking, developing ideas or who are content with their unchanging routine/aspirations. Seek out people who may have skills similar to what you are striving for and focus your energies here.
  5. Don’t be afraid to help others along the way. What you put out comes back and if your energy is being shared from the heart, it will be returned to you in unexpected and abundant ways.
  6. Be thankful. Embrace gratitude and take a moment to honor all that is good in your life. Write these thoughts down and add to the list as it grows over time. Revisit often.
  7. Self care. If you are not looking after yourself then how will you work on your goals which are like fuel stops on the road to success? Take time out of each day, whether 10 mins, an hour or longer to focus on you and only You. Do something that brings you pleasure, relaxation or joy (or all three!). Eat well, stay hydrated, get enough sleep and connect with nature. Move your body in ways that feel right and fit in with your day.
  8. Record achievements to keep track of progress. Revisit and add to the list as it grows. Congratulate yourself on working hard and achieving the smaller goals that comprise the larger ones.

Do you have any strategies for achieving your goals? I would love to hear in the comments section.

img_20171210_200639-011255369295.jpeg

Have a great day out there dream-chasers!

Luna xo

 

Midsumma 2019: Dogz and Drag

One thing I love about summer in Melbourne is Midsumma festival. Midsumma is the queer festival on the calendar for Melbournians. It runs over 23 days and offers over 165 unique and diverse events that support the LGBTQI+ community. Two highlights of the Midsumma festival are Carnival day, a fantastic day out for the whole family in the Alexandra Gardens, set along the south bank of the Yarra river and the city’s annual Pride March. Carnival day would be my favourite, as it is such a great atmosphere with all ages catered for, including under 18’s. Many people choose to bring a picnic and meet friends under the shady trees, enjoying the wide range of performances on the stages throughout the day. I really love seeing all the dogs come out with their owners and I take great joy in watching the dog show, which includes such categories as Best Bitch, Sexiest Stud, Best Dressed and Best in Show. Below are a selection of this years contestants..with a little bit of drag sprinkled in because who doesn’t love a bit of glam..?

DSC_9528-01

I was also so happy to see such a spectacularly dressed roving supporter from RMIT University. It made me feel so proud to be studying somewhere that celebrates diversity in all of its glorious colour and excitement!

20190120_132109-01-1

Best Dressed: Rocket Dog

DSC_9585-01

If you happen to be reading this and get a chance to see CAZELEON, I strongly suggest you do – I found their performance to be completely soulful and moving!

DSC_9549-01

More information on Midsumma can be found here.

Looking forward to the Pride March in a couple of weeks!

Luna xo

Potential Benefits of Bullet Journaling

Hello and happy new year!

As the new year is laid out full of hope and possibility, my mind shifts towards how I would like to shape the coming months. I really love the phrase: “Our thoughts create our reality, so choose your thoughts wisely.” It really seems to be the case that when we focus our attention on aspects of our lives, we create thought patterns or ‘grooves’ that allow us to revisit these thoughts again and again. By planning and mapping the coming months, I find it frees up my mind to allow fresh, new thoughts and ideas in. There seems to be something about mapping out time on paper that soothes my sometimes over-fretful mind. This has to be a good thing!

20190118_141424-01516848908.jpeg
The journal is fully customisable, providing unlimited possibilities

I have always used a planner of some sort, be it a wall calendar, a week-by-week diary and more recently, the calendar on my phone. Not long ago I came across a new method of documenting the ‘to-do’ lists which drew me in. The bullet journal is basically a book full of dotted pages that are otherwise completely blank. I now, hard to believe, right? It is completely up to the user to customise how they would like the journal to work for them. Just searching up #bulletjournal or #bujo (for short) on instagram or youtube yields a tonne of results! There is no end to the creativity that some people pour into their bullet journals. Whilst drooling over the glorious artworks on people’s ‘weekly spreads’ (weekly planner pages), I was concerned that this new method would require more time than I had to give it. However! I found myself continuing to be drawn in to this alternative way of planning.

From my fresh-eyed perspective of a newbie ‘bujo’ user, what appeals to me is the approach of mindfully sitting down at regular intervals, be it daily, weekly or monthly (or any other interval of choice) and consciously planning out my time, jotting down goals, which leads to thinking about goals, which leads to thoughts about how to achieve these goals. By carrying over tasks from one period to the next I am consciously revisiting them and forming an intentional focus to my days. I really am a great believer in the power of thought and writing down thoughts seems to consolidate the swirling mess that sometimes occupies my mind. This is particularly appealing as my previous way of planning was to use my planner as a ‘brain dump’ with the greatest focus on the ‘what dates would work when’ approach. The other aspect that appeals to me with the bullet journal is that it can be a creative outlet. Not because I am a talented artist that loves to hone my skill. Rather, I love the follow on effects of allowing creativity to flow – the sense of calm that washes over me, the release of background brain ‘noise’ and the time away from the screen. More of that for me, please! I am also interested if this new method of planning/journaling/creativity will enhance my sleeping rhythms. Stay tuned!

If you bullet journal please feel free to share your experiences and any tips you have, I would love to hear what works or doesn’t work for you…

Luna x