No Full Stops

Musings on life, learning and soul searching…

Armchair to Out There 30 November 2011

Genre: Creative Non Fiction

 

This is a story of the opening of duck shooting season in Victoria, March 2011. In support of the Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS), it was the first rescue action I experienced.

Click here to read the story: Armchair to Out There

Photo sources include: Herald Sun, Weekly Times Now, Coalition Against Duck Shooting.

 

The Measure of Success 29 November 2011

Filed under: Conscious Choices,Writing Life — Rachael @ 8:51 pm
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I was interviewed today by a career coach and good friend exploring the notion of doing what you love. In particular, the transitional period of change required to align your daily work to your idea of the life you want to lead. Apparently I may have ideas to share that might be useful for others wanting to make changes in their own life. I was careful to point out that whilst I had certainly had changed my career path, it had not yet resulted in any great successes. Or had it?

Maybe my idea of success is what needs to change, before negotiating any personal change. Perhaps that is the first step. What does success look like. For me, it is certainly not a stable and predictable job, or one of high status or power. It is not the acquisition of unlimited money. And it is not the commitment to excel within a single career path. All these things are outcomes based, and often by the time the outcome is achieved, the desire for it has shifted.

As I move along any career path my idea of what I love to do will change, with both my growing experience and opportunities that arise, so to lock into any one outcome is self limiting at best. This static outcome will prevent me from assessing pathways and new directions against what is is I really want to be doing with my life. Instead, what I prefer to focus on is a vision for what I want to be doing, in the knowledge that the vision will grow and shift as I do.

A further challenge is then deciding on which opportunities to take up, and which to pass up. If I am focused on a particular outcome, I will always choose to do what I think will best serve that outcome. Whereas if I am focused on a vision of the life I want to lead, I will make my choices based on what it is that I really want to do. For me, this has given me the courage to try new paths that serve my vision, and also the strength to turn down opportunities that will detract form my purpose.

So coming back to success. How can it be measured if not by defined outcomes? Is it too outrageous to suggest that doing what you love alone is success enough? Perhaps for some. Yet spending every day doing something that is meaningful to me provides me with  a sense of personal power and purpose. It doesn’t need to be measured against traditional ideas of success because it has very little to to with anything external to me. It resides within me. Living my life in the manner I choose.

The funny thing is that I have no doubt that my unconventional idea of success will eventuate in more traditional forms of success, in time. That is how career paths tend to go. As I give it my energy and focus, I will make small achievements, and maybe even some larger ones. My path will lead to further personal development and open up new opportunities. All I have to do is align myself on a path that is directed towards my vision of the work I want to do.

I put this to you… Why on earth can’t you do what you would like to do? You are doing something already, whether you like it or not. Why not just point yourself towards a vision that serves you as opposed to a societally imposed idea of success. At the core of it all, your success is only ever your own.

 

Finding Fear 21 November 2011

Filed under: Creating Love,Writing Life — Rachael @ 9:45 am
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I was recently asked what my greatest fear is. Simple question that should have elicited a simple response, however I found that I went completely blank. This was somewhat disconcerting to me as I do not perceive myself as a fearless person, and would be more inclined to describe myself a little on the cautious side.  So what is it that I fear? I was so stumped at this question that I was forced to go back to my much younger years to get any kind of answer. And from my memory archives came a rich back catalog of fear.

Much of my past self fear has been seen and conquered and therefore no longer relevant in the fear category. It seems that fears faced, or even thrust upon us as a realisation of our projected worst case scenarios, are an effective antidote. And acknowledging all the past fear that I am no longer defined by allowed me to realign my perception of self and appreciate more fully who I had become. But I did find a few remnant fears that I was still able to identify with, even though they had been warped by time.

I realised that I had spent most of my life under the control of a fear that people wouldn’t like me, or even love me. This resulted in much of my life so far spent providing an entertaining performance of myself. I perceived what it was that made people laugh, made them feel good, made them want to be around me and even made them want to be like me. That was how I shaped who I was. Until I was left watching the performance along with everyone else, with no connection to who I really was. Ironically, it also meant that the people who loved me had no real connection to who I really was either.

Of course, for all the performance, it was largely informed by the values of the person I would always be, so that was all I had to go by when I decided to put fear aside and live as the person I was, and wanted to be. My life then began to grow out of my values. They informed my choices, my activities and the people I wanted to be around. This shift began a long and ongoing period of recreation and redefining how I would be in the world.

I did lose friends (and lovers), and I did find that not everyone would or could love me. But I no longer cared enough to give it any fear. The people who now see me, see the real me, all of it. That attracts people that resonate with my values and repels people who do not. It’s a pretty perfect equation to be honest. So I no longer fear that people won’t love me, I just trust that some will love me on my terms and the rest will either look to themselves or some other fearful person to make them feel good.

So my old fear that people won’t love me was set aside by my own love. The cure of the fear was not in proving it a baseless fear, that of course people will love me. Doing that only perpetuated it for many years. It was in overcoming the fear that I as a person was not lovable. And in overcoming that, the fear just doesn’t matter anymore.

 

Never Ask For Directions 14 November 2011

Filed under: Conscious Choices,Writing Life — Rachael @ 11:01 pm
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When you ruminate on life amongst friends there is always much talk around ‘the journey’, ‘following your path’ and ‘living your truth’. Now, all of these sentiments are valid, and in fact exactly what I believe we are all trying to do. But, given a little thought, each of these things can only be experienced in the present moment. What my truth was a year ago, or even yesterday, is not necessarily a static notion that can be cut and paste into today.

Whatever life we lead moulds us, changes us and requires us to grow… Meaning that whatever way we live will ultimately result in us outgrowing it in is present state. One of life’s many ironies perhaps? This effectively means life can (and will if you let it) do a complete 180 and start tearing off in another direction on any given day. A new path, perhaps one you are unfamiliar with, may well become the right one for you, provided you aren’t adverse to a change in plans.

The hardest part in this for me is that I have no map. No one has chartered ‘my journey’ or ‘my path’ before, and to live ‘my truth’ requires it to come from somewhere within me, and not from some point to point directions. This kind of direction is quite often dictated by someone else who assumes to know the way. And besides, getting to a given point, anywhere at all or even nowhere, can be achieved in a myriad of ways. The only thing I can know for certain are my current GPS coordinates, and possibly how I came to be here now.

If I were a student of orienteering I would most definitely be a fail with ideas such as mine. There are no maps. Don’t ask for directions. The compass can change direction. You don’t need a destination. Does your present location feel good right now? I tend to trust that if it seems right now, then what it leads to or what opportunities it opens later will be right then. And every single small step will progress you further down one path or another. Which one depends, I guess, on each step you take. Every. Single. Step.

There is a profound logic in a quote of Annie Dillard’s that reads, “How you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life.” For now… That is map enough for me.

 

The Creative Void 12 November 2011

Filed under: Conscious Choices,Writing Life — Rachael @ 11:59 am
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Of the many trials in writing, I have taken on a pretty large one this week. In fact, you’re a part of it if you are reading it. It began with the decision to write, and I mean really write. Not necessarily well and not necessarily professionally, but I mean write as my life purpose. It is what I do and everything else exists to serve it. That was the beginning, and as huge as it is to completely restructure your life, it is not the hardest part.

The painful trial was birthing it into the public domain. I suppose one of my writerly strengths is that I find it easier to be the entirety of my messy human expression on the page, than face to face. But those pages have been mine until now, shared at my discretion. The thought of my most intimate self serving as a curiosity for strangers is alien, yet not nearly as confronting as the transparency I now offer to the people I face, who think they know me.

If I was the type to paddle in the shallow end of the pool, I would have blogged happily into the binary void. But in a moment of truth, I connected my inner world to the identifying device of Facebook. It felt like standing on the highest platform of those diving towers at public pools. And then, I let go. Diving head first into the deep end of nothing nearly as contained as a concrete body of water. I gave myself away.

In the tense hours that followed, I felt that something had been torn out from inside of me. I ached. And I ached at the hands of my own doing. I felt that as I became available to others I became a stranger to myself, so discordant was this feeling from my normally private self. I invited my world to peer beyond my extroverted face and into my introverted centre. The two now fused as one.

I am floating in the creative void, bathing in the unknown. I realise that I already am everything I ever wanted to be, and that is all there ever was, is or will be. It is beautiful in all it’s ugliness. I have nothing to fear but myself, and there I am unafraid. I am free now, I am all of what I am, all of the time.

I am a writer.

 

Quality of Life 10 November 2011

Genre: Creative Non Fiction

 

This is a story that documents the events that took place on 9 November 2011 outside a chicken processing plant in Laverton North.

Click here to read the story: Quality of Life

Photo source: Animal Liberation Victoria

 

Vegan Logic

Genre: Creative Non Fiction

 

Whilst this story is not exactly activist storytelling… it provides an appropriate preface to this genre of my writing.

Click here to read the story: Vegan Logic

 

 
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