six-month review.

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So it has been six months since January 2017 and I feel a review is necessary to keep track of how things have been going in general, things I have learned and what will be happening moving forward. 

Firstly, I came into this year, hoping it would be better and that was a big mistake. Not because it wasn’t better, but because I had too many expectations, ones that weren’t realistic. I realise that things do not get better or worse, just different. The obstacles I was faced with last year were bad and this year I was faced with some bad ones too but they were just different.

1.The expectation of having a ‘happier’ future just because you change a thing or two is unrealistic because the future is what it is regardless of your expectations. We just need to focus on being happy moment to moment.

The next biggest challenge for the first half of this year has been around relationships. Twenty-seventeen started out rocky with my friends and family, things mended, but are not exactly the same. I sat around questioning everything and everyone around me because all of a sudden nothing seemed the same.

2. Relationships take moments to break and years to build. Communicating is the best way to get things across, especially uncomfortable things. Do not give people the chance to assume how you feel or what you are thinking, TELL THEM. Clear up the air, don’t sit in resentment or hate. Move forward with or without that person in your life. Expect change for better or worse because everything is impermanent. 

Next, is a discovery.

3. You can do anything. I really put my mind to staying balanced and healthy for the first few months of the year and every part of my life improved with a simple change of going for a 30-minute run/walk in the morning. We doubt our abilities/capabilities so much and never give ourselves a chance to even try and learn that you can do anything you put your mind to. 

So amongst those 3 things, I have learnt a lot more but those are the 3 takeaways. Moving forward, I handed my last assignment in yesterday. Only one semester left!

I will be heading to placement next week for 3 months and I really hope it is going to be good and enlightening. And I know that I am the only thing in between having a good or bad experience.

After that, I have a final 8 weeks of university before I am done forever! It is scary but I can’t wait to finally do something I’ve wanted to do (even though I might not get there at first, baby steps). I am excited to not think about money all the time (seriously exhausting being a student). I am also excited to just be on a different journey.

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5 things I am grateful for today:

My ability to write assignments quickly in small bursts!

Reflection – the power of reflection is extraordinary.

I am grateful to have a week off before starting placement!

I am grateful for the gloomy skies because they give beautiful sunrises/sunsets.

Nature.

Respect.

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Moving to Melbourne after living in Canberra for a fair few years was exciting and hard on many different aspects. One major concern when I moved 1.5 years ago was friends. I had had the same friends for a while now, they were familiar and I was comfortable.

What I failed to realise when I was younger but understand now is the quality of the people you surround yourself with. 

Some of this, I realised during the last years of my undergraduate degree where I voluntarily drifted from the people who were toxic in my life. They added nothing but pain, they didn’t make me a better person and they definitely did not make me happy. 

It’s funny because when you are a child you struggle to differentiate good friends from bad friends. You just long to be friends with everyone, be loved and liked, most importantly, have someone to play with at lunch.

We are taught that having friends is important, but we are not taught how to be good friends or to tell the difference from good and bad friends. Or that it is okay to walk away without seeming weak. We are not taught how to respect ourselves and because of this so many children get hurt by their ‘friends’ everyday.

Because of this I only learnt to walk away from people who shouldn’t have had a place in my life, a few years ago.

Today, I find myself saying no to gatherings with people who I don’t feel my best self around without hesitation. Today I know that if I don’t find the quality in relationships, it probably isn’t worth my time. Today I know that if I am in doubt, the answer is probably no. Today I know how to respect myself but I wish I learnt that long time ago. 

This does not mean I do not give people a chance, I do, it just means I trust my intuition. It means I cherish every moment with people who make me happy, enlighten me and spark joy. And the ones who make me feel uncomfortable or put negative thoughts in my head, are kept a little further away.

I am sure that some people feel the same about me too, but that is okay.

The key is to show appreciation, love and respect to those who treat you with the same regard. The people who don’t like you? Well that’s okay, because no one can like everyone.

Quality over Quantity. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Lazy days in – I was supposed to do my assignment, I sort of did but it was mostly a lazy day in.

Youtube – Man, do you hold a wealth of free knowledge!

Coffee – I wasn’t drinking coffee for a while but the cold weather has sparked a new love for it!

Creativity – Just loving my creative thoughts lately.

Nature – while sitting in my bedroom, I observed the changing weather all day long, it was beautiful.

Till again ♥

Without you, there is no us.

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January 2016 – Sri Lanka

In times of stress and worry, I fail to look after myself. Sometimes the pressures of life make it seem as though you come last, everything else matters but you. I am here to tell you and myself that this is not true, even though you may feel otherwise.

Whatever your worries and/or stresses may be, there are some things we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Not only will these things alleviate your stress but also prompt you to formulate more logical, objective and structured answers to your problems.

  1. Eat – nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eating is vital. Your brain is already on overdrive in times of stress, not eating will cause a malfunction. So do not forget to eat. Balanced meals would be ideal, but eating in general is a good place to start. (unless you are a stress eater, which in this case probably doesn’t apply to you)
  2. Sleep – my simple rule when making big decisions or when trying to get through something, is sleep. No better way is there to shut yourself off for a few minutes or hours, to rest and settle and approach the problem with a better mindset.
  3. Go outside – extremely overlooked when stressed is nature and the calmness it can bring. I find going for a walk (doesn’t have to be long) and focusing on the sky, trees (especially leaves) and the weather extremely relaxing. It also puts things into perspective, that this world is full of great simple things, you just have to notice them.
  4. Take a shower or bath – this is almost ritualistic to me. After a really bad day or situation, I take a shower almost to signify getting rid of negative emotions and thoughts and moving on refreshed.
  5. Read a book – sometimes I know that my problems are small and easy to deal with but I am still upset and overwhelmed, I have a go to book called ‘Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness’ by Ajahn Brahm who is an English buddhist monk that writes short thoughtful, quirky and light stories that gives you a change of heart. That is just my go to, whatever works for you is good.
  6. Journal/write things down – Externalising your feelings and thoughts is so helpful when you are overwhelmed and confused. You can reflect on what you have written and even make your own prompts/questions to answer, to better understand how you are feeling. I journal a few times a week and this space is also an outlet for me, writing what I am going through is a release.

 

And those are my 6 strategies that may or may not work for you, but they work for me. There are many others and not every problem in life can be solved with these. I acknowledge some problems are extremely complex and terrible, but for day to day get downs, these work well.

Take care of yourself and love yourself, you are important. 

Rumination.

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I am always surprised with the way people are, or more so who are they.

Do people only act in a way to always only benefit themselves?

Have I been too sheltered?

Are people truly evil on the inside?

I am evil?

I am constantly hurt by words, I don’t want to be, I want to be stronger. 

How do I become stronger?

Perhaps it is time to stop ruminating.

Rumination kills the soul.

Rumination causes depression.

Rumination is the enemy, not people.

Nothing is good or bad, thinking makes it so, right?

I think it is time for some meditation!

5 things I am grateful for today:

My boyfriend – he never fails to support and broaden my perspective on who I am, constantly reminding me to shed the self-doubt, up the self-love and believe in myself and who I am.

Pizza – just deliciously bad of you, mmm.

Outdoors – Although it has been quite cold, I enjoy the autumn leaves in the wind and cold air on my face. It is refreshing in times where I feel trapped to be outside.

Uni friends – never have I met such great supportive and genuine people.

this blog – although it isn’t much, it is my release to a world that is private yet public, I feel free and not judged.

Taken for granted.

Sometimes I feel like I am taken for granted, taken advantage of and not appreciated. 

These are terrible things to feel so I have decided to redirect my feelings to remind myself of the things most of us take granted for in life and to appreciate these things.

  1. Garbage collectors – most of you wake in the early morning hours before the rest of the city to collect our waste. You ensure cleanliness, hygiene and overall beauty of our surroundings.
  2. Teachers – personally I have always had a level of respect for teachers, whether it be a cultural thing or just my appreciation towards them but they deal with a lot, are constantly under pressure and under paid. Education is the cure to most issues in this world, so without our teachers/mentors/lecturers, knowledge would struggle to be passed on.
  3. Mothers and Fathers – The countless and altruistic efforts of my mother and father to take care of their family is admirable.
  4. Freedom – Although some may argue none of us are really ‘free’, I am free compared to the many others in this world, past and present.
  5. Safety – I come from an area that is relatively safe, I can walk out and not feel scared. Unfortunately, sometimes terrible things do happen but right now the chances of that are low for me.
  6. Opportunities – everyday we dismiss opportunities because it isn’t the opportunity we wanted, but we must be grateful that we even got the choice to decline an opportunity.
  7. Home – I am lucky enough to call 3 places home; my home in Melbourne, my parents home in Canberra and my family home in Sri Lanka. I have a place to go back to every night, to be safe and warm and that should never go unappreciated.
  8. Food – the ability to walk into your kitchen, shop or restaurant and grab any food you may please is a blessing.
  9. Free time – These days we spend a lot of time in front of screens aimlessly scrolling through social media, our free time dwindles into nothing and we also feel like we are always running out of time.
  10. Sun – I definitely don’t appreciate the sun enough. I love the sun and on gloomy days I complain but fail to go out enough on sunny days.

Blooms.

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I recently read this quote:

“There is literally nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so do not expect yourself to do so” – liryae

& I feel as though truer words have not been spoken.

We all need to take a step back and remember that we are all still natural beings, organisms, just like animals and plants who are gentle to themselves, we too must be gentle as we progress through life.

As the seasons change, plants and animals go through different life processes, humans pack on clothes during the winter months and shed them slowly as the snow melts away, we go about hoping to bloom everyday, feeling guilty if we don’t, resting our heads at night thinking ‘tomorrow I will try harder’.

Being passionate, hard-working, dedicated and committed to making the best life is a quality to admire but we must realise that life cannot always be great and we shouldn’t expect it to be, because that isn’t natural.

We should accept the days we feel down or are under performing because no thing can always be or feel on top. 

So let us not be so hard on ourselves, although humans have altered their way of living greatly, we are all still a combination of cells, full of mutations and errors alongside our perfections.

We are a part of nature, we don’t have to bloom everyday and that is perfectly okay. 

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. A home – like many things we take for granted, today I am grateful that I have a place that I can come back to every night and call home.
  2. Tea – its warm and delicious!
  3. My heater – as the colder months approach, I find myself glued to the heater.
  4. Perseverance – I have been trying to accomplish a fitness goal, and approaching the last leg where I am almost there but not there yet, it has been a challenge, I’ve been failing but I am still going to keep going, I am grateful that I have the willpower to try again.
  5. Myself and my body – lately I haven’t been feeling all that great about either of these things, I think reminding myself to be grateful for me will help in appreciating and cultivating self-love.

Acceptance.

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26th of January 2017 Chinese New Year Festival in Melbourne – Decorated in bright red lights, the banks of Yarra River glittered as people gathered to celebrate the year of the Rooster. 

Growing up in a western culture is particularly difficult when you are ethnic.

You are often stuck between who your parents want you to be and who you want to be – a construct of you that is a mix between your past, culture and traditions intertwined with the open mindedness and acceptance of modern western culture.

To my parents most things I do are wrong. If it wasn’t what they were used to, how they were brought up or what they saw around them, it was wrong. I get it, thats their frame of reference.

Because of this divide, I often struggled with acceptance. Feeling accepted by my parents is something I will never gain, a permanent hole in my life that I will always need to filled. Coming at their loss, they will never really know me. They will only know the part of me they want to know which is also the part of me I only show. 

Throughout history humanity has worked hard to be accepted. Usually women, those of colour, different religions or races have fought with honour to feel accepted. Today we are still fighting. 

I am sure each and every one of us has an acceptance battle of our own. Feeling accepted lets you belong. A sense of belonging is vital for emotional wellbeing.

Is there a way we can all feel accepted without receiving external confirmation of this in our everyday lives? If there is I would love to know.

I would love to live knowing that my parents love all of me for who I am, not just the part that turned out the way they wanted.

I think my children will have it easier. I will strive to make it easier for them. This mental struggle, being pushed and pulled between two worlds is exhausting and unnecessary. I want to cultivate an environment where my children can express their feelings, talk about their concerns and be treated like adults when they are and to feel accepted for whoever they turn out to be. Kids are a couple of years down the track for me but I am so ready to mesh two brilliant cultures that have enriched me, find the best parts and propel them into the future. 

I hope that each and every one us teaches our kids to be better, to accept differences, to respect others and grow in a way to create a more peaceful future. 

Make love not war. 

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Letters – I used to write a lot of letters to a close friend of mine a few years back, I spent all of today re reading the letters she sent me, every word brought me back in time and comforted me.
  2. To be alive.
  3. This painting I have on my bed room wall – Ts a picture of autumn, mostly read, orange and yellow leaves with a dirt path. A single bicycle rider riding away. For some reason this picture relaxes me whenever I look at it. My sister bought it for my birthday, it is beautiful.
  4. Nature
  5. Parents – Despite our differences, not a day goes by where I don’t think of the hardships and sacrifices they have been through so I could have this life.

Till Tomorrow.