Inspiration, life, life lessons, Living Out Loud Pub

How to Absolutely, Positively Get Life Right

By Julia Hubbel

Before you throw your laptop at my head, read this first:

  • The best way to be different is to consistently do the things other people refuse to do.
  • The best way to live the life you dream is to stop obsessing about what other people think.
  • The best way to succeed is to out think, out hustle, and outwork everyone else. Not to avoid the work, but to do more of it, do it better and be willing to make the sacrifices others can’t be bothered to make.

Let’s talk about what that means in real life…

There is no perfect way to be or live as long as you are following someone else’s way of being or living. The single best way to live a life full of joy for ourselves is to be willing to do the work to identify what gives us joy. What ways can you and I make a difference in the world are unique to us, whether that means getting into police work or becoming a social worker, learning to be a college professor and sharing your love of Shakespeare, or finding your expression through art.

My life has been immeasurably improved by people such as the community college professor who got into teaching simply because she wanted to share her passion for Shakespeare with a bunch of Florida youngsters. I will forever be indebted to her for helping me feel his words, rather than just read them. I still love the bard’s material, for she taught me how to love literature my way, not her way. That has been a lifetime gift. How would you love to be remembered decades later for being such a powerful influence in a young life? Five decades later I still think about her. That is an influencer in the best possible way.

There is no perfect way to journey to your best life. The only way we get there is our way, which can be helped, but not lived, by others. We can solicit advice, but one of the prices we pay for wisdom is knowing when said advice doesn’t necessarily apply to us. Our parents may want us to follow a certain career path, because it gives them pride and social bragging rights. Our hearts may say that we’d be far happier doing Peace Corps work, which may not impress their social circle but which feeds our soul. This may lead to disagreement, but you are following your heart.

My father was both irritated and disappointed when I told him I didn’t want kids and was doing something about it permanently. Dad wanted grandkids, I didn’t want children. To have had kids to please my father would have been disastrous for both of us, to say nothing of the kids. Often, those of us who have pretty clear ideas about being parents know it early. No matter what social pressures exist to do otherwise, following our hearts in this matter is likely better all around, for being willing to stand your ground to live the life you prefer is a key part of becoming a fully-realized adult. You don’t owe your parents grandchildren. You owe the world, and yourself, a well-lived life, which may not mean you bear children. That’s for you to decide.

I joined the Army in 1973, an act that nearly drove my mother over a cliff. That turned out to be one of the smartest moves of my life. Seriously good and seriously bad things happened, but in nearly every conceivable way those five years fundamentally redirected and structured my life for the better. Had I listened to my mother, or to friends, I never would have joined in the waning years of the Vietnam War.

That was a hugely unpopular move for the time, especially for a woman. It was right for me, and that is all that matters. I had done my research, looked at all the services, and before I took the oath I knew what I was getting into, at least as best as anyone can with such a monumental decision. I didn’t worry about what folks thought. The Army was right for me right then.

There is no way to hack, outsmart, avoid or otherwise sidestep the real work. While the above quotes say to “out hustle,” that has nothing whatsoever to do with finding ways around the difficult, sometimes overwhelming effort it can take to get where you want to go. That might be your PhD, it could be an around the world adventure, it doesn’t matter. My boyfriend was the youngest of four boys. Growing up in Jersey, he had a brute of a father who regularly beat the kids. He got the worst of it, until he discovered weight lifting. He threw his whole heart and soul into learning how to build his muscles and his strength. Eventually there came a day when, even as a very young man, he backed his father off, once and for all.

When my boyfriend went away to college, out of sheer spite for the fact that he could no longer bully his youngest boy, the father tossed out all of his son’s many bodybuilding trophies. But he couldn’t change the fact that his son, now in his early fifties and still incredibly fit, had done the work. And had forced his hand, a hand he would never use against his family again. The self-discipline that my boyfriend learned as a skinny adolescent he still applies today. The fit bodies he and I both have are the result of endless hours in the gym and disciplined eating. There are no easy shortcuts. And finally….

Fear is infectious

Other’s fear about what might happen to you can cripple your hopes and dreams. My mother was fearful her whole life, from her terror about the Army to every single other major decision I made. Especially about sports. My mother had been an excellent horse rider, and she had dreams to travel to Africa. Yet when I took on some hair-raising sports, such as sky diving, all I heard was that I had a “death wish.” When I traveled to Africa and Australia, I had a “death wish.”

In fact, yes, I did. But not the way she meant it.

I didn’t want to die having not lived life the way I wished to live it

I learned, finally, not to tell my mother about anything I did until after I’d already done it. Until the big reveal, she was in blissful ignorance about my latest adventures. She may have (and did) envied me, but she didn’t have faith in me. That’s crippling — but that lack of faith had nothing to do with me whatsoever. Those were fears she carried. That’s the same thing that happens when others try to talk you out of your dreams. Their commitment to hold you back has less to do with a genuine concern for your safety (unless they know you to be an irrational, irresponsible fool, which is another story entirely) than it does with operating out of their own insecurities or jealousies. You simply cannot live an extraordinary life listening to the fears of ordinary people who cannot see or feel what you do.

There is nothing wrong with living an ordinary life. Most of us are achingly ordinary in most things. Billions wear size Medium. Billions have brown eyes. Billions share a great many characteristics.

But only a few live extraordinary lives. The trick is to decide that you are worth the work, then to do the work, and don’t ask for others to approve. Chances are, they won’t.

For my part, that’s a pretty good indicator that I’m on the right track.

The author kayaking in the Svalbard Islands – Julia Hubbel

About Julia Hubbel

Horizon Huntress, prize-winning author, adventure traveler, boundary-pusher, wilder, veteran, aging vibrantly. I own my sh*t. Let’s play!

Read more of Julia’s work on Medium

Also published by Living Out Loud on Medium

mindset, Spirituality, Wealth

The Promise of Powerful Money Charms

What’s the deal with money charms and superstitions, anyway?

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

– Lao Tzu

When I was a girl, my grandmother gave me a little pink purse with a coin inside because it was ‘bad luck’ to give someone a purse or wallet without doing so. She told me that money will bring more money, and that you shouldn’t gift someone a money bag without a coin because then it was destined to never have money in it.

Like attracts like.

It was my introduction into the superstitious world of wealth and abundance.

Beliefs about attracting money can run the gamut from the slightly lucrative to the silly, to the downright bizarre. But behind every good luck charm or superstition is a deep-rooted history connected to the charm’s origin and the culture from where it began.

Charms and superstitions about attracting money can evolve from folklore, legends, and even religion. But do they really work? And which of them is the most powerful?

Most of us could use an extra dollop of luck in the wealth department — let’s explore a few of the most popular money superstitions and find out which charm will help bring abundance into your life.

The Money Frog

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was browsing my local Hippie Shop when I overheard a conversation between the store owner and a customer. The shopper, a middle-aged woman with an 80s Metal hairdo wanted to attract more wealth into her life, they were discussing frogs.

“I keep one right here on my cash register.”

The store owner gestured at her cashbox.

My interest was perked enough to check out the very handsome brass frog resting among chunks of crystals, bottles of essential oils and an array of other ornamental creatures.

The shopper frowned. “Does it work? Does he bring you fortune?”

A somewhat thought-provoking question. I cued in for the answer:

“The trick is that you must keep your frog on the left-hand side of your room and facing inwards.”


My left palm got itchy.

Shopper woman was hooked. She bought the frog and other money-attracting items before departing the store looking rather satisfied.

Does it work?

“The Feng shui money frog — also known as the three-legged toad or money toad — has deep symbolic roots. It is a mythological creature with three legs that is said to attract wealth and abundance.”

— Rodika Tchi

Later that afternoon and back home, I had a lightbulb moment when I recalled the little frog sitting among the rocks in my back garden. He was here before us, left by the previous dwellers.

I have a frog! I thought.

He is green with shiny brown spots and a huge grin on his froggy-face. A bit like Kermit, really. So, I fished him out and plonked him in a pot sitting on the left-hand side of the steps just outside my office doors, the sliders open onto the back garden.

It’s still early days, so I have nothing solid to report yet — but the frog does look happy in his newly potted life.

That might be something.

So might be….

The Money Cat

Money superstitions and talismans are always fun to hear. My husband keeps a gold Maneki Neko on the sill in his office window. Its small metallic hand waves on solar-power, greeting the incoming by the front door.

I don’t even know where he got that thing but it kind of makes me feel weird when approaching the entrance door — raised paw waving…. odd look in its black eye…

The “lucky cat” with its raised paw is said to welcome abundance in one’s life.

Take a look:

The legend of the Maneki Neko originated from a story about a wealthy man who took shelter from a rainstorm under a tree next to a temple during the Edo period in Japan (17th century to mid-19th century).

From the article, 5 Interesting Facts About Maneki Neko Cats AKA Lucky Cats:

“The man noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him, so he followed it inside the temple. Shortly thereafter, lightning struck the tree he had been standing under. Because the cat had saved his life, the man was so grateful, he became a benefactor of the temple and brought it much prosperity. When he passed away, a statue of the cat was made in his honor.”

Does it work?

Well, the Lucky-Cat who occupies the bottom level in my home cannot divulge such sensitive information to the mere ordinary. At least, not out loud.

Let’s just say that my husband is by no means short on cash-flow — but he does work extremely hard for his good fortune.

The Money Elephant

Years ago, my Italian girlfriend presented me with a white elephant about the size of a baseball. I have always loved and been fascinated by elephants. There is just something about the majestic animal that speaks to my soul.

I feel the same way about whales.

The first time I saw a Humpback breach some one hundred meters from where I stood on the South Australian shoreline, the experience evoked deep and indescribable feelings within.

I knew God that day.

More on elephants from OneTribe:

“Elephants hold significant meaning in many cultures and symbols of these majestic creatures have been depicted in mythology and religion for thousands of years. There are many meanings and interpretations behind elephant symbols, which are particularly significant in Indian and Asian faiths, including Hinduism and Buddhism.”

The elephant is associated with Buddha and the Indian deity Ganesh. Generally, the universal meaning of the elephant symbolizes strength and power. This meaning refers to both the body and the mind, and many Feng Shui practitioners believe that elephants also represent prosperity, good luck, and success.

My very superstitious girlfriend instructed me to keep my elephant to the left of my front door with his cute ele-butt facing inward to attract wealth.

Hinduism & Elephants tells us:

“The elephant is a very powerful and significant symbol in the Hindu faith as one of their favorite gods, Ganesha, is depicted in the form of an elephant. Ganesha is thought to be the remover of obstacles, as well as the god of luck, protection and fortune.”

Does it work?

Well now, using an ornamental elephant to attract abundance wasn’t necessarily cemented in my belief-system, but hey, I am nothing if not open-minded — who was I to question ancient symbolisms, legends and philosophy passed down by the likes Hindu Gods?

I did as I was told.

My gorgeous white elephant still claims a prime position in my home and honestly, my space is brimming with positive Ju-Ju and abundance in many forms — an enriched life isn’t just about financial abundance.

Take note of this quote from financial advisor, Suze Orman:

“Abundance is about being rich, with or without money.”

Though, I do continue to work hard at keeping my mindset balanced in positive personal-power, as well as putting in the action and maintaining focus on the endgame — my deepest desires in life.

Next, we’re talking about…

The Penny

Finding coins on the street is usually considered a sign of good fortune.

Apparently, the Chinese folk consider finding coins and money in general signifies good luck. Due to this belief, many people consider coins as their good luck charms and believe that they bring them luck in various life situations.

Then there’s this:

“See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck.”

You know this phrase from the film Grease, right?

Me too.

In fact, I still recite those words to my children when they get excited about finding a coin on the street. I tell them that it’s good luck.

Interestingly, the original version of this phrase was actually, “see a pin and pick it up and all day long you’ll have good luck”.

Did you know that? It was a reference to a pagan ritual in which a pin could be used in a good luck spell.

The myth was that a dropped pin might have been used in such a spell and would provide good luck to the person who finds it.

Does it work?

It depends on how you look at it.

Wayne Dyer said it best:

“Every time I pick up a coin from the street, I view it as a symbol of the abundance God sends into my life and feel gratitude. Never do I ask ‘why only a penny’?”

Which flows this conversation into….

The Most Powerful Money Charm

Money charms, weird superstitions and ancient beliefs on attracting money can be a fascinating topic to explore — especially the part about delving into the rich history and thought behind the mythology and folklore where the notions originated.

I think people will always need to draw on some type of belief system in order to help keep the faith when it comes to attracting wealth and abundance in their lives, but no talisman will be so powerful as the mindset we choose to adopt.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey says:

“An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.”

And there it is — the most powerful wealth-attracting charm at your disposal is your ability to adopt an abundance mindset and then back it up with action — the hard work behind your passions.

Cultivating mindfulness is what makes all the difference between creating a mindset of scarcity or abundance if you want to bring richer experiences into your world.

After all, according to Oprah Winfrey:

“If you look at what you have in life, you will always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you will never have enough.”

Maybe that’s the secret behind every money charm — the fact that they give their possessor the tools to help shift their perspective to an abundance mindset.

Whatever works, right?

Originally published by Living Out Loud on Medium

Love and Connection, relationships, Women

What Makes a Woman Unforgettable?

There are so many mixed messages and pressure on what men expect from a woman nowadays. This is largely because we are bombarded with images that show us how to be desirable, and swamped with articles telling us what we should be wearing, doing, saying or not saying if we want men to find us alluring – unforgettable.

For many women, the media is a breeding ground for feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. It’s next to impossible to keep up with the latest irresistible sex-kitten inundating the media, but do we really want to?

We don’t need to look like a supermodel to be unforgettable. We don’t even need to be perfect. At all. A woman may do all the things that tells her how to attract a partner and still find herself alone.

The thing is, there is so much more that goes into a relationship than what a woman wears, the color of her hair or the shade of her lipstick. Sure, those things do contribute to first impressions, but what makes a woman unforgettable is much less about her clothes and more about who she is.

Quite a few years ago, a good friend jokingly referred to my ex-boyfriends as my “Old Flame Club” because they had a knack for unexpectedly showing up in my life years after the relationship had ended.

They would look me up on social media and ping me, or I’d hear from them through mutual friends who they had found and then requested my contact details. Thankfully, said mutual friends would always ask my permission before divulging my personal information.

Those who know me well have pretty good idea about how I feel about reconnecting with old boyfriends – hell, no thanks.


For the most part, I am uninterested in catching up with my exes. I’m not one of those people who are into attending school reunions either. That’s just me. It’s not that I have harsh feelings for past lovers or old friends, I do honor their place and the role they had in my life – it’s more that I don’t feel the need to rekindle past relationships.

You know when a relationship has run its course when you can look back with a sense of ease about how it ended. It just feels complete. Doesn’t mean that that person no longer means anything to you – you shared time together and they will always be a part of you in some way.

Doesn’t mean I want to reconnect, either.

The same goes for other kinds of relationships, too. When I divorced my first husband, I considered one of the perks of the split was that I would no longer have to deal with his mother.

Yeah. She was one of those cringe-worthy in-laws who frequently felt the need to impart her unwanted opinion and controlling advice on me at every opportunity.

Thirteen years on and she’s still at it. Only, I let go of the hook – no longer do I feel obliged to answer her calls or possess the desire to stay connected.  

Between you and me, she’s one person I wish would forget me. 

The friend who used to tease me about having an “old flame club” never understood why my ex-boyfriends were so interested in reviving a connection with me. Honestly, it was something that baffled me too.

“What is it about you that they can’t forget?” she’d ask. 

I’d reply with a shrug.

What did I know? I didn’t consider myself overly special.

But I did know that it had nothing to do with my clothes or the way I styled my hair and more to do with what’s going on on the inside. For those guys who I’ve loved and shared serious time with along the way, I have always given them the best part of me.

Just me.

All of us are unforgettable to someone and all of us will never forget someone.

Here’s a few traits I believe makes a woman particularly unforgettable:

She has a passion for Life

Life is about living and experiencing new things.

A woman who is passionate about life and has a spark for exploration is one you won’t forget in a hurry.

She laughs lots and doesn’t take herself too seriously.

She’s a free-spirit at heart who finds joy and fascination in the unlikeliest of things – it doesn’t mean that she’s always engaged in a wild venture or constantly pushing her comfort zone; but it does mean that she has an unforgettable zest for life that shines from the inside out.

She forms meaningful connections

She wants to know her man and she sees him, and she thrives on deep connection -but not just in her romantic relationships, but with the special people in her life, too.

Friends, family and co-workers – a combination of these connections. 

Meaningful connections with other people outside of your relationship is healthy and helps to keep your romantic connection fresh and balanced.

For me, I was never the kind to build my entire existence around a man, encouraging him to spend time with his friends and cherishing my own space.  

An unforgettable woman builds a life for herself and not for every romantic connection that shows up in her experience. Her meaningful connections are a part of who she is and a part of what makes her whole.

She’s kind

She doesn’t have to have a bleeding heart or try to save the world, but the kindness she shows to her loved ones and strangers alike says a lot about a woman – and it’s contagious.

Her kindness sets off a chain reaction. Like a ripple effect. Makes you feel good. When we’re around kind-hearted people, those qualities naturally emerge in us too and honestly, the world won’t suffer from too much kindness.  

An unforgettable woman is kind and caring – and although there may be times when her kindness is exploited or taken advantage of, her kindness is not easily forgotten.

She’s got fire

She’s gutsy yet vulnerable. Persistent but not a steamroller.

She knows what she wants and when life knocks her down, she’ll get back up, dust of her pants and forge ahead with renewed determination.

She realizes the value and growth that accompanies pain. She forgives easily and releases grudges because she knows that life is too short to hold onto negative emotions.   

An unforgettable woman is a visionary; a dreamer who possesses the fire in her soul to fight and push for the life she wants.

An unforgettable woman is herself

Broadmindedness is an alluring trait. So is authenticity.

She is uninterested in trying to be someone she is not and knows that the opinions others have of her is not her business.

An unforgettable woman is a person who is far from perfect but deep down she cannot be anything other than her real self.

She lives as herself.

Sometimes she’s a bitch. She might even have a knack of getting under your skin and driving you crazy at times, but she’ll love you even crazier. 

An unforgettable woman is the kind of woman who imprints on your soul and forever stays in your heart. If you shared real time and connection with her, then chances are she thinks you’re pretty unforgettable, too.  

Originally published by P.S I Love You on Medium


Rooms for the Memory – What’s it Really About Anyway?

Rooms For the Memory – What’s it Really About Anyway?
Audio-file. Listen to me read this post!

I will never forget the final months of my step-father’s life, nor the day I got the call summoning my presence because there was something urgent that he and my mother needed to tell me. I didn’t hesitate that day. Instead, I blew off the words of the project I’d been working on and drove the short distance to my folk’s place who live in the next town. All the while, my stomach churned and my nerves fluttered. Somehow, I knew before I arrived that it was cancer.

We hear about it all the time, people dying of cancer. In Australia, cancer is the leading cause of death. Still, nothing can prepare you when it reaches so close to home. I had lost a beloved uncle to cancer years before, but I wasn’t around to witness those horrendous end days. I got the call to come and say goodbye that final day, but by the time I had arrived at the hospital he was gone. I’d missed him by fifteen minutes and it tore me apart on the inside.

It was different with my dad. I was closer to him and it was me that he sought when he wanted to talk about death. For all the beliefs and spiritual teachings I had devoured and practiced over the years, I found myself struggling for the right words to say to him. What do you say when someone you love is dying? What words can you offer without sounding like a Taoist scroll banner?

What did I really know about death anyway?

My mother is the eternal optimist. She couldn’t or wouldn’t allow herself to accept that he was dying – right up until the day I told her that it was time to call my sister, my aunt and cousin to say their goodbyes. I remember the expression on her face when she heard me say those words; the shock as realization dawned. In those moments, the tables had turned. I had become her rock and her carer. There was no return. The fight was almost over, and I knew she had one foot in reality and the other in disbelief.   

It was Friday afternoon, he was incoherent, dazed, and he couldn’t walk unassisted. Their home had been transformed into something that resembled a medical centre. He hadn’t wanted to spend his last days in a hospital, palliative care turned up every few hours to administer morphine and check in on him and my mother.

By that time, there were no more words to tell him except ones of love and surrender. Those last hours were like a living nightmare. Nobody tells you what its like at the end of a cancer battle. Nobody tells you how watching someone you love writhe and grasp onto the final threads of life kills you on the inside. Stubborn man. Right up till the end, and it was his love for my mother that kept him hanging on. He’d been so worried about her life after his death that he tried so hard to stay for her. For her. Even though he was no longer afraid of death.

I’d whispered in his ear and told him that she would be okay, that we would all look after her, that it was okay for him leave now. We all told him.

From Friday afternoon, he fought as hard as I’d ever seen anyone fight. He fought for love. I couldn’t stay with him and my mother the entire time, but my sister and her husband did. I tag-teamed with my husband because we have young children, but even from my home a few miles away, his presence was all around me.

February 18th, 2018 was a beautiful summer Sunday morning. I’d been with them till late the night before, and my husband wanted to be there too. So, I turned to my writing to fill in my mind as I impatiently waited for him to return so I could get back over there. I was working on Rebellion when the call came. He’d gone without me. He wasn’t supposed to leave without me there. But he did, and I didn’t get to hear him take another breath, or whisper in his ear one last time.

He left and the day was gloriously blue and hollow.

He left and my life has never been the same. It’s when the profound moments arrive that we realise life stops for nothing and no one. The same moments when we know our human mortality in its truest form and acknowledge how fleeting our life on this earth really is, and how final death seems when you can no longer pick up the phone and call your dad.

My mother had wanted to dress him before the funeral. She wanted nobody else but me to accompany her. I watched as she shaved him, spoke softly to him while stroking his face and kissing him as she placed his favourite beanie on his head and fixed his shirt. I stood in the corner of the room fidgeting and feeling numb. He didn’t seem real to me anymore – he was empty and frozen, and he was just gone. I couldn’t relate to him in that way because it was no longer him.

I’d felt the distinct difference of his soul no longer occupying his body. His body was just that; a soulless carcass that no longer represented my father. I knew I could get closer to him in other ways because I felt him all around us. Those feelings made me feel awkward during the dressing, I was relieved when it was over and I couldn’t get out of there quick enough.

A few years ago, my step-father and mother stayed with us for a few days. Those were the days when they’d lived interstate and travelled around Australia a lot of the time. One evening, we sat beneath the stars after dinner and chatted over a few drinks and music. That night he’d told me that a day will come in the future when he was dead and gone that I would remember that night with fond memories and a smile. That I would think of the wise words he so readily bestowed on me and remember him.

We didn’t always see things the same way. We disagreed quite often. He was a fatherless man that strived and struggled to provide the guidance of a father, and he was interested in my work and life as a writer. He’d written and published a book himself. Watching me do my writing thing made him proud.

Although I’d pushed his words aside that night, it turns out that he was right – I do recall that night with a smile in my heart, and not because of the guidance he tried to provide, but because of the love he had always shown me.

I have realized that even in death, he has continued to teach me. Nothing ever before has had such an impact on my life. In death, he has taught me that love is eternal; that it really does transcend time and space, and that the way we love in this lifetime matters.

There are a few people in this world who I love but are not currently in my life. People that I have shared time with, loved from the moment we met and haven’t stopped loving them since. If this is it – if this is all I have to let them know that I still care, then every one of these words matters as much as the love that exists within me.

If this moment is all we have, I’ll bubble it with precious love and push it out into the universe and hope they receive it because the way we love matters. And whether those people realize it or not, my love matters too.        


Changing Life Chapters – it’s Easy to Resist Change.

“Love is friendship set on fire.”

~ Jeremy Taylor

What lights you up inside?

Have you ever looked back and imagined your entire life as chapters of a book? And that each chapter began with an inciting incident that eventually led to a critical point that became that one moment when you stood at a crossroads? You remember that one – the time when you knew your decision would determine the way your life would unfold over the months and years to follow.

Of course, we experience more than one of those pivotal moments during a lifetime. It’s how it’s meant to be; how we grow and evolve as individuals and as a species. Besides, life would fast become mundane if we were not periodically presented with new possibilities. It’s as if the universe peels back to reveal a crack every now and then – a sliver wide enough to illuminate a path brimming with alternative prospects of a different life.

Our bellies may flutter as we peek through the doors of a mysterious future. We might slide on our dark shades to peer into the uncharted hours of a life spreading before us like the light of the moon trailing across the ocean’s surface. Thinking … pondering … mulling over the would-be path while we analyse and sift through the possibilities until we decide whether to embrace something different or stay put and play it safe.

Sometimes, it might be a work opportunity or a crazy idea that entails a certain amount of risk. Other times, it might be more personal life choices like love and relationships where the stakes are raised high enough to warrant a vault pole if we decide to take a leap of faith. Whatever the moment is, one thing you can count on is that it will usually show up when you least expect it.

It’s easy to resist change. After all, the future is unpredictable and uncertain. No one can really foretell what the future holds; freewill takes care of that. Gifted psychics and mediums can only take you so far. Their visions are always confined by a higher order. In other words, those intelligent beings existing in the higher realms looking out for you will only allow you to uncover so much about the future. The rest is left solely to your own discovery in order to strengthen your personal growth and life lessons.

Makes sense. If we knew without a doubt the events yet to unfold, how would we really be able to relish those moments as we experience them? We wouldn’t, and that’s the beautiful mystery of life – to be present and participate fully; to feel and resonate with our emotions as our paths wind through rocky waters and soar at wonderous heights, and to anchor ourselves in the present while keeping a firm vision of our ambitions and desires in our mind’s eye.

And this is why the present is all-powerful, because the present is all we have to ground our feet in deep and practice assuming that our desires are fulfilled before we leap into the future. Does this not excite you as it does me? That your dreams and aspirations, desires and hunger to create are as real as you want them to be; as real as the power you decide to extend to them. The energy will always go where it is directed so direct it wisely.

I love the way Neville Goddard expresses this notion in his book The Power of Awareness when he states, “All transformation begins with an intense burning desire to be transformed. You must want to be different before you can begin to change yourself. Then you must make your future dream a present fact. You do this by assuming the feeling of your wish fulfilled.”

We can’t stop change from happening. Even when we think nothing is changing, it always is. The invisible wheels are always shifting in the background of our lives. We change even when we don’t want to change – physically and emotionally, our circumstances, environment and relationships. So, if our lives are always changing, why not embrace the all-powerful present to manipulate your future into your most burning desires?

If we’re being honest here, it is through our relationships that offer us the most value on the everchanging wheel-deal. This is where things can get tricky when thinking about our future, but without those rich and transformative experiences relationships provide, we cannot reach our full emotional potential as evolving human beings.

We are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and lovers. We wear many hats for many different people. Each relationship has its own authentic current pertaining to the two individuals involved; each provides layers and experiences that enrich our lives in some way, even when we are confronted by conflict within those connections. Yet, of all the relationships we experience, it is through the ones we connect with at the heart that really shape and cultivate our lives – the ones that burn like an exquisite flame to light us up on the inside.

Have you ever felt your breath thin and your heart explode when confronted by that special someone? Or told someone that they were the best part of your day and meant every word?

Love. Messy, scary, exciting, beautiful love. Everyone experiences it differently, and each time it happens, it is never the same as the time before. Anyone that has experienced it knows it is the best feeling ever. Love is like a rainbow; even when it’s not returned, it is still filled with glorious colors that shade your heart with beauty. Love is never wrong. Never. But the thing about love is that it is subjective and intangible, and it’s different for us all.

It can grow and flourish, making us feel smitten, crazy happy and utterly delirious with all things wonderful. And sometimes, it can take a turn and produce the opposite effects – it can sour and hinder your happiness, clip your wings and make you sad. Sometimes, love just runs its course for the length it takes for that relationship to reach its full potential. This is when the two in question become passive within the connection; when they no longer challenge and fuel one another at the deep levels required in order to continue evolving and learning from the union.

I know this situation well. We probably all have at some point or another. Remember earlier when I mentioned imagining the everchanging sections of our lives like chapters of a book? Here’s the super-short version of one long chapter in my life, and it all started with a guy…

Love was the inciting incident. I fell in love with a guy I had known during my childhood years. He reappeared into my life like a lovely blonde vision with a cute smile and a gentle demeanor, and every part of me succumbed to his blue-eyed, boyish charm. Yep, I totally melted while my heart sang and other parts went wildly crazy. It wasn’t long before he took me to the beach, produced a diamond and asked for my hand in marriage. Truth be told, it scared the bejesus out of me. I was 21 years old with plans to travel and see the world before thinking about marriage. But he was so damned vulnerable and sincere in that moment that I couldn’t bear the thought of turning him down.

My bad.

The usual entailed; we set out to make a life together. We moved around a bit until eventually buying a house, cars and furniture; a cat came along … then children. Travel emerged too. We cruised the south Pacific, visiting cool places like Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. We flew to New Zealand to spend time with his Kiwi family, and he bought me stuff – lots of stuff. I was buried beneath so much stuff, I didn’t know what to do with it.


Progressive complications are … well … complicated. Not all things are what they appear to be. Come to think of it, most things aren’t what they appear to be. On the outside we appeared to be the perfect family. Lots of stuff and travel makes for a convincing veil. Yet there is truth to that old saying about what happens behind closed doors. You know those kinds of people that don’t possess the ability to recognize their own toxic behavior and the effects it has on others? They are the worst kinds of bullies because you cannot reason with them no matter how much you try.

I tried hard.

For many years I over-stayed my welcome in a marriage with thoughts of making it work. I was really kidding myself, but we’re all pretty good at that, right? The idea of change was terrifying. There was our jointly owned home to consider, combined assets and finances, and of course, the cat and the children.

Life happens…

The months turned into years and more years, and I knew in my core that that relationship could no longer serve me in the ways I yearned to be served. The connection had faltered, waned and had become a shadow of the beginning. I longed to be able to connect at a meaningful level; needed to relate and expand in ways that he was unable to reach – through soul, spirit, intellect. Which naturally spills over into producing the ultimate bedroom experiences, by the way.


We all do the best with what we have and what we are capable of in the moment. It took me a while to realize that he wasn’t capable of taking a hard look at himself and readjusting accordingly at that time in his life. But these were my lessons too, and I strongly believe that we never get more than what we can take.

I took a lot, and lots of stuff doesn’t come close to filling the void within.

This really was nobody’s fault. He was physically and emotionally abusive, controlling, and extremely difficult to live with. Yet, that was his hang up; his own demons that would become his undoing. In the early years before we had children, there were times when he would lock me in our apartment before he’d go to work his night shift. He would lock me in there with no way out, only to return home and demand to inspect my nether region.

Was it fresh, plump and pink this day? Or had it taken a serving?

God forbid had I decided to serve myself while the cat was away. Have you ever been subjected to that line of questioning as someone has their nose buried between your legs with a microscope in hand?

“Uh-hum, it appears you are somewhat swollen.” Dark frown raises with suspicion. “Who’s been here?”

“Huh? Are you out of your mind?”

Yeah, someone was losing it and I’m certain it was me. He actually didn’t have a microscope, but considering the amount of effort he put into these inspections, he may as well have. Besides feeling utterly violated at such a derogatory treatment, I had no idea how he thought another man could get in. Too bad if the building caught fire too. I would’ve been toast.

The Crisis eventually arrived in the form of suffocation. Over the years our relationship had disintegrated to the point of disparity and existed for the sake of familiarity, the vows we had taken and the children we had created. Discordance dominated the connection; the pages in our book were verging on an entirely different series. Emptiness replaced the meaningful exchanges and delicious intimacy we had once thrived on – and yes, that was there in the beginning. But intimacy and connecting had become something of the past and I needed more for myself, and yet, I buried that internal need to grow for the longest of times.

The universe offered a crack. I had a choice.

If I continued to play it safe, I would be better off financially and the children would not have to endure the reality of a broken home. Stay and I wouldn’t have to endure hardship or raise three children alone; stay and I would remain miserable and oppressed, and in doing so, I would inevitably deny myself of my own truth.

Climaxes are not always earth-shatteringly exquisite, but they always bring change. I’m not certain what finally broke the final piece of resistance, but suddenly, something clicked inside of me – I couldn’t deny what I needed and craved in order to nourish my soul. It was then that I began the change by anchoring myself in the present and daring to see my life differently; a life that he had spent years trying to convince me that I was too weak to create.

 So, one day when he was condemning and criticizing me, I looked him in the eye and told him that he could try as hard as he liked but he would NEVER break me. Then I did it – I made the first moves to make a change that I had thought was nearly impossible.

He wasn’t an easy man to escape. Those who thrive on controlling women never are. He even threw things at me as I held my terrified two-year-old and stuffed my belongings in boxes as I prepared to shift myself and my children out of there.

Resolutions are like a breath of fresh air asthe new normal settles in your bones. I had resisted change because I was afraid of the unknown, but it was when I peeked through the crack the universe had provided for long enough that I believed that I was able to place my faith in an uncharted future. It was either that or continue on the same path that wasn’t lighting me up on the inside. And that is what it comes down to – knowing when to embrace the mysteries of an unmapped future and when to play it safe.

The future is there regardless. Playing it safe and hiding from exciting opportunities or unbridled passion, or just a change for the better might be terrifying, but it won’t enrich your life in the same ways that owning your truth will. We are here to carve our notch on the surface of time. If we don’t write our chapters with our authentic selves, then we cheat ourselves more than anyone.

It’s like being faced with a field of blooming daisies and the universe cracks open to present you a rare wildflower. Picking the wildflower could be risky and exhilarating, but it could mean the beginning of the next chapter in your life if you are but game and brave enough to pluck the stem from the universe and step into the uncharted future.

memoir, writing

Tribes – An Introvert’s Perspective

I’d never been the outgoing, make-friends-easy type. I have been shy around new people for as long as I can remember. I was the little kid hiding behind my mother’s skirt if a stranger dared smile my way. Should an adult so much as utter a word to me back then, all kinds of inner turmoil would ensue. I would clam up, be tongue-tied and nervous while trying to figure out how to speak without sounding like an idiot. I would later discover my Myer Briggs personality type, which happened to explain a lot.

The Myer Briggs personality type indicator was constructed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, and is based on the conceptual theory proposed by Carl Jung.

Turns out, I’m an introverted personality type, a rare INTP to be exact. And surprise, surprise, it’s normal for INTPs to feel odd, because underneath all that cool exterior, we are oddballs at heart and so easily misunderstood. Now I know why most people just don’t get my dark sense of humour. Well, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😉

Not only did I have an introverted personality to contend with, I also had a torrent of self-esteem/confidence issues deeply ingrained in my psyche ever since I can remember. In short, the self-confidence was lacking somewhere beyond my feet. It would take me many years to yank it back where it belonged – and even then, the struggles are ongoing. Perhaps it is because I come from a long line of introverts (father’s side of the family).

My father must be the most introverted person I’ve ever known. You want reserved, quiet, non-speaking individuals? I’ve got plenty lined up around here. Let’s just say dinner conversation wasn’t a big thing in my childhood. Nevertheless, exploring what it means to be an introvert is a whole other subject to dive into in the future. For now, we’re hitting the tribe topic – friends.

Despite my shortcomings in the making-friends department, by the time I reached sixteen years of age, I managed to eventually surround myself with a handful of gems. Genuine people I will never forget. I guess being an introvert, you’re able to sift along the sidelines, scraping through the constant noise and chaos in the world and eventually attract the stickers – the diamonds in the rough, the real deal. In case you didn’t get it, I’m talking about the bona fide sincere folks who live with integrity in their hearts and breathe the air of loyalty.

I found them. Or they found me. Either way, the tribe was established and we were in it together through thick and thin. Apart from two close school friends, the members in my tribe were about three to four years older than me. Looking back, I think the age difference made all the difference – they had cars (yippee!). No, seriously, the difference in age reflected in their take on the world. These guys and gals were thoughtful visionaries, penetrating the future with a contemplative flare I admired.

Every weekend, we’d grab our gear before we’d all pile into those cars and head west towards the Hawkesbury River – a 120 kilometre stretch of water that eventually flows into the Tasman Sea. Once there, we’d find our little weekend hub in the form of a camp ground by the river – a quiet spread of countryside nestled in the green valleys of Lower Portland. I can tell you, though, that the rolling, serene landscape was no longer serene following the arrival of our tribe. Especially come night.

By day we were slaves to the river. The speed boats were lowered carefully down the eroded ramps and into the water. The flashy wetsuits were adorned, the water skis dusted off for another run, and we’d hit that water like tomorrow might never come. Then, the sun would begin to shift over the horizon, giving way to a more chilled vibe involving camp fires, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. You can fill in the rest for yourself.

Good times. We’ve all had them – memories that impress somewhere in your brain matter and lend you that nostalgic smile every now and then. Recalling the good stuff is like the sweetest candy for your soul, and I am grateful for every single piece that indulges me. Those are memories I’ll cherish for all of time. Even the ones that were born from horror. You see, hanging out with people and enjoying great experiences is awesome, but it isn’t until the shit hits the fan that you realise the strong bonds you have formed with the people in your life. That’s when friends transcend beyond the standard friendship. That’s when you realise the love that exists between you.

It was New Year’s eve 1991 and I was seventeen years old with no parents in sight (Helloooo freedom). It was those weird-ass summer months in Australia, you know, those strange days that begin around Christmas and last until the school year resumes. I was staying on my own in my home with my boyfriend and my little brother.

We’d decided to attend a party at a nearby beach pub beer garden – minus the little brother, of course. The usual players came along – my beloved tribe, as well as a whole lot of other people I didn’t know. The night passed in the standard New Year celebratory fashion. The bourbons went down faster than you could say “I want another drink”. The music caused some hips to swing, and the conversations were intense – in a good way, I think. I could say we saw the New Year in gracefully, but I’d be lying.

By the time the hours grew thin and we made the move to go home, things got a little out of whack. There’s that threshold with booze – the moment when it all seems to flood your system at once and control becomes a faded inkling beyond your grasp. Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not actually talking about myself. It was the boyfriend – way too much beer and whatever else might have found its way down his cake hole that night, and things got bad fast.

I’m not going to go into the nitty-gritty of it all, but the scene ended with lost car/house keys, broken glass and vanished precious jewellery, an enormous amount of blood, emergency surgery and tears – buckets of them. By the night’s end, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room waiting for the doctors to bring news of my boyfriend’s microsurgery and watching the sun rise.

Meh. Shit happens.

Actually, at the time, it was pretty traumatic shit and the experience left me feeling numb, lost and alone, and totally out of my depth. There were no parents around to mop up the mess. Nobody to take the lead and make it all right. I was seventeen and going home to an empty apartment stained with gallons of blood and shattered glass. With no keys to unlock the front door, no less.

As it turned out, that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Remember those friends I was rambling on about earlier?

Yeah. Hell. Yeah.

They swept in beneath me like the feathers of angel wings, cocooning all around me. They had all the keys replaced; they picked me up and took me to the hospital every day; they cleaned out the apartment and took me to the location to painstakingly search for the gold chain and pendants that were so sentimental to me. They made sure I was okay each moment of every day until the ordeal passed.

As I write these words, I can’t help but feel the warmth trickling through my being. I will always love those people. They are my people, even when the years stretch between us. The power of true friendship is an all-encompassing journey not to be taken for granted. Treasure those that honour you and appreciate the layers they bring to your life. For in a world filled with superficial encounters and nameless strangers, it is rare to find authentic connections. Sweet soul candy can never be underestimated.

And yes, with the help of my friends, we found each and every little gold charm that’d I’d lost on a shadowy street when the world darkened, and sanity was temporarily misplaced. I still have them.


memoir, writing

Greenhorn; beliefs and opinions

“Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.”

~ Dirty Harry.

The first time I heard those words spoken wasn’t during a screening of a Clint Eastwood flick. No blue-eyed, hard-nosed, convention defying Harry Callahan strutting with his Smith & Wesson revolver lit up my screen and branded my ears with that sentence for the first time. Far from it. I was twenty and it had been during a showing of the Nazi symbol firmly tattooed on the brawny arm of a bikie greenhorn.

Maybe I’d had one too many bourbons that night, or maybe I’d grown comfortable enough around these new friends to finally express myself a little. But then again, perhaps it was just when I was confronted by a symbol that to me represented fascism, dictatorship and the murder of around six million people that I had trouble taming the instant revulsion swirling in my belly. And there it was, flung out in the open before I could catch it – my opinion.

The words started to roll over my tongue, and at each unsatisfactory answer, I probed even more. Suddenly, I wanted to know why the bikie beefcake wore that symbol on his arm as if it were a prized medal, and more importantly, I wanted to know how he could choose to believe in such an atrocity.

And he wanted me to “shut the f**k up”.

I have an asshole, you see.

Those were the days when I was introduced to a new world of long whiskers, leather jackets and hot motorbikes. I know what you’re thinking, but before romanticised visions of Sons of Anarchy flood your mind, I’ll stop you right there. There were no super-hot males swaggering around in tight jeans and fitted shirts. And certainly, no Jax Teller straddling a shiny Harley-Davidson and beckoning me to cosy up behind him before whisking me off into the sunset.

Uh-uh. Not even close.

But that’s not why that scene fast became a fleeting memory for me. I stuck it out for a few months because my boyfriend had decided they were his new tribe. To be fair, some of them were his childhood friends. But in the end, I discovered it was a world in which I didn’t belong.

It wasn’t that they were bad people. Although none of them remotely resembled Jax from the above-mentioned notorious biker series, for the most part, they were fun to hang out with and quite accommodating. There were no qualms when it came to sharing, and I have to admit, they knew how to party. And party hard they did. I’d even made a friend among them. She was one of the girlfriends. She was blonde and nice, in a rough-around-the-edges kind of way, and she took a liking to me.

After a while, though, she was banished from her biker-girlfriend position, and cast aside for the next in line. She piled her belongings into her car and to my surprise, stopped by my house on the way out of town to give me my first dreamcatcher because she said I was the nicest person she’d met in Sydney. Another surprise. I mean, I knew she liked me but to be the nicest person she’d met in Sydney? I was honoured.

Then I remembered her choice of company.

Wait – was that another opinion flung out across my keyboard?

Well, I do have an asshole remember, and I’m betting the last time you checked, you do too. In all seriousness, I didn’t think more or less of that particular group of people. They were no different to me, and free to express their opinions and beliefs as much as the next person, even if the Nazi symbol had offended me at the time.

Actually, the part that had upset me the most during that interaction was when the bikie greenhorn responded with the phrase so famously spoken by Clint Eastwood in the movie The Dead Pool. I remember blushing and feeling embarrassed. I had no idea how to react, and suddenly felt self-conscious. I guess he had accomplished his intention, because yeah, I shut up pretty fast following that remark. And something else occurred to me – not everyone wanted to hear my opinion, and nor was it necessary for me to share it.

Opinions. Unless you’re a Buddhist monk, most of us can’t get through life without forming them, believing in them and living according to them. Hell, even Buddhist monks live according to their beliefs, right?

They are the threads of thoughts drawn from our experiences, our cultural, societal and academic backgrounds, and family heritage, and are strung together to eventually inform our belief systems.

We have all kinds of belief systems, too – religious and spiritual beliefs, political beliefs, philosophical and ideological, and the list goes on to eventually settle in the core of your being after you have sifted through it all and decided to adhere to a set of beliefs that feel right to you.

But what are beliefs and opinions really?

Practised thoughts. Practise a thought enough and it will become your reality. I could say I believed the sight of that Nazi tattoo offended me – until it didn’t. Until I realised that by allowing the outer conditions of my world to influence my reactions and feelings, that I was really giving power to circumstances and conditions outside of myself.

I’m not saying I had a complete about-face and now advocate the heinous actions of the Nazis and what would result as the holocaust. Quite the contrary. But I am saying that you can never escape the opinions and beliefs of others, and you’re not always going to agree or like what you see or hear. You can, however, choose how you react to those situations, and you can choose not to allow the opinions of others influence your self-esteem and self-worth.

Do I always get this right?

Hell no.

I still get hurt and feel emotional pain, and sometimes have fleeting moments of loss of control. Only now, it is the people that I love that can stir my most inner emotions. I don’t give that power away too easily these days, and even then, it has its limitations because I remind myself that I cannot pin my happiness, the outcome of my life, or my self-worth on anyone other than myself.

People will always have opinions, feel the need to share them and judge. You can’t stop it – even in yourself at times. But when I hear someone judging another person or impressing their opinions about them, or even when I feel the urge to pass judgement on another myself, I recall the words of Matt Kahn when he said, “May the person judging be the next in line for love.”

At the end of the day, that’s all we can do – qualify judgement with love and move on.

Move on with love.


Uncategorized, writing

Getting Real

Who Am I?

Have you ever sat down and silently pondered that question? I mean, really allowed the thought to seep into your consciousness to the point you’re confronted with your deepest truths. What you see and acknowledge when you strip the layers can be rather unsettling at first, but when you push past the flesh and bone, and give your undivided attention to your essence, the feelings that erupt are indescribable.

It’s at this moment you come into the full realisation that you are nothing that the outer-world sees, and everything that lives and thrives within you.

In January 2007 I walked out on a life I’d been living for over a decade. It was a life that flourished beneath the oppressive hands of brutality and domination. I had left that world behind with no inkling of who I was, who I could be, or indeed, if I was even worthy of happiness.

In that marriage, I wasn’t permitted to be myself. Every remark, thought, idea and action I’d made was inevitably met with harsh criticism and condemnation, and sometimes, a hard slap on the face. I was living on the edge of my nerves, and slowly suffocating as a result. My then husband had no idea who I really was, and he had no interest in discovering what I could offer as an individual either.

I believe even the most difficult relationships exist solely for our personal growth. Sometimes it might feel just the opposite, though. What can you possibly learn about yourself when living under such repressive conditions? Surely those relationships hinder your growth?

Maybe. I guess.

I once knew of an elderly couple that lived in my neighbourhood. They were widely known around town because the old husband severely abused his wife. The abuse had been going on for decades, through the raising of their family and the eventual arrival of grandchildren. Nobody could understand why that little old lady stayed with her monster of a husband. He was cruel and unjust, and he treated her worse than their family dog.

The thing that stuck out in my mind the most, though, was that when they drove past in their car, the husband would force his wife to sit in the back seat. She wasn’t worthy enough to claim the front seat beside him. In his mind, she was beneath him. So, he’d drive his car down the street with his ego belted in, and his thin frail wife hunched behind him in the back seat. It was plain to see that this old man had accomplished his objective – he’d broken her spirit.

How does that make you feel? That a human being could view another in such a derogatory light? That a person compiled of the same flesh and blood as you and me could dare think he was a superior being and squish the light from another?

I’ll tell you how it makes me feel – saddened. For both of them. There is nothing more tragic than for one person to limit another human being. Such mind-control towards a sensitive person can limit that person for years and can even be compared to murder – spirit murder.

When another person treats you in that way, it is never about you and everything about the way the perpetrator feels about themselves and their view of the world. It’s what you choose to accept to be true that informs your experiences. Can you imagine the internal torment involved in such circumstances? I can. I’ve lived it.

That old lady had suffered at the hands of her husband her entire married life and eventually accepted that to be true for her experience. She felt that she deserved nothing more from life. She was too broken, too hopeless, and too unloved to act on any impulse to change her life, even if she had wanted to. And I’m not talking about the love she didn’t feel from her husband, I’m talking about self-love.

Yet, the life that woman had accepted to be true for herself was the driving force behind the life I eventually rejected. It was her slouching image sitting in the back seat of the car that played in my mind for twelve long years. It was the same image that I vowed not to become. Sometimes, a chosen life of despair has a profound ripple effect far greater than what we realise. For that woman’s heartache and horrific experience, I can only wish her love and give gratitude for the impact it had over mine.

Still, I did not go unscathed, and entered a new life without really knowing who I was or what I wanted. It wasn’t long after that that I felt an underlying pull towards the divinity. When the moments grow silent and stillness is all around, and you are alone, eventually you have to face yourself and travel a path towards the truth.

The future spread out before me like an uncarved road I couldn’t quite envision, and although there were often times that I felt scared, I chose to trust in the part of myself that was real – my soul, my essence. It was the part that connected me to something far greater than myself.

Well, I figured I had no choice really, and I did so with a sense of excitement.  In those early years of awakening to new ideas and self-awareness, I didn’t understand what I was feeling all of the time, but when I discovered new revelations, it was like pure bliss for my soul. I could sense my soul rejoicing as I evolved. I remember opening books and reading the text, and revelling in the euphoric buzz that would ensue as the remnants of the truth resonated within me.

I look back now and I realise I had been standing on the threshold of what would unfold as my own personal spiritual journey. And with every fibre of my being, I understand I couldn’t have reached that level of self-evolution and self-awareness without experiencing the pain and angst of abusive relationships.

I chose to grow from those experiences. I chose myself, and I chose to seek answers to the questions that had always plagued me – who am I, really? I knew there was more, much more, and I wasn’t satisfied with the dense 3D version we face here on the earth plane.

So, what is real?

Real is love, real is what is inside of you.

I am love, and so are you.


memoir, writing

Kiss Bombs



“Oh, how she wanted to kiss those lips! Her quickened pulse felt like fire in her veins – she wanted to feel him now. Her eyes locked onto his as she closed the space between them, circling her hands around his neck and tangling her fingers in his hair as she crushed her lips against his.”

~ excerpt from Wildflower, Kim Petersen

Okay, let’s clear this up from the start – kissing is fun. No, more than that, kissing is bliss. Lips touch and tongues entwine in a beautiful language all of their own. You’re drawn into a secret world known only to the two of you, and as the kiss deepens, you’re pretty sure you could stay there forever. You might too, if you didn’t need air.

Kissing. The world spins high, your pulse is a cackle of exquisite explosions, and the inducing body rush is enough to weaken your knees. Pleasurable chemicals are released – dopamine and adrenaline flood your being, and voila, you’re in heaven, baby!

Kissing is probably underrated for the most part – the lingering looks and deep kisses wear off too quickly among couples that have been together for an extended period. It’s a shame, a damned shame, because it’s a proven fact that kissing is a de-stressor. Negative emotions shut down as the bonding hormone oxytocin is released, and kissing is found to decrease serum cholesterol. And let’s not discount the physical benefit – we use around 30 muscles when kissing. That is toning, my friends! (So long Botox!)

I look over my kissing history with fond memories and cheesy grins. My lip trail began during those early school days playing kiss and catch with the boys. I learned how to run exceptionally fast back then. Oh yes, no way was I going to let a boy catch me. When my little legs failed and my heart was about to explode, I’d cheat and hide out in the school library, only to be sprung by my pursuers with nowhere to escape. Hiding behind teachers then became my game.

The kisses resulting upon capture in that childhood game were harmless little pecks. I’m not so sure what I was worried about. Maybe it was the prospect of being too close to sweaty boys. Arms would ensnare and hands grip my head like a vice before the incoming peck slammed against the cheek like a victorious stamp.

I changed schools during the 4th grade and graduated to more mature levels of kissing. Like, not. In that school, it was all about suggestive innuendo where the boys would say stuff like “I want to see your dictionary” and “I love eucalyptus”. Or just stare until the blush crept up like raw beetroot. I mean – c’mon?

Seriously though, I’m no kissing expert, but I’ve experienced my fair share – from the downright WTF was that kind of kiss, to the soft romantic variety, to the euphoric depths of passion where too much is never enough. I’ve kissed boys, I’ve kissed men, and I’ve experienced the seductive lips of women. Believe me when I say, I understand why it’s sooo nice to kiss women. But what about the first real kiss?

I’ll tell you there were no stars soaring across the sky that night – no chemical rush to support the hype surrounding the art of the kiss. My pulse was flat and my stomach curled. I almost gave up on the notion of kissing then and there on that dark crowded dance floor during a Blue Light disco.

His name was Brandon. He was tall and solid, a whole lot of awkward and a whole lot of ginger. To be fair, it wasn’t Brandon; it was his first kiss too, and he really was a sweetheart. I was fourteen and the thing was, all my friends were experts at the kissing game – all except me.

Every couple of months the NSW police department would organise a disco for the local teens. They’d set up a huge screen and feature video clips (MTV days). The music blasted, and the smoke machine worked overtime. Sometimes, they’d even have bands playing. It was awesome and we came in droves.

It was supposed to be a clean affair – no booze, no weed, no anything else. Naturally, we’d all figure our way around this little hiccup. Sneaky teens do rebel, and everyone would look forward to the next Blue Light disco. In its time, it was the place to be.

The problem?  I was shy, but my friends thought it was about time I let someone plant a proper kiss on my inexperienced lips. And damn it, they were going to make it happen.

Poor Brandon. Poor me. It was a slobbery exchange of stiff lips and graceless tongues, and it lasted a few short moments before I excused myself and hid in a corner somewhere until I felt safe to face him again. We both decided we weren’t into forced kissing. Well, I thought it was mutual decision and that was good enough for me.

The next time I summoned enough courage to press my lips against another’s, it was my choice and my choosing. Thankfully, the path of getting down and saucy with cute boys, lips and tongues improved to hot exchanges that quickly backed up the whole kissing hype, and once mastered, I never looked back.

Whether it’s something as simple as kissing, it’s important to realise the need to trust our inner selves and take our cues from that voice within. I wasn’t ready to kiss that boy that night. The act was forced and the result was disappointing, and I’d felt like I’d somehow failed. But when I was ready to kiss someone, it felt good and natural, and the experience unfolded as it should have, and I was left feeling positive.

You will never lead yourself astray if you take guidance from your inner-being and listen to your instincts. Now, what are you waiting for? Go pucker up and de-stress!