Tuesday’s Grateful List

Today I am grateful that I had a three day yoga retreat over the weekend. 
My friend Kylie and I signed up to the three day weekend with My Yoga Retreat at Gymea Eco Retreat and Spa

“Why Retreat?”

By “retreating” from everyday life, from your usual habits and patterns and from other people’s expectations of you & delving deep into your yoga & meditation practice you will truly spend time for yourself and in doing so, get to know yourself better and replenish your tank, so that you can be there for those around you… more present, more compassionate and more content. 

From the retreat website:http://myyogaretreat.com.au/retreat-information/ 

Today I am grateful for the yoga. We did yoga all weekend. The morning started with sun salutations facing Mt Warning ( Wollumbin). It was a very special way to start the day. 

Today I am grateful for the amazing vegetarian food we ate all weekend. Even the deserts were vegetarian . 

Raspberry and coconut cake with avocado Grenache . Photo by Lightcapturer.com

Today I am grateful for the meditation we did.

Today I am grateful that I turned off my phone and did not take my iPad or computer for the weekend so I had a digital detox as well.

Today I am grateful for the hours of silence after dinner up until after breakfast each day.

Today I am grateful for the connection to nature that we made. 

Today I am grateful for the interesting people that shared the weekend. They were all there to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful place and do yoga. 

Today I am grateful for the two ladies who ran the retreat – Kara and Merryl. 

Photo courtesy of My Yoga Retreat

Today I am grateful for the photographer who took the beautiful photographs over the weekend. His name is Bevan Rijkaart from Lightcapturer Photo Services. He is based at Burleigh and his photographs are beautiful. 

Today I am grateful that I was able to go away on this retreat and I knew David was home looking after our family beautifully. 

Until next time 

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Tuesday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful that all the cyclists that were injured in last Friday’s terrible bicycle accident are relatively ok. The two girls are bruised and sore but they are both already talking about their new bikes. The boys have broken bones and may take a little longer to heal but they are alive and all but one is out of hospital. If you are reading this post today please send them all healing thoughts. I believe sending positive thoughts will make a difference to their recovery. 

Today I am grateful for my amazing weekend. The rowing season has finished for my daughters but the Head Coach Sally Calley from Girls’ Grammar offered to take a group of Mums out for an hour on Saturday morning. What fun ! We rowed in an eight and managed to stay upright and dry. A number of us are very keen to row together. It is strange how opportunities arise if you are open to new things and new experiences. 

Today I am grateful that my friend Dave Shelberg and I sang at a fundraising gig for some lovely girls riding from Byron Bay to Brisbane with an organisation called Chain Reaction. The money raised from their fundraising will go to Hummingbird House . Hummingbird House is a charity that supports kids and families with life limiting illnesses. 
Today I am grateful that on Sunday David and I went to Kinky Boots. It was a fabulous show. It was also very topical with the theme of the show accepting each other for the way we are. 

Today I am grateful that I did a windtrainer this morning. It was hard but hopefully it will be improving my fitness and you never know what the future will bring. 

Today I am grateful that when I got home from my windtrainer I saw a kangaroo in our garden! If I had not been out early I never would have seen it. 

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring weather and have a lovely day.

Until next time 

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Today I am not grateful.

Today I am not grateful. 

On Friday five of the cycling family of Brisbane got hit by a car. They were out on their regular Friday morning river loop when a car did a u turn in front of the group descending Doorknock Tce. All five of them had to be taken to hospital in ambulances. All five of them have significant injuries. I think they are all going to be ok. 

My husband David was in the group that day and was not involved in the crash but was one of the first on the scene. He said it was terrible. Bikes and people all over the road. He called me at 620am that morning. His first words to me were – I am ok but there has been a big crash. He asked me to get dressed, put the bike rack on my car and come to the scene. As so many had gone to hospital in ambulances they needed to get the bikes off the road. I got dressed and got in the car and got 1km from home when he rang again to let me know I wasn’t needed. I then went back home and waited. Waited for news of all my friends. Waited while  I was seeing and reading the news reports about the accident. 

It was a very distressing morning. Because I have been in a cycling accident I know how hard the coming days and months may be for my friends. 

I found the day they all had the accident difficult for a different reason. There were media reports all day about the accident and how serious it was. I was incredibly distressed by the comments by the people of Brisbane about who’s fault it was and the hate that was articulated about cyclists.

I actually got so angry I had to post on the Queensland Police Service Website myself. This is what I said -” I am appalled at the comments by the people of Brisbane on this post. None of you were at the accident. Drivers do not hit cyclists on purpose. Cyclists do not hit cars on purpose. This is a terrible accident and my thoughts and prayers are with all the people involved – cyclists, driver, bystanders, ambulance drivers and police on the scene. Instead of hurling blame at each other put your energy into sending love to all those involved for their wellbeing.”

I know there are many wonderful people in Brisbane but I am saddened at how many angry people are happy to blame another. The whole incident has really shaken my belief that people are intrinsically good and that people are generally kind. 

I think this incident is a good reminder to us all that 

The incident has left me feeling very empty. I feel very selfish because my thoughts and prayers should be for all the riders involved for their care and improvement. I do send prayers and love to them all. 
I also feel this is another incident that has effected how I feel about riding my bicycle. I have spent 2 years getting over my accident. I am now incredibly well. Over the last two years everything I have done has been to help make me stronger and fitter. It has been a long process with lots of hiccoughs. All the time I have worked towards getting back on my bike. Many people have expressed their concern for me getting back on my bike. I was determined to make my decision based on my reasons not based on other people’s fears. Three weeks ago I did my first full river loop. I was so excited. I loved it. I did another river loop two weeks ago and loved it even more. I loved coming around through Chelmer and seeing the sun come up over the river. I loved the chatter. I loved the company. I did not love the impatience that one of the drivers showed our riders going up a steep hill. There was nowhere to pass this rider so the driver had to sit behind them as they climbed the hill. The driver sat on the horn. This was very impatient. The length of the hill is only a couple of minutes. This driver had the potential for making the rider feel incredibly anxious for the sake of a couple of minutes. I have ridden in Europe where the drivers are incredibly patient, sit patiently behind cyclists until it is safe to pass. I cannot understand why Brisbane drivers are so impatient. I chose to ride on the River Loop because I thought this was a pretty safe option for riding. The incident on Friday where the car did a u turn into my friends has shaken my desire to continue riding my bike. I think it may be time to hang up my bike for a while and concentrate on walking. 

I am very very sad that I feel like this. As you all know I love riding. Maybe the future will hold more cycling adventures but at the moment my adventures are going to involve my feet and beautiful scenery not two wheels and beautiful scenery. 

I wish all of those riders in Brisbane and beyond care and safety. I also ask all those drivers of Brisbane to be more patient and caring of our fellow human beings. Please be kind and patient when you are near a rider. We are all mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We all deserve care and we can all share the road. 

Until next time 

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Monday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful that I am brave. I had a video of a memory pop up on Facebook this morning that reminded me that four years ago I went hanggliding in Queenstown. It was the most amazing and beautiful thing I think I have ever done. I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been brave. It did make me stop and think about all the other things that I have been privileged to do because I am brave. I use the word brave because I have so many thoughts of not being good enough before doing these things but I have managed to overcome these feelings generally with an amazing result. 

I am grateful that I have done an ocean swim. I was terrified I would get cramps, run out of breath and look silly but a number of years ago I signed up to do The Noosa Blue Swim in a category that you could wear flippers. It was the most perfect winters day with not a breath of wind and the ocean looked like a mill pond. I did the swim and was lucky enough to swim over a turtle. I would never have been lucky enough to see this beautiful animal in its natural habitat if I had not taken the risk.

I am grateful I have done a 160km ride around Noosa and the local area. Once again I was terrified. I had never ridden that distance before and I was so worried I said goodbye to my children that morning because I thought I was going to get so tired riding 160km in one go that I would fall off my bike and die. I didn’t. I managed the event with a beautiful group of people who were so supportive and we all trained together in the previous months. I was so proud of myself for doing something I thought would be impossible. 

I am grateful I have spoken at two dinners. I am not a natural public speaker and I was very nervous speaking in front of 150 people and then 550 people. I was very sure of my message though and I worked very hard to prepare throughly and practice often. I once again thought I was brave as I wrote my story and gave it to a friend hoping that it would be able to be used in material such as a brochure for the Royal Brisbane Hospital Foundation to raise money for research. I was not expecting to be asked to speak at an event.My friend forwarded my letter to the Foundation and the result was I was asked to speak. I accepted even though I was terrified I would fall over getting to the podium and no one would listen to me. I am proud that I was part of an event where a significant amount of money was raised for research that will effect many people. 

I am grateful I have sung at The Triffid. I sang with a lovely friend Dave Shelberg. We were very particular about our set list, we practiced weekly, we busked in preparation and practiced in front of friends. As a result we had a lot of fun and I think we did a good job. I could easily have said no to Dave asking me but once again I chose to be brave and as a result I had an amazing opportunity to sing at an event that raised much needed funds for AEIOU and I performed in a very cool venue. 

I am grateful that the events I have described above are just a few of the amazing things I have done. I know I will always choose to do things that I am not comfortable with and I know the sense of achievement, and the exposure to amazing opportunities, people and places make the fear and nervousness all worth while. 

 I know my fears may not seem significant to others but they were very significant to me. What can you say yes too that you are terrified about but will expose yourself to an amazing opportunity? I would love to hear what you have done that you were very proud about even though you were really scared. 

Until next time

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Sunday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for being able to walk and talk and hear and see. 

I have just had the most beautiful weekend. I have been away to Sydney with Lyn Morrison and 13 other ladies with Walking Escapes

We walked 42km along the Northern Beaches of Sydney from Collaroy to Balmoral. 

I am grateful for my legs that carried me those 42km without any issue. This is the first big goal I have had since my accident. I have been training on Mt Cootha in Brisbane every Friday in preparation. I wore appropriate clothing. I had a comfortable back pack. I walked with poles to protect my knees  and I wore Iniji toe socks to prevent blisters. I finished with only regular stiffness and I only had one tiny blister on my toe. I am very proud of myself and I am very grateful to Lyn Morrison who not only invited me along to join the trip but provided a trip that was in a beautiful place, comfortable, challenging, and fun. The trip  was in a place that allowed me to feel safe and able to stop easily and return to the hotel by taxi if the distance had been too challenging. I didn’t have to return to the hotel and I loved it!

I am grateful for my voice. I was able to talk, laugh and share stories with 13 women over the course of the weekend. I didn’t know many of these women well and I felt welcome and cared about all weekend. 

I am grateful for my eyes. The view during the walk was stunning. Not only did we have beautiful coastline to admire but we walked past some pretty incredible houses and gardens. 

I am grateful for my ears that listened to women talking, birds chirping and the sound of the ocean. I loved listening to all the stories and life experiences that all these women had experienced. Whenever women get together I am overwhelmed by their  resilience and the care and compassion that is offered to each other. It was an honor to be in their company. I also loved listening to the birds along our walk. At one point there was an unusual call and a big black cockatoo landed very close to us all. We were blessed to see and hear it. 

I am grateful that I have taste buds. We ate at beautiful restaurants and enjoyed some very delicious food and wine. We were also spoilt by Lyn who made home made lemon slice and Anzac biscuits. 

I am grateful that I was able to spend an extra night in Sydney. I caught up with my baby sister. It was great to spend some time with her and her boyfriend Rohan and her beautiful French bulldog George. 

I am also grateful that David was at home looking after things at home and that he was able to race safely yesterday. 

Once again I feel so privileged to be alive! 

Until next time

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Sunday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for a lovely few days. 

On Thursday I received a beautiful bunch of flowers from my husband. It was such a surprise. 

I had a lovely surprise from a friend of mine. She asked me to be speaker at a Women’s Night of Spirituality in September. I have spent a lot of the weekend writing my talk. 

This morning my friend Dave Shelberg and I went busking in preparation for our gig at the Triffid. We made enough money to have a coffee each after our busking. 

I hope you had a lovely weekend too.

Until next time.

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Monday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for early morning starts. 

Lucy was rowing at 6am this morning so I dropped her at the shed – in fact she drove and did very well! 

I then walked along the river, stopped for a Chai at the Goodwill Bridge Cafe, ran into a dear friend Deb Aitcheson and then walked back to the shed. 

I love walking at that time of the morning. It is so cold I definitely know I am alive. 

The sun comes up over the river and it is beautiful watching Brisbane waking up. 

There are lots of like minded people out walking and riding. 
Even the birds are stretching and waking up to greet the morning. 

Lucy and I then came back into Paddington and had breakfast – definitely my favourite meal of the day. 

Until next time 

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Sunday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for the beautiful weekend I am having. 

We are at the coast. I never tire of the beautiful view that I am privileged enough to enjoy when we come down here. 

Yesterday David and I went to 8th Ave. Terrace for lunch. It is one of my most favourite places to eat. 

I am so grateful for the lovely view we had while eating lunch.

I am grateful for the company I had. 

I am grateful that we know the owners and one of them was working yesterday. Zac and Jordon set up Espresso Moto – our favourite breakfast place down here and they have now added a beautiful restaurant to their venues. They are both so passionate about extraordinary ingredients and great service. I love the way they both talk about their goals and standards.

The food yesterday was fantastic. The wine complemented what we ate perfectly. 

I had a lovely long walk this morning to walk off my lunch yesterday and enjoyed a Chai latte sitting on the top of Burleigh watching the surfers and listening to the helicopters over the Gold Coast Marathon that was happening further up the coast. 

Once again I am grateful to be able to enjoy all these things so joyfully. 
Until next time 

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My reflections two years after my cycling accident. 

Today I am grateful that it is over two years ago since my accident. Today I am going to reflect about  how I am and what I have learnt. 

Two years on I still hate the words – everything happens for a reason. I still believe what happened to me on the 10th June, 2015 was an accident. There was no reason for it. It did not make my life better. It did not make my families life better. I do believe everyone experiences terrible things in their lives. I have come to appreciate that everyone experiences dark times in life. The experience of these dark times can break people but it can also illustrate how wonderful the good times are and that it is so important to love and cherish the special times. It is also important to integrate the event into your life and for me that means my life is different but still wonderful. 

I believe in mystery and miracles.  In the last four months I have a much greater appreciation of the possibility that I could have died that day. In fact I do not understand how I could have had a renal artery that was bleeding into my belly for more than 45 minutes and that I am still here to talk about it. It does not make sense. Not everything in our lives can be explained. I love that there are unexplainable possibilities and that miracles are a reality. 

I am lucky. I have read that  chronic post‐surgical pain is common, can be severe and results in distress and disability for patients. I have none. I could suggest that the care I was given and the activities that I have engaged in post accident have caused me to have no pain but I really do not know. I would love to have a greater understanding of this and I would love to know what the recipe is for reducing chronic pain. I would love to be able to advise other people who have experienced trauma to replicate whatever it is that I have done that results in no pain. I believe there are a number of things that could have contributed to having no pain . These include good nutrition, experiencing  lots of unconditional love, gentle exercise, meditation, having a grateful practice, having a wonderful Bowen therapist, having a wonderful chiropractor, having a wonderful physiotherapist, doing an Aruyvedic detox, floating in a flotation tank regularly and singing regularly. This again illustrates the mystery of life. 

The way I exercise has changed. When I was young I did not do much exercise at all because I always felt that I was not good enough. After having my children I discovered a love of exercising and I loved how good I felt with all those good endorphins flowing. Once I started cycling I discovered a world of like minded people and an endless number of wonderful places to explore on my bike. I think I also became focused on the end result and I always worried that I was not going to keep up on the next ride instead of purely appreciating the ride. The last two years have reminded me that the present moment is what is important and that whatever exercise I am doing and whatever pace I am doing is perfectly enjoyable. 

I still have days when I react to a situation in a totally unexpected way. I was walking a few weeks ago on Mt Cootha and the descent was very steep and slippery. I panicked and then cried. My thought process was I have fallen once very badly – I do not want that to happen again. I stopped , took some big deep breathes, and pulled myself together. I have learnt it is very important to be gentle on myself and recognize these times are possible. I know if these incidents become regular or unrealistic that I need to go and get help. 

I believe in a higher being and I believe in angels. Again this is part of the magic and mystery of life. I believe there are many angels that walk among us on this planet. They don’t do grand things they just make the lives of those they come in contact with better. I do not believe in hell. The reason I don’t believe in hell is because I believe everyone deserves forgiveness. Perhaps for some people their hell is what happens to them on earth. I have been asked if I saw the light on that day in 2015. Nope I did not see the light – I instructed my husband to go home and do the washing. I have no idea what happens to us after we die but I do believe in eternal life.  I am unaware what form that takes but I am absolutely sure we live on in those people that we have made a difference to. We may go to heaven but I truly believe our spirit lives on in others irrespective of the existence of heaven. For this reason I believe it is always best to be kind. 

Practicing gratitude works. I can and sometimes am overwhelmed with the sadness of others and the terrible things human beings can do not only to our planet but also to each other. There were times in the last few years I could have become overwhelmed that my life was different to what I expected. Practicing gratitude made me look for the positive things. Practicing gratitude makes me realize that there is so much good in the world and that so many wonderful wonderful people exist and are working tirelessly to improve our planet and the lives of others. 

I cry a lot and that is Ok. It is ok to be devastatingly sad. When someone you love dies, when people are killed needlessly it is ok to cry and it is also ok to cry over little stuff. 

Meditation works for me. I meditate because I think it is important to have some way of creating space in my day. I have an iPhone, an iPad, a computer and a television. Meditating allows me to create a little bit of space and to be truly in the present. I always dedicate my meditation practice to being a better and kinder person for the benefit of all living things. I love thinking that there are many many other people doing the same thing at the same time all trying to be better and calmer which hopefully means humanity is evolving to be a little bit better.  

In relation to cycling I am cycling a little bit. I do not fit in anywhere any more. I am too slow to ride in any groups. I am too scared to ride on my own. I tried to get a ride going on a Sunday but I found it was too big a responsibility to be the one organizing it and if I had been out on Saturday night I worried about letting people down. I am trying to do a regular windtrainer session during the week with the aim of getting back on the road to do a slow river loop. I hope this happens. Riding used to be so important to me. It is not so important any more but when I am driving at 530am in the morning either to walk or take a child to rowing and I see riders on the road I still cry. I still want to be riding with like minded people, watching the sun come up over the river as I ride around or seeing the sun coming up over the bay when I ride out to Wellington Point. 

I have learnt I can achieve whatever I want to achieve. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. I have finished a Graduate Diploma in Counselling. It has taken me a long time. The reason it has taken so long is because when I started I was determined to do my diploma in a way that would not impact my family life. It didn’t impact my family life. My study was then interrupted by my accident. I didn’t have the cognitive function to go back to it until this year. I have now finished!!!!! I eventually got there. 

I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been given as a result of the accident. I have been the guest speaker at the HeARTfelt Dinner and I have been the guest speaker at the Right Royal Affair. Both events raised money for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation. I am grateful that I have been able to give something to this organization. 

Many people said to me two years ago that it would take me at least two years to get over my accident. I didn’t believe them. I thought once my surgical incisions had healed I would be back to how I was before the accident. I have learnt that we are never the same from one day to the next. I will never be the same person as I was two years ago. I still grieve over what I have lost and how things are different for me now but I am happy and I love life and that is what is important. 

The first day post accident .

Two years to the day after the accident – Life is wonderful.

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Saturday’s Grateful List 

Today I am grateful for all the amazing people who do incredible things in response to what is going on in the world. I can get so overwhelmed with the terrible things that happen in the world and so I have to work really hard to remind myself that there is always light to counter the dark. I think that the light actually outshines the dark. This always reminds me of humanity’s incredible resilience and I truly believe our world is full of wonderful human beings. 

Here are a few reminders of this humanity. 

The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971:

Organized by Beatles legend George Harrison and Norah Jones’ father, Ravi Shankar, the two concerts were held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on August 1, 1971. According to Yahoo Music, the events were created to raise money and awareness for East Pakistan refugees, who were struggling to become Bangladesh at the time. Packed with an all-star line up, The Concert for Bangladesh was the first benefit concert of its kind. The concerts were attended by a total of 40,000 people. This concert set the stage for mega-watt benefit concerts that pulled in various big-name artists for one common cause.

Live Aid in 1985:

 Sir Bob Geldof’s famed concert for the starving in Africa, which was held on July 13, 1985, was at Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia.
Performers included Phil Collins, Sade, Bryan Ferry, U2, Queen, David Bowie, the Who, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, the Pretenders, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan.
The Live Aid concert raised $38 million.

A Concert for Life: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in 1992:

 The concert was held at London’s Wembley Stadium. The concert acted as both a tribute to the late Queen singer, and a benefit for AIDS research. The was an audience of 72,000 and broadcast live on television and radio to 76 countries around the world. There was believed to be an audience of up to one billion people. The money raised was intended to go to “AIDS projects worldwide.”
Performers included the surviving members of Queen, Metallica, Def Leppard, U2, Guns N’ Roses, Seal, David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Elton John, George Michael, Annie Lennox, and Robert Plant.

Artists for Grenfell 

Simon Cowell has pulled together multiple acts to raise money for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Until next time

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