Space to breathe

Space to grow

Space to be

What do you long to fill your life with, if only you had the space?

Join me as I share calm, serenity and hope, and gently guide you to clear space for breathing, growing and being...

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Thunderplumps and rainbows and other magical things…

May 20th, 2008 · 12 Comments

Hmmm… with a title like that, you’re entitled to think I’ve lost the plot or something.

Let me see if I can explain.

I love this thing called blogging. And I love the connections that the internet brings my way, that allow me to make friends in far off places. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d know two wonderful women in Scotland, I might not have laughed in your face, but I certainly would have been sceptical, no matter how shiny your crystal ball.

But wonder of wonder, the crystal ball would have been correct. I have met (virtually) and got to know Joanna Young, who is now a good friend and a valued contributor to The Calm Space. Through Joanna, I met Amy Palko, and her beautiful photography graced this month’s Breathing Space.

Ever since hubby and I spent time driving through Scotland in our just-married and childless years we have loved the place. It doesn’t hurt that I married a Wallace – and that my father-in-law’s name is William! We both can trace our roots back to that small, cold, so-picturesque country on the other side of the world.

I have often said I want to go backand have Christmas in Scotland in a castle … coldness and open fires and woolly jumpers and mulled wine and snow balls and all that magical, fairy-tale stuff that a hot summer Christmas in Australia just isn’t conducive to.

Um… so what does this have to do with the title of this post?

Well… the Scots, you see, they have their own language. Yes, they speak ‘English’ but they have another, beautifully rich and evocative language that is uniquely theirs. And sometimes they talk about things, and I have no idea what they are talking about.

Recently Joanna went to Chicago for SOBCon08 and gave Brad Shorr a book of Scottish words and phrases. Brad gleefully shared some intriguing words from the book. One of them was Thunderplump.

Say it out loud. Thunderplump. mmmm…

I read his post (thanks to a pointer from Rosa - another magical connection) right after a thunderplump had passed through here on Saturday.

Here’s a couple of the photos I took (as inspired by Amy, I’m learning to see things through a lens…)

The storm hits! What a downpour...

Typical sub-tropical storm – came in from the west and down it poured. The gutters just cannot cope…

the storm leaves as fast as it came, over the mountains and far away...

The storm retreats over the mountains to the north…

The beauty of a rainbow to the east… taken from my front door. Hope remains.

Yes, a thunderplump is a thunderstorm… don’t you love it? Can’t you just hear the word, rolling around the mouth before exploding out in a barrage of scottishness?

What magical things have exploded in your world lately?

→ 12 CommentsTags: Calm Space · Heart and Home · Noticing Miracles

Starting my week… in the present moment

May 19th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Life is not a someday thing

or a one day thing.

It is a right now,

everyday thing.

Life is in the living,

every hour of every day.

~source unknown

On this beautiful Monday morning, I found this poem a powerful reminder! I’ve been thinking a lot about the future and needed the reminder that I am living now. not then.

It is easy to get distracted and lose focus on right now, isn’t it?

I have been planning and preparing and mentally challenging myself over some big changes that are looming rather largely on my horizon. It is accompanied by anticipation, fear and a sense that if I take my eyes off it, it may disappear like a mirage in the desert – never really there at all…

is it a mirage, or an oasis?

This morning, this quote I had copied into my diary some time ago jumped out at me as a reminder that here and now is my life.

I realised that if it is a mirage instead of a miracle, then obsessing focusing on it won’t make a scrap of difference.

I cannot put my life on hold, waiting for it. I need to live and experience all that is my crazy, topsy-turvy life at the moment.

And somehow, I feel a weight has been lifted. I don’t need to worry, fret or be fearful. I don’t need to be there, at all. Here is enough. There will be there when its time has come.

The challenge is to remember that. Regularly.

[I will be sharing the changes with you as soon as I can... they are all wonderful and positive.]

A Clearing Space Moment

What are you giving up this current moment for?

Is there something in your future (or the hope of) that is drawing your attention away from your now?

How do you bring your attention back to here and now? Please share in the comments!

→ 7 CommentsTags: Noticing Miracles · Start Your Week with Joy

Balancing on the high-wire at The Calm Space

May 9th, 2008 · 5 Comments

Does your life sometimes make you feel like you’re a circus performer?

You know, the kind who walks the high-wire (where’s the net?) while simultaneously juggling delicate crystal goblets, flaming fire-sticks and your best china?

I know mine does!

Sometimes our life seems a hair-breadth from total catastrophe. But somehow, we keep going. The balancing act never ends, the show is on an eternally playing loop.

Highwire found on Flickr by Gee

Photo Credit: HighWire found on Flickr by Gee

It seems to be a common feeling… life is so busy, so demanding and so always on.

This month, over at The Calm Space, the contributors share their personal takes on the issue of balance and that high-wire act. Whilst all the writers share their own perspective and speciality on the whole balance issue, there seems to be a common thread through all the articles.

Balance is an inside job. We wont find ‘the solution’ out there somewhere. There is no magical net waiting to catch us when we lean too far off kilter… it’s up to you to find your own equilibrium.


The Calm Space has a new contributor, writing for The Sustainability Space, Marc Lehmann. Marc is a naturalist and a minimalist with a passion for sustainability and his first article really made me stop and think.

We also welcome the beautiful photography of Amy Palko to The Breathing Space. Amy chose this amazing image for us this month because, in her own words,

“I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about balance and what it means to me, and also where I find it. For me, I find it when I’m out on a walk, away from the demands of housework, writing deadlines and technological distraction. So, to that end, I’ve chosen a photograph that I took on one of my walks.”

Don’t forget to download to your desktop the very special wallpaper for the month of May, created from Amy’s photo by Leah Maclean. It truly is an oasis of calm!

OK, that’s enough from me – why not pop on over and check out The Calm Space May edition for yourself?

Marc and Amy join contributors Joanna Young, Leah Maclean, Chris Owen, Angela Esnouf, Annie Hutton, Marjorie Lim (and yours truly: ). We all write for The Calm Space, an online magazine that’s like a virtual day-spa for your senses…

→ 5 CommentsTags: Calm Space

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

April 21st, 2008 · 15 Comments

Three years ago, I started a journey. I took my first steps full of trepidation, wondering how they would be received.

Slowly I grew in confidence while all the time searching for the right thing to say.

I knew, right from the start, that I was meant to do this. It was in my blood – that calling – like some ancient knowing.

At times, I came close to addiction – unable to simply walk away. There was always just. one. more.

Then life would interrupt, or I’d feel insecure and inadequate. Or I’d simply change my mind, and move in an entirely different direction.

But I kept finding a path. At times well trodden, where others had gone before. Other times, I needed a machete to slash away the undergrowth and forge my own path ahead.

And those times I struggled to find the path often led to beautiful vistas, found unexpectedly as I crest a rise, or round a corner.

Friends have helped me, held me up when I couldn’t do it alone, forever encouraging me on my journey.

Some have made sarcastic or dismissive comments about this journey of mine. They just make me stronger and more determined.

I am a very different person today to the one I was three years ago. My growth and my learning on this journey have been incredible.

I have made sacrifices, but hold no regrets.

I will stay on this path I have chosen, wandering the trails and hidden lanes, the open paddocks and the mossy streams. And I reserve the right at all times to change my path – to decide a detour has become the route. To change direction and to move with the seasons and the ebb and flow of life.

I’d love to have your company on my journey – for a moment or a lifetime, or any space in between. I know we’ll have fun.

Today is the third anniversary of The Clearing Space blog. Thank you thank you thank you.

→ 15 CommentsTags: Heart and Home · Noticing Miracles · Start Your Week with Joy

Develop a strategic plan for happiness

April 13th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be

~ Abraham Lincoln

How happy are you?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being absolutely darn miserable, and 10 being deliriously happy) where are you at, right now?

Are you happy with that score? (pun intended: )

Yes? Terrific – have a nice day.

Oh, you’re still here?

What can you do, right now, to increase your score?

If you’re down in the dumps, sometimes you need a strategy to drag yourself point by point back up the happiness ladder. And when you’re down it’s often not the time to start thinking about that strategy.

It needs to already be thought upon, brainstormed, even written down, so that you wont forget when you’re in that hole that you’ve a couple of things to try.

It’s a bit like having a fire drill.

It often seems pointless, and certainly time consuming, when we’re busy getting on with the rest of our life. But having that semi-automatic reaction to a certain situation (like a black-hole day or a fire) can
be a life saver.

In Case of Fire...

I needed a strategy for when I wake in the middle of the night.

I lie there for a while until I realise I am awake and it’s very dark, and my mind switches on and off I go. Worrying. Fretting. Imagining horrible things. (Especially if Captain Scarlett is out and driving…)

Once this had happened a couple of times I realised I wasn’t able to get myself out of the worry cycle without a premeditated plan. I’m just not awake enough to think up a strategy at that time of the morning.

So, I devised and tried a few different things. My aim was to soothe myself back to sleep quickly. I didn’t want to get up and divert myself in some way. I really need my sleep. And getting up and phoning Captain Scarlett didn’t win me any brownie points either : )

And now, I wake far less in the wee hours. Is it because strategies are to hand? I’m not sure, but I am not complaining!

Do you prepare strategies, like fire drills, ready in case of emergency? Or do you just deal with the issue when you’re in it? What works for you?

→ 7 CommentsTags: Reinvention · Resourcing for Women Who Do Too Much · Why Did I Have Children?

What is it that really fires you up?

April 2nd, 2008 · No Comments

What really fires you up?

Passion is our theme for April at The Calm Space.

I’ve had a couple of funny looks from people when I mention it. Passion? Calm Space? It doesn’t really ‘go‘ does it?

Here’s why it does…

We’re all passionate women who write for The Calm Space (soon to be men too!). And I believe passion is what gives you energy, it is what gets you out of bed each morning.

A passionate life is a life full of energy, movement, light and colour. That is living.

Being calm isn’t about being dull or lifeless. And it’s definitely not about sitting in a trance all day long.

Being calm is about remaining at peace with our life, no matter the busyness and chaos that surrounds us. It’s about not getting so caught up in all we have to do, chores, goals and to-do lists, that we forget to live. It’s about being happy, most of the time. It’s about coping – or doing even better than ‘coping’.

And passion, glorious passion, is one of the ways in which we can make our life worth living. It adds spice, it fills our tank, it makes us more attractive and good to be around.

Do you think passion fits at The Calm Space?

Join us, have some fun, share the passion around…

This month, we’re running a special challenge and I’d really like to have you join us. It would mean a lot to me.We’re asking you to share your passions, secret or otherwise, with The Calm Space this April. What is it that really fires you up?

Send us your answers: one line (50 words max), a photo, a link to a move clip or a piece of music…

Or leave us a comment at The Challenge Space (or both).

Are you in?

→ No CommentsTags: Calm Space · Heart and Home · Resourcing for Women Who Do Too Much

When plans unravel. or. Making the most of the moment.

March 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Photo Source: http://www.celinedion.com/celinedion/english/phovid.html

Sometimes what seems like a disaster bummer big disappointment, can turn into a night to treasure.

It all depends on your attitude.

We booked to go to Celine Dion‘s one Brisbane performance of her Taking Chances World Tour. G booked the night through his club, which included a beautiful three-course dinner and luxury coach from the club to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and back again. So that we didn’t have to drive home after that (and could have a wine or two with dinner), he booked a hotel room in the city for the night.

The concert was last night. After an early hair-cut, I ran around organising kids and meals and animals, school pick-ups and changing sheets for a wonderful grandmother to stay over. (And admit to wondering just a little whether it was worth all the effort I have to go to, leaving the children for a night mid-week). I packed a nice outfit, drove to town and checked into the hotel. G would join me mid-afternoon from work.

Since I had a couple of hours to myself, and the room wasn’t ready when I checked in, I walked down to the mall and did some window shopping. I was in David Jones at the Chanel counter (just looking!) when my mobile rang.

It was G.

The concert was postponed. Celine was not well enough to perform.

Oh dear.

I feel really sorry for the people that flew from Cairns and Townsville yesterday for the concert. It made our plight seem insignificant in comparison. But it was disappointing since we’d made plans and I was already in town.

But at no point was I ready to pack up and go home. It just wasn’t an option.

Sooo, I let the Chanel lady paint me beautiful. I had a coffee and a lemon tart at a nice cafe, and did some writing. I found a delicious black cashmere cardigan that I just stroked and put back on the shelf. ($499 for a cardigan? I wish!)

I went back to our (now ready) room, ran a bath and soaked till I was wrinkly (careful not to disturb my beautifully made up face).

I dressed and read a magazine and was thinking about going down to the bar for a glass of bubbly when G arrived. He took me out to the new restaurant at the Sofitel – Thyme², where we shared a beautiful dinner and a nice bottle of wine. It was nice to sit and chat with each other, especially on a Wednesday night, with no interruptions or children.

I thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected calm of our night away… it turned out to be a lot more relaxed and a lot more restorative than planned, and in the end I think that was what we both needed most. Sleep, calm, relax and being together.

Celine, I hope you are back in full health real soon, and hopefully I can swing things this end to make it to the rescheduled concert on Monday night. But if I don’t make it – I had a special night last night. Thank you.

→ 1 CommentTags: Hmmm... · Watch Out for Those Potholes

A simple cure for 'tomorrow-itis'

March 20th, 2008 · No Comments


the world is yours for the taking! Go, Believe, Do!What are you waiting for?

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

You will never be younger than you are today.

Imagine – at the end of 2008 you’ll be a year older. In 2018 you’ll be ten years older than you are right now.

There has never been a better time than Right. Now.

Seize your dreams.

In 5, 10, 20 years time – what will you wish you had done TODAY?

What’s stopping you?


→ No CommentsTags: Heart and Home · Hmmm... · Noticing Miracles

Sharing the Chaos – Tales from the Midst of Things.

March 18th, 2008 · 4 Comments

This is one of my favourite sayings:

it does not mean to be in a place
where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. it means to be in
the midst of those things and still
be calm in your heart.

Today, as I was hanging washing on the line, I decided it was time to share a little of my ‘noise, trouble and hard work’. Some of my chaos, if you like.

A sneak peak into the midst of my life – some of the chaos I live with, learn from, laugh at – and still stay (relatively) calm.

Here are two little snippets from the midst of today. It’s noon as I write this, and I am so looking forward to seeing what the rest of the day has in store for me.


A tale of dirty uniforms…

This morning I dragged myself bounced out of bed as my husband left the house, as usual. He leaves before 6am to ‘beat the traffic’ on his commute to the office, and I start my morning routine.

First item of the day is waking up Gorgeous Girl. It’s not an easy task, and I have to be ever vigilant for pulled up covers, shut doors and “I didn’t hear you wake me’s”. My darling daughter turned 15 last week, so you’d think she’d be pretty independent and able to manage things by now, don’t you? (No sniggering allowed).

Her school bus leaves from the top of the street at 7am, promptly. So you can imagine my glee at the second third final call when she told me she’d no clean dress.

She has three school dresses (and I am thankful every day that it isn’t the blouse and horrid pleated skirt of her previous school’s uniform!) and we rotate them in the wash. During summer they really need to be washed after each wear – so theory says, one on, two in the wash and since I wash regularly, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Only… when I washed on Friday last week, apparently there was only one dress there. I didn’t wash over the weekend as I was kind of otherwise engaged (baking cakes and scones and hosting a party for a certain Gorgeous Girl…)

And yesterday I didn’t wash either, because they had forecast rain (no, we didn’t get any – why did I think to believe the forecast?)

So this morning: no dress.

You can probably guess the rest. Wails. Mutters. Gnashing of teeth. Stomping even.
And that was just me

A tale of dead mice…

So, finally everyone is out of the house and I’m ready to do some work. A load of wash in the washing machine and another hung on the line. It’s about 10am and I am contemplating a cup of tea. Ahh, peace, lovely peace. The birds are twittering in the trees, the dogs are happily asleep in the sun. Life is good.

My phone rings.

It’s Captain Scarlet, calling from university. He stayed at a friends house overnight so he could miss that dreaded traffic as he had an early lecture this morning. And in his rush to leave home last night, he forgot to feed his pet.

So he called to ask me if I could do it for him.

No big deal, you say?

Not usually…


woe is me, my son has a pet python!When the pet is a python and the food is a mouse he’d taken out of the freezer yesterday to defrost… ewwwwww

And apparently the snake was meant to be fed two days ago, so it was probably going to be real hungry.

I call that above and beyond.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Watch Out for Those Potholes · Why Did I Have Children?

New Bookshelf Needed! The Love Affair Continues…

March 13th, 2008 · No Comments

so many books, so little time

A Love Affair with Books is continuing throughout March at Joyful, Jubilant Learning. Each day, there is a new review posted on a book someone loves. So far, I’ve been intrigued, inspired, and motivated to add books to my ever-expanding list of books to read.

And there is so much more to come…

I cannot recommend highly enough these reviews, and the conversations they encourage. Stop on by and take a look. Interact.

You know how sometimes if you’re browsing on Amazon (oooh, what a time burner that can be), or in your favourite bookshop. You feel in need of a good book. Some inspiration, a fresh point of view, something different to widen your horizons, or something to solve a particular dilemma.

And you get frustrated… books aren’t cheap (especially here in Australia), and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think my husband would take kindly to me spending every cent I earn on books (although I could, easily). Your time is valuable too… too precious to waste on books that aren’t worth reading.

Sometimes it would be great to have a specific recommendation. Something tangible that you can sink your teeth into and say – “Yes! that’s the book I want to read next”.

That is what is so good about the annual Love Affair with Books… great people, people I trust, giving their recommendations on such a diverse range of books. I don’t think I have finished all the books I found in last year’s affair, and yet – here I am adding again!

A Love Affair to remember…

Of course, I’d love you to read my review of A Perfect Mess: the Hidden Benefits of Disorder. How crammed closets, cluttered offices, and off-the-cuff planning make the world a better place by Eric Abrahamson and David H Freeman – it has generated some very interesting conversations.

PS I really do need a new bookshelf or five… just as the heading says!

→ No CommentsTags: Joyful Jubilant Learning · Resourcing for Women Who Do Too Much