Archives for the month of: June, 2013

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By the unflattering light of a neon snake, I had an epiphany today.  

I want to be a Catherine Deveny.

Recently I quit the best job I ever had to try a less conventional career path. I was burned out by two decades on the corporate treadmill, frustrated by the inflexibility of western working ways, and determined to find alternatives. 

I’m on a mission to create a big life, not just a big living. So I’ve been taking random creative adventures. And today I attended a writing masterclass by the delightfully feisty Catherine Deveny

As I parked my car, Catherine cycled past in her fur coat and raspberry beanie. It struck me just how fabulous she looked.  She exudes fearlessness, fulfillment and freedom. And I wanted what she’s got.

“You can’t order hummus until you know it exists” said Catherine at the Big Hearted Business conference.  I realised today that Catherine is my hummus. 

In my teens it was Marilyn Monroe for working her curves.  In my early career, it was my big boss lady who successfully juggled it all.  And now, it’s fearless, fulfilled and free Miss Deveny who’s my lighthouse.

Fearless

“Pull your finger out and sing from your heart” Catherine challenged us. 

She is unapologetic, opinionated, feisty and funny. And her super power is her ability to articulate so that others connect.

If you put good stuff out there it comes back in spades. All you need is intent, charisma and persistence. 

For the first time in my life, I do not have a plan. And that excites and terrifies me, in equal measures. But Catherine encouraged blind faith by saying “you only need to be able to see as far as the headlights”. The rest will come into light with time.

My perfectionism streak has caused paralysis too often. So I need to lower my expectations of myself in order to get stuff done. “Perfection is the enemy of good” she said. Don’t let it stop you. 

Showing up is the hard part.  But once you’re in the pool, you will swim. 

And it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work.

Fulfilled

The satisfaction is in doing the work, even more so than getting it published, praised or paid, explained Catherine.

She has clearly been rewarded, sought out and most of all satisfied for saying what she thinks.

Great people do great things.  And if not you, someone else will do it.  Why not you?  Crack your own whip.

Free

Catherine titled her creative, financial and emotional independence “fuck off status”. It’s the freedom to say no, as you please. And it’s a pretty neat picture of success for a yes-person like me. You see, I’m a pleaser. And my inability to say no frequently gets me overcommitted and overwhelmed.

I also envy her inhibition. “Loving your body, as it is, is an act of social disobedience” she proclaimed. And I love that kind of rebellion.

Apparently, for every positive thought, we have 17 negative ones.  That’s tough competition for our fragile egos. The trick is to know to expect the negative ninnies, and when they shout, promptly tell them to piss off because you’re busy. Then you’re free to do great work.

 

From the moment I entered the funky Collingwood warehouse today, I felt inspired. Modern artwork adored white walls and hipster coffee orders abounded (strong decaf late anyone?). 

Catherine cracked the whip and made us write. And I was inspired by what people produced with the combo of reckless abandon and a ticking clock.

I’ve reignited my new sense of urgency. Before my eyesight fails, I must shoot beautiful photos.  And before my hands seize up with arthritis, I must write words that matter. I do not want to be on my deathbed regretting the risks I was too scared/tired/busy/embarrassed to take.

Catherine pitched today’s workshop as “creative laxative” and it’s given me the writing runs. Despite having a family to feed and concert tickets, I was determined to squeeze out this post fresh tonight. 

Catherine reckons that the only difference between her and anyone else is that she did it.  And so I vow to too.

My tools of trade will be different to Catherine’s 700+ columns, 8 books and countless stand-up gigs. I marry people. I shoot people. I write. And as a celebrant, photographer and blogger I am excited about finding freedom, fulfillment and my very own brand of fabulous.

The neon snake artwork that hung over today’s workshop stated that “fear eats the soul” and so I am getting over myself and sinking my teeth in. You have been warned.  And you can follow along via this blog (sign up in the footer).

Thank you Catherine, for the kick up the arse. 

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My May was marvelous in Melbourne.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Yep, that’s fourteen Ms.  And I’m sharing them with you in the hope of warming your winter a little.

Mums – May is the month that we celebrate motherhood. But why not every month, I say.  Call your mum today!  She wants to hear your voice.

Munchkin – My youngest turned two this month.  I’m mourning the fact that there’s no longer a baby in the house.  But we had fun making, then munching, a bright green Puff the Magic Dragon cake.

Mugs of Mulligatawny – When the chills kick in there’s nothing like wrapping your mitts around a mug of something toastie.  I’m loving Mulligatawny, the yummiest soup I’ve ever made.  It’s a gutsy Indian hug in a mug.  Try it.

Minimalism – I am enjoying Courtney Carver’s Be More with Less blog and attempting some of her mini-missions, starting with ‘five in ten’.  This  involved mining my wardrobe for five items that I have not worn in a year, then bagging and donating them.  Found this oddly exhilarating and hope it might spark a more ambitious (and long overdue) clutter cull.

Mind games – Changing my self talk from “I have to” to “I get to” is helping a little with the tedium of getting two strong-willed preschoolers to swimming lessons on time, dipped, dried, dressed and home again without meltdowns (by me or them).

Masterpieces – I’m no fine art buff, but I was lured into Monet’s waterlily pond by a gorgeous friend who has recently been appointed to a plum role at the NGV.  She treated me to a guided tour explaining the historical and social content, and how Monet literally flipped the art world on its head by painting reflections. I can highly recommend spending an afternoon getting acquainted with French Impressionism (words I never thought I’d say) by wandering through Monet’s Garden till 8 September.

Man on a mission – I love Jamie Oliver.  He inspired many in May with his Food Revolution Day.  According to Jamie, “Essential cooking skills are just as important as reading and writing, in this day and age, the rise of diet related illness has become the biggest killer on the planet”.  And so I took the kids to the market, they picked a pumpkin, and we made soup together, which they guzzled.  One small step towards hopefully passing on to them an appreciation and life long love of food.

Muddy puddles – Kinda forgotten how to entertain the kids on a rainy day.  It’s been a while.  And I’d fallen into the adult trap of seeing rain as an inconvenience, not entertainment.  But the boys convinced me to don our gumboots and get amongst it. Splashing in muddy puddles was super fun!  And the hot baths and warm Milo that followed were sweeter than usual.

MoviesACMI’s Hollywood Costume exhibition is so beautifully staged. It celebrates the costume designer’s contribution to cinematic storytelling.  I drooled over Dorothy’s red shoes, Scarlett’s green velvet gown, Tyler Durden’s blood red leather jacket, Marilyn’s delicious Seven Year Itch dress, and much more.  Eat it up movie buffs before 18 August.

Mindfulness – In my effort to live more consciously and deliberately, I’m keeping a food diary using the MyFitnessPal phone app.  It’s been an eye opening exercise.  Has not stopped me eating things I shouldn’t, but it certainly has made me more aware.

Music – Nothing lifts my mood quicker than dancing.  Mama Kin’s Apple Tree song (from the Talisman album) and The Little Stevies‘ Dear Daniel (from Most Requested) are on loop in my speakers because both are guaranteed to get the kids and I groovin’.  I love hearing my two year old sing “shoo-be-do-do-do”.  Sure beats repetitive Wiggles!

Marriage – Been surrounded by betrothed couples this month, which I love.  Went wedding venue hunting with my sister-in-law.  Lunched with a friend who’s planning a barefoot beach ceremony in Fiji in weeks.  Booked four celebrant gigs, a role which I adore playing.  Discovered gorgoeus Luminare in South Melbourne.  And found the perfect reading for a couple’s children to recite, Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss.  Weddings make me happy.

Markets – I have a hereditary obsession with handmade markets.  From jam to jewellery, if it’s been made locally with love, and packaged beautifully, I’m a sucker for it.  So my wallet got a workout at Federation Square’s Markit, which featured 100 of Australia’s most coveted independent designers.  My favourite finds included jelly mould hanging planters by Angus&Celeste, journals by Rebound Books, spunky boys gear by Furious Kingston, the fox coat by Sunday Morning Designs, creative packaging inspiration by Blank Goods, the stylish family tree by Bilingual, and lovely Martine’s Vintage Prints.  The organisers also stage The Big Design Market on 6-8 December.  Pop it in your calendar and come meet the makers, buy and admire.

Magazines – In May’s Women’s Weekly the gorgeous Sarah Murdoch talked about reprioritising her commitments according to what would most inspire her children.  She said “If I’m going to be away from them, working on something, it should be something that, when they grow up, they respect me for”.  Can I get an amen?

Thanks for indulging my May musing.

I make these monthly lists to focus on what make me happy, and stop my endless ‘to do’ task list from being the dominant demand on my brain space.

Check out Grateful in April or Magic March for posts in the same vein.

And, if you like what you find here, please do sign up to follow my blog (details in the footer).

What’s on your list of things to do for fun in June?
Love you to comment and let me know, puhleeze.

PS – Don’t forget to call your mum!