Monday, 25 September 2017

Belonging: Brave the Wild

Thought for today: "Step out from behind the barriers of self preservation and brave the wild" ~ Brené Brown

Relieve yourself of the restrictions of saving face, avoiding vulnerability and attempting to 'fit in'. We expend so much energy trying to​ dodge discomfort in these ways that we're actually keeping ourselves stuck.

Get into it, get real and raw and open to life. Let the guard down and ditch all the attempts to be something you're not. Trying to protect ourselves from uncomfortable emotions and experiences is not helping us, it's just denying our own humanity, the validity of our authentic emotions and the person we truly are.

Embrace the imperfect self that's living behind that barrier. Let yourself be seen. We're not all meant to be robots or replicas of each other.

We're here to be human, to live humanely and to enjoy that experience. Exactly as we are, we belong here as much as any other human. Belonging does not require us to bullshit, it requires us to brave the vulnerable territory of being who and what we really are.

"You will always belong anywhere you show up as yourself and talk about yourself and your work in a real way.” Steve (Braving the Wilderness)

Cultivating Kindness: Accept Compliments!

Treat compliments as gifts. People are not obligated to say nice things to us, so when they do, take note! Without thinking, we often dismiss compliments, we don't believe them to be true and we reject what they say. How kind is that..?

Compliments can build us up and make us feel good, it's time to start treating them as truth.

On wonderful advice, I actually used to keep a notebook of compliments I received. This gave me the opportunity to take them on board, be grateful for them and read over them when a reminder was required that I'm not all bad 😊

Compliments are valuable, beautiful, and very kind things definitely deserving of our attention and appreciation.

From now, begin to enjoy and believe in the compliments you're given. And if you're really feeling kind, start dishing them out too 😊

Cultivating Kindness: Find Your Way to Compassion

“Most unhappy people need to learn just one lesson: how to see themselves through the lens of genuine compassion and treat themselves accordingly.” —Martha Beck

"Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”

—Tara Brach

When we're used to beating ourselves up or putting ourselves down, compassion is likely lacking.

But if we want to start responding to ourselves and our lives in a kinder way, compassion is going to be key.

We need to create a new path, one that is built on self-care, forgiveness, understanding and self-respect. A path that doesn't lead to negative self talk and criticism, one that is free of judgement and poor self image.

It may be one we haven't gone down before, maybe a little overgrown and unknown, but it's ours to nurture, it's ours to shape and establish. Learning to be compassionate to ourselves will lead us so much further, it'll transform our experiences, outlook and attitude to others.

Today, let's take the first step down a new, kinder path towards genuine self compassion 😊

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Cultivating Kindness: Commit to Credit 📝

Throughout the day, how much attention do we give our achievements or accomplishments? How often do we give ourselves​ credit for how we've gotten through, handled situations and overcome stresses?

Instead, I think we sometimes focus more on what went wrong or mistakes we've made. If we were to actively write a list of things we can give ourselves credit for, imagine the boost we could feel. Bit by bit the credit adds up to build us up, to acknowledge our positive abilities, to transform our outlook into one that focuses on how well we're doing instead of constantly putting ourselves down. We cultivate a supportive, rewarding mindset rather than one run by a harsh, negative critic.

So today let's create more kindness by beginning to give ourselves the credit we're due 😊

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Project Kindness

September often instilled a somewhat unsettled feeling for me. The theme of change that Autumn brings just kind of made me yearn for a shake up, something different, a dabble of change. Maybe it's the habitual new start that the time of year signified through schooling, maybe it's the transformation throughout nature, I don't know. But I love it as a time of year for this; for its transient nature, its colourful expression, its demonstration of letting go.

Here in New Zealand, we're actually coming into Spring instead. Another time of change, but this one more synonymous with growth, beginnings​, new life.

This season feels like the precursor of change. This time is perfect, regardless what season we're calling it, to lay our very own foundations of change.

The specific change I want to cultivate is one of more conscious kindness.

Kindness is generally quite a valued quality, we like to think of ourselves as kind and we'd aim to be kind to others too. But I think we need to have another look at kindness, a deeper look.

Maybe we need to check in on how we're actually doing with this concept. Are we fully embodying it? Are we living by it as a value entirely? Are we more kind than critical - to ourselves? - to others? Do our actions show kindness - to ourselves? - to others?

I recently began reading 'Kindfulness' by a Buddhist monk whose work I'd highly recommend, Ajahn Brahm. His commitment to opening his heart to see the world, his experiences and himself through eyes of kindness is staggering. He uses it beautifully and in a way that I definitely don't think is very common. And it's that which inspired a renewed commitment to kindness for me, the fact that there is so much more to kindness than we think. The fact that we can completely change how we react, experience, interact and ultimately live our day to day.

Across this wonderful season, I want to explore the idea of kindness and how we can truly cultivate it in our lives. I want to actively practice kindness towards myself and others. I want to transform our self critical commentaries, to eradicate our harsh judgements, to silence our conditioned comparisons.

I want to lay the foundations for more kindness - authentic, entire, wholehearted kindness.

If you'd like to get on board, keep an eye here and on the Dare to Live social media to see how we're going to bring more kindness consciously into our lives.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Freedom of the Fjord

The twinkle drop rainfall tattooed my mind in smiles, 
Its dynamic dance decorates this canvas of grey
Come what may, here, we're reminded to embrace, instead of endeavouring to erase,
To partake, in our own powerful and personal dance, 
To step into our unique authentic stance,
We're called to overflow into who we are,
Reviving our being with vitality and vigour
An empowered roar of contentment - the welcome trigger - to boldly cascade rather than fade, to stand tall, feel strong & validate the self we have made.

Rainy days on the fjord freeze my toes and warm my soul - entirely majestical; 
Lovingly lost within my stormy surrounds, Senses alive with nature's dark yet dulcet sounds,
I'm awake, connected, engaged, 
Though the sky lays laden with the remnants of rage,
The mountains breathe water; a network of veins, valiantly pump throughout each range,
Their exhale, a water bird diving into the body of sea, carefree - 
A reminder of how we can be
When we let ourselves indulge in such a mesmerising scene

Friday, 25 August 2017


I suppose a little update is more than somewhat overdue here!

Firstly apologies for the lack of content recently. I had thought that my travels would provide so much more focus on regular writing and blogging. What's actually happened however, is that it's thrown me into life more, which ultimately is what this blog is all about.

Back in late January, I came to New Zealand to travel and work. Over the last 7 months I've seen incredible places of dazzling diversity, met amazing people and 4 months ago landed a dream job in the magical Milford Sound. Along the way I've laughed, cried and contemplated. I've read, chatted and written. I've re-learnt lessons and overcome challenges. I've looked inward and outward and know from the accompanying pains that at the end of it all, I've grown.

The absence of posts over this time definitely made me uncomfortable at different stages, feeling obligated to share something or work through a certain topic. But the call to just live and enjoy each moment was louder and simply felt more right.

Anything I've explored on this blog is still relevant, it's still work that means a lot to me and that I believe in. It's also quite sufficient, by which I mean, there's a fairly sizeable catalogue of varied content available at any time - continually adding to it is not really crucial. What is more important for me, is to be practicing it.

Dare to Live has a heart of learning - about ourselves, about life, about the positive possibilities awaiting each of us. These learnings are tricky to cement without practical application. So lately I guess I've been writing less and practicing more.

That's not to say I want to stop writing altogether, (there's posts on Facebook and Instagram now and then and writing is a passion I don't wish to part with), but I want to be immersing myself in my learnings and my current experiences. I want to be living by my values, authentic and wholehearted and keep figuring things out, keep improving, keep growing. I want to be the change I wish to see in the world and create an example I would be proud of.

I want to encourage you to do the same too. Maybe make the move into more 'doing' than 'knowing'. Sometimes our quest for acquiring knowledge and figuring our shit out becomes more intellectualised than instinctive. We chase information instead of embracing experiences. We want the step by step guide rather than actually using our feet and taking those steps. We put life off, promising to get involved when we know x, y, z or have found all the answers.

Dare to just do it. Get out there, get into it. Be in the life you have. Be a part of the bigger picture.

Dare to live your life now. Dare to trust that you'll find your way. Dare to believe that you know more than you realise.

We won't always get it right, we'll never know it all but we must make the most of it anyway. Because this is our life and we're going to dare to live it.