Karen Pennington-Smith

everything is possible with a little support

A new year and the first step taken

Last night was New Year's Eve, the classic night when deals are done and promises made with the Universe.  The night when we reflect on the past year and make pacts with ourselves to do more do less do things differently. The night when we are asked to decide what we want to change in the year to come.

What's your New Years Resolution? Get fit, lose weight, take up yoga, learn to meditate, get a new job, travel, have a holiday, learn a new skill, stress less, love more,...?

Where did the idea of a New Year's Resolution come from? According to Wikipedia it started in Babylon, was continued by the Romans and then the Medieval Knights, and is reflected in many religions and generally now regarded as an annual reflection on self-improvement. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year's_resolution

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If you're anything like me you make resolutions on a daily basis - mantras replayed in my head, words of acceptance and gratitude repeated like a prayer or a plea bargain depending on the moment. Most of the time this year I have been able to live each day as it comes, practice mindfulness, breathe in breathe out through stress and take pleasure in the simple routines and unexpected joy of living in the country. Most of the time...not all the time.

As many of you have noticed I post endless snaps on social media of the incidental moments in my life; the river flowing, the countryside, weather, the beach, coffee - endless coffee shots, lots of moments I notice that pass in the blink of an eye.  You comment that my newsfeed encourages you to stop and appreciate what's in from of you, to notice and take pleasure in your daily surroundings. So I continue to post. I post when I'm full of joy and I post when I feel flat. I post for myself to remind me of what I'm doing in that moment, to make me stop and notice and frame that second of my life, to hold it and breathe it and then share it. When Facebook shares my memories with me I stop and am reminded of a fortunate life. I see my moments from past years and I feel grateful not just for the travel and experiences but for all the moments when I am able to sit and enjoy a beautiful view or a coffee made by a barista who loves his or her work, or the pleasure of walking by a river or along a beach and I am thankful I possess all the senses to enjoy this.

Some days are dark and I resolve to change things. Relationships both personal and professional can be challenging sometimes and then I want to just to walk away and not look back. Sometimes I can do this and and other times the timing doesn't feel right.  Some days I don't want to know what I'm supposed to learn, I don't want to reframe the negative, and I certainly don't choose to see opportunity in adversity or walk through another bloody open door.  No, some days I want to kick the door shut, get into bed and wallow in my feelings railing against whatever didn't turn out as I had planned.

BUT and it's a big 'but' for me, I've come to accept that everything does indeed passe and I can change anything if I choose to. I choose to resolve to end each day with a positive reflection, a reminder of a life I am grateful for, and start each morning resolving to be the best I can be. Some days go better than others, I'm human, I fail at perfection. I don't wait for the end of the year to begin again though, I have a "New Year Resolution" every day.

So welcome 2017!  I am excited to see what you have in store.  I have ideas and a vision for the year and I know my challenge is to sow the seeds to bring plans to fruition, water the ones I planted in 2016 and then have the trust and patience to allow them to grow and develop in the time it takes not the time I want it to take.

I learned some wonderful lessons from friends and mentors during 2016.  I was fortunate to attend an amazing day with like minded women 'Create Day' with Jade Wisely .  I met Kirsten Roberts and Loretta Hart and was further inspired by these women and other women who have the spirit to follow their instincts and believe in themselves.  The first step is always the first step.  Take the first step and then see where the next step lies and take that one.  In other words the whole path doesn't have to be laid out in front of you just the first step.

What dreams do you have for this year?  

What step will you take towards making your dreams a reality?

In 2017 my first step is to post this blog post and then see what the next post will be.  

Happy New Year

Karen xx

The Company You Keep

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I generally start my day with a moment of reflecting on the positives.  My mantra is a mix of what I have and what I want.  A bit of Gratitude + 'The Secret' + Karma.  The  internal conversation goes something like ; "I'm thankful for waking up in a warm bed, this beautiful mining outside my window, my health, my children's health and happiness, meaningful work that I enjoy, living in a place like Tasmania, the love of a kind and honest man, friends who care for me, more than enough money for all my needs, the opportunity to travel, and so on.... Sometimes I get distracted after two or three 

The examples on my list of blessings vary day to day, some are how I feel, some are wishful thinking, some are covering all bases - that's what I mean by Gratitude + Karma  + 'The Secret'   I'll leave you to work out which is which.

 

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After this moment of 'wake up and think about the positives' I invariably check social media.  I lhave developed a somewhat vicarious interest in seeing what my friends (friends, acquaintances, random people, total strangers...) have been doing or thinking about while I slept, I catch up on any breaking news stories  and read social comment on topics of local and global frustration. I share, retweet, like, briefly comment, and I read e-cards.

E-cards are my virtual equivalent to those little cards in boxes - pick one for the day - or open the book at any page and there's your daily message, or post-it notes on the mirror.

When you post an e-card I read it.  

There are e-cards for everything and every type of person, situation, and event, the virtual world equivalent of Hallmark Cards .  There are long e-cards for missing someone, losing someone, liking someone, hating someone.  E-cards that are funny, sad, political, racist, sexist, religious, and if you are a dog or cat lover the possibilities are infinite.

So what do I do with this daily wisdom?  I save the images to re-use repost share again when the moment seems right - when the e-card reflects how I feel or a thought that I have or when the words sow a seed for a blog post.

"In life it's not where you go but who you travel with".

i use the travel analogy in my "About Me" introduction on my web page. I think often about the company I keep who I keep close who I walk away from who comes and goes.  There are a number of pertinent e-cards, sayings about friendships and relationships along the lines of people for all seasons. 

Some people weather the storms with us some people create the storms and we get caught up in the maelstrom. Some people are our safe harbour.  Who we choose to travel with can be the difference between a positive experience and a chaotic and challenging one.  All travel though, teaches us about ourselves.

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Confused by my travel and weather analogies and metaphors?  

In life the people we choose to surround ourselves with - the relationships we engage in - all are a reflection of us.  There is some truth in the old adage my mother used to remind me of "people judge you by the company you keep". We are though, our own greatest critic.  We can sometimes judge ourselves by using our  relationships as a mirror reflecting our image or our perceived value back to us.

 Think about your friends, your relationship, your social dynamics and ask yourself "why do I like this person?"  " why do I choose to be in their company?" " what do I see of myself reflected in them?" "What do I learn about myself from this relationship?" 

One of the challenges people often talk with me about is how to let go of friendships and relationships. 

Many of us have experienced toxic friendships as well as negative relationships.  Young people today are particularly vulnerable to toxic friendships through use of social media.  "Just 'unfriend them'" parents say. "Ignore them".  Well how many adults struggle to do this!  Recently I was asked again "but what happens if I 'unfriend' the person, will they know?"  Intelligent professional woman worried about the consequences of not being 'friends' on Facebook with a person she was not actually friends (in the true sense of the word) with anyway.   

The use of Social Media and how we represent ourselves in the virtual - which has become the real -world  is a subject for further conversation another time.  In the meantime think about the company you keep and who you choose to surround yourself with on a daily basis.

You might not be able to change some things in your life but you can change the company you keep - the people you choose to travel on life's journey with. 

KarenPS~ 

 

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A New Adventure Revisited

I have been reflecting on the past two years and I revisited my first Blog Post which I wrote when I was in beautiful Strahan Tasmania.

It was December 3013 and I had chosen not to renew my employment contract after I returned from a somewhat life-changing three months in Italy.  I was living in Strahan and making some of the changes I had thought about for a long time.  

Reflecting on that time and the changes that have happened since I am reminded how often adventures happen when we are open to them.

So here it is revisited - my first 'My Change Agent' post from December 17th 2013

'A New Adventure'

"So here it is. The first post. All those ideas that run around in my head at night - you know the ones - that wake you up at 3am and spark conversations with that other person in your head.  They go something like this... " I have to change something...get out of this job/relationship/house/town...I have to change my life!!"  Then the other voice answers "But it's all too hard because...."

'My Change Agent' was conceived during one of those arguments in my head with myself.

Remember that passage in 'Eat Pray Love' where the author is banging her head on the bathroom floor and she hears another voice and then ... ?  Or the moment in 'Under the Tuscan Sun' where the lead character is given the trip to Italy? Or in 'Wild Hogs' where the guys take off on the motorbike roadtrip or... I think you understand what I mean.

We might not all be able to just pack up and take off whenever we need to but there are many small adventures we can embark upon that can change our view of the world. And in the end it's how we view our life that makes the difference.  I like the quote "there is no path to happiness, happiness IS the path".   I'm guessing I borrowed this from the Dalai Lama before writing it on my whiteboard where it has reminded me every day for the past year that's it's all up to me.

Some days I looked at that quote and the other two from Paul Coelho   'The Alchemist'  "follow your personal legend" and "every action has a consequence",  and I would glare and think "yeah yeah right".  But then, I would remind myself to focus on the positives (often way easier said than done) and think  "everything is possible..."

And here I am.

Sitting in the sunshine overlooking the harbour, writing, just as I always dreamed."

KarenPS~ 

So today I still feel the same... 

I continue to be excited by possibility and my view is constantly changing as you can see on my Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

After a year of exploring new places I  returned to a workplace I left three years ago with a fresh approach to my relationships with clients and colleagues.  I'm also privileged to be teaching and supporting students in the field with the University of Tasmania, and I continue to mentor and coach clients who choose to engage me as their Change Agent.

I'm exploring new possibilities too and I'm excited about becoming more involved in supporting families and young adults like my beautiful daughter Isabella through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) .

And of course whenever an opportunity presents I take roadtrips, drink coffee and write.

This is one of my favourite places to sit and write in a beautiful space created by my late father and always one of the places I call home. 

There's no place quite like your childhood home to inspire the writer within. 

There's no place quite like your childhood home to inspire the writer within. 

So while I'm working or walking or driving my head is wandering all over the place and I'm constantly thinking of ideas and conversations to share.  

Daydreams become ideas and ideas become plans.  We all daydream we all have great ideas and sometimes we just need a little help or a gentle push to turn plans into achievable goals.   

Sometimes what you want is very close at hand but you don't quite see it that way....maybe changing your lens might help.. More on this another time. 

So many possibilities out there...and more blog posts to share :) 

KarenPS~ 

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Changing views

My always beautiful and changing view  

My always beautiful and changing view  

It's another stunning Spring day - cool breeze coming off Bass Strait, sunshine warm enough to burn, even with a temperature only suggesting 16 degrees.

I sit contemplating my changing view.

It hasn't been easy accepting the inevitable clearing of the trees. Even now the piles of woodchips seem unconnected to their original state - towering  macrocarpa and gum trees.

Change is rarely easy and the less control one feels within the process the greater the path to acceptance can seem.

So I sit and think about what I can change and what I cannot.

Some of the trees are gone.  The development is happening . My view has changed and will continue to change.  I can adapt or move. I have choices.

We always have a choice in how we choose to respond to what life sends us.  The changes in my neighbourhood present an opportunity for me to make some changes too.

The Golf Greens remain a part of this beautiful neighbourhood

The Golf Greens remain a part of this beautiful neighbourhood

This house,  this street, and a wonderful community cafe, drew me here five years ago during a time of change. Maybe my journey here is done and it's time for another adventure.

I love sitting listening to the birds in the gumtrees on a quiet afternoon  

I love sitting listening to the birds in the gumtrees on a quiet afternoon  

My departure would open the possibility for a new owner to move in. There's a saying about not missing something we never had. I might miss the bush and the silence and another person might love the new community; the possibility of friendships in a growing neighbourhood beside a beautiful beach and flanked by golf greens. 

The sweeping coastline will always be here to enjoy

The sweeping coastline will always be here to enjoy

One person's door closes and another's opens. Over the next few months things will change.  The weather, the view, the economy, global events...my challenge is to simply remain open.

Open to new possibilities ...

What do you think? 

    KarenPS ~

Spring Sunday

Welcome to my first post on a stunning Spring morning in Tasmania.

Like many of us I forgot about daylight savings beginning this morning and started Sunday an hour later. An hour I could have spent sitting here in this beautiful garden. An hour I could have spent practising yoga on the soft grass.  Oh the things I could have spent this one hour on...however instead of thinking about an hour past I can think about this moment and how beautiful the garden looks.  I can sit in this moment and notice the flowers, listen to the birds, observe my dog in the garden.  I can't change the the past but I can be in the present, close my eyes, feels the breeze, just be.  Then I can make the most of every moment as the day unfolds.  Bonus is I get an extra hour of daylight this evening - a longer Sunday.

KarenPS ~

 

 

Spring in the garden in Deloraine - my second home

Spring in the garden in Deloraine - my second home

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