Trust life’s unpredictability

I used to be hell bent on plans. I thought that’s all we’re meant to do – plan and achieve.

So many plans were made that I left little room for anything else. Like, taking note of all the that was naturally happening within me and around me. I dulled that awareness and and allowed my stubborn-goal-driven-brain to take over.

That meant, by the time I could achieve/execute/seal the deal, it was sometimes a force fit. All to remain proud and committed to my goals. “Because it’s the right thing to do.” “Because I have to.” “I’ve wanted this my whole life.”

Then two years ago, someone who I seek counsel in told me that I wasn’t really in control of my life. Life and its spontenaiety is what really happens. I had to take notice and go with it.

This idea frightened me. Up until that moment I thought I was boss.

Yet when I reflected on my life, I figured out that despite the fact that I had ticked off a whole lot of what I wanted to do, disappointment also came when I committed to a plan that I knew intuitively didn’t serve me at that time.

So I started to learn to let go, relax a little. And that wasn’t easy…

Letting go doesn’t mean be lazy and complacent, it means loosen the tight grip on life and one’s so-called future achievements.

It also meant that I didn’t rest on my achievements, I gave permission to enjoy the process of being present.

It was a new way of living. I had to accept that I was uncomfortable a lot of the time as previously, I’d have blinkers on. I’d be so driven meant that there wasn’t room for openness.

So why do I trust life’s unpredictability?

My time in England last year showed me how.

This time, last year, I wandered through England to see family and pursue work opportunities.

I initially intended to only be there for a month. In that time, it was a challenge to pin people down for meetings because it was Summer.

Family commitments took over. The tragic passing of family friend’s parents meant it was all hands on deck packing up homes, looking after my niece and seeing off some of my family to Australia.

After my initial planned month, work meetings kicked in again. I then had to find a base to continue working remotely, which had me in Shoreditch.

And on this date, last year, while having an early dinner and working away on my laptop was when I met the women who made me realise that I was gay. The women that I have a unique and unparalleled bond to.

Four weeks turned to nine weeks and I fell more deeply in love with life and its surprises. No part of my imagination could’ve have had me expecting anything of what I experienced.

Had I remained stubborn old me and only chose to be in London for a month, I would have been sore about not getting the meetings I wanted, worried about the next work related thing instead of being present with my family, I would’ve delayed a necessary life realisation, missed core friendships.

Sometimes it is all too easy to say, “go with the flow”, “surrender”, “just be.” It takes a shift in the mind to practice it.

The only thing we can do is do our best, moment to moment, and show up for what life has to bring each day. Your plans can change, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay.

Marriage Equality: 7 In 10 Australians Want Me To Be Happy

I see an Australia even better than it is now. An Australia that allows its people to love who they love and live a life they want for themselves.

A government which backs marriage equality will finally give value to all people, and lift a weight off the shoulders of those who have had it too hard for too long.

I write from personal experience, as an Australian living abroad where marriage is legal, and from the shared experience of my friends.

Tomorrow marks a year since I met the group of women who I felt safe enough to come out to. These are the women who gave me my voice and allowed me to step into a confidence that I had never known. I was in England when I met them, a country that passed the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act in 2013.

For the first time, life made sense to me. Two of my British friends, both professionals and over 40, have been in a relationship for 10 years, they share a home together and have a law that supports them. As soon as I was introduced to their world, my own life was realised, I kept saying to myself, “this is me.”

The same feeling swept over me when the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of same-sex marriage. I currently live in Los Angeles. While same-sex marriage has been enacted in some parts of the US since 2008, to have nation-wide support on this human right made me feel visible, protected, and cared for in the eyes of the law and in every one of the 50 U.S. states. I felt connected to my gay friends more than ever and it gave us all a sense of belonging.

And in April of this year, when I had enough courage to come out, words had new meaning to me. I felt immense joy for knowing who I am. And the word pride had true gravitas, as for so long I felt different, confused and at times, ashamed.

I had a pretty happy upbringing, but I can’t help but think that it was our society’s derision and rejection of openly gay people that drove my sexuality so deep within me that it made it challenging for me to come out.

I’m old enough to know that I am not the only one that had a hard time with this. The stats around anxiety, depression and suicide rank higher than our hetero-sexual counterparts. A study by Concordia University, California says that those that are lesbian, gay or bisexual and exposed to homophobia are 14 times more likely to take their own life.

The rejection continues with the exclusion of same sex couples from legal marriage.

Polls show that more than 70 percent of Australians want the ability for people to live and love whoever they want, regardless of gender.

This is our opportunity to move from the sidelines, from supporting from a distance the forward thinking of nations like Ireland, New Zealand, England and the US, to joining them as leader in an important and necessary change.

Australia is so close to marriage equality. So much closer to equal respect. And so much closer to acknowledging its citizens as equals.

I’m hopeful that soon we’ll be able to increase the pride in our own country, and celebrate a government that supports the view of the majority of Australians, and continues to build a reputation for celebrating diversity.

This blog post also features in the launch issue of Huffington Post Australia

Getting to that next point: Enjoy the process

Thinking of all the people working hard to get to that next point.

The chase.

Quite often we can get bogged down. We become impatient, frustrated, restless. We long for the result. The end game.

Looking/saving for a house.

Bummed because we got turned down for a grand opportunity.

Worn down by another crappy date.

Stressed over the final product of a creative project.

In this time we miss out on the joy of the process –  we forget that we’re learning great things along the way, connecting with amazing people, being exposed to new ideas.

If we remember to enjoy the process and be grateful with where we’re at, a far more enjoyable experience can be had.

We weigh less of our happiness on results and we learn to live a happier, more mindful life, moment to moment.

And in that time, it can open ourselves to more opportunities than we couldn’t have imagined.

Flight Mode

Flight mode is the best mode to get anything done.

To block the noise. To not be pulled in 10 different directions.

Your friends will be there when you turn flight mode back on.

What I learnt from Jason Collins – NBA’s first active gay player

Heard Jason Collins, NBA’s first active gay player at the Los Angeles LGBT Center last week. Jason was in conversation with Chris Kluwe, a former NFL player who’s advocacy for gay rights lead to his dismissal. Chris said that any closeted player would not be able to play to their full potential if they weren’t able to be entirely themselves.

The moderator asked Jason if he would he have been a better player through his career if he had come out earlier.

Jason said that in the NBA, the star players with the spotlight on them are those that score points. He excelled as a defender, though when he played offensively he wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.

Jason admitted that he he didn’t want to be exposed as a good offensive player that netted shots. He didn’t want the spotlight – hence excelling as an defender and a “team player”… not a star.

He would worry about the attention he would receive if he did score points, that the press would then ask questions about his personal life. He didn’t want the press to pry into the fact that he was 30 with no girlfriend. And he didn’t want to lie about a girlfriend that was out of town that couldn’t show up to games.

This, in addition to remaining silent when homophobic conversations were had in locker rooms.

He’s adamant that’s this is the reason why he couldn’t be a better offensive player.

Self sabotage shaped by the society we live in.

When you’re sad, give it the right attention

Had a heart to heart with a good friend recently. We were both kinda bummed out by life events.

His friends wanted to take him out to drink at a fancy bar that night. He was reluctant.

It’s nice to go out and be cheered up by your friends. But when you’re in a temporary funk, sometimes you just want to be alone and let sadness do its thing.

When I asked him what he really wanted to do, his eyes lit up. “I want to buy some pineapple juice, pour it on ice, go home burn incense and watch 90s television.”

I replied, “Then say to your friends, ‘good idea, but not tonight’ and go do your own thing. Sit in it.”

He relished in his pineapple juice and 90s TV. That night, I chowed on raw veggies, called home to Mum and taught myself new things on Ableton Live.

I felt like a new woman the next day. And I know we were both much happier that we gave sadness the right attention.