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Eating Disorders (Part 1): What are they and what are they not?

In a diet driven world, where the industry for dieting is worth $6.6 billion every year in Australia alone, it can be difficult to comprehend and understand where the line between an eating disorder and a diet is. I was 13 and looking up every diet under the sun, from atkins to briefly believing there was such thing as “negative calories” (before you do a search; they’re not real!) and I genuinely thought I was trying to do the right thing. In the beginning. I’d always seen the women around me on diets and 13 year old me was starting to notice the extra kilos from puberty. So where is the line? Or is there a line at all?
A personal belief of mine is that any dieting and disconnect from a healthy eating pattern is unhealthy. That can strongly be argued both ways and I get it, but hear me out.

Firstly, food is fuel and nourishment. When the association with food is positive, it can be for enjoyment, too. It’s when the association with food becomes negative that there’s a problem. Now, I won’t say that being on a diet instantly results in an eating disorder, because most people, mostly women, can fall in and out of diets freely, with some guilt but able to let it go and enjoy what they’re eating in the end. It’s when the diet or unhealthy/abnormal food patterns don’t stop and the individual has lost sight of happiness with their bodies and food. This is generally associated with inner conflict and emotions.

This is where the problem starts. When it is used as a mental blocker. This can be overeating to feel enjoyment where they’re lacking happiness in their life, or in the opposite effect depriving oneself of food as a form of self-punishment. Yes, there are phases that teenage girls especially will go through as they figure out their bodies and food and hopefully fight against social expectation to look and be a certain way, but if it becomes more and a noticeable emotional and mental shift is visible; it’s time to act.

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(I had reservations about putting in photos of me when I was unwell, but I think its important. How sad I look hurts more than the state of my body)

My diet started by wanting to burn off as many calories as I could and decreasing how much I was eating. Instantly the weight started to fall off and instead of finding joy in this I started to use food as punishment where I was failing to live up to my self-set goals. Early on my parents pulled me up on it, but pushing it aside meant they let it go too. I gave them no choice. Eventually I was barely eating and I developed bulimia 6 months into my eating disorders. Thus, being easier to hide. For the following 5 years I could eat. To my parents and anyone I spent time with, it looked as though food was going from the pantry and it appeared as though I was “trying” at the very least. But as weight continued to drop, my health became irrelevant and it was more about keeping me alive. And this is what I want to get across. They can be hidden as something we perceive to be healthy. They can be so well hidden that I scared myself sometimes as a 15-year-old girl doing the things I was doing.

Eating disorders aren’t as simple as falling into the two categories; anorexia and bulimia. Binge eating disorder, ortherexia and excessive exercising are just a few others. Eating Disorders Otherwise Unspecified (EDNOS) is the most common, where the disorder itself falls in and out of the main kinds and in turn can’t specifically be identified. This is mostly what I fell into. The dangerous part of this diagnosis… Is most people won’t be diagnosed with it. It isn’t taken as seriously and unless you are a certain weight it doesn’t matter what the state of your mind is it won’t be reflected in how professionals see you.

I was 15 when I went to a doctor because I was worried about the damage bulimia was having on my heart. Instead of being met with concern he asked me how much more weight I wanted to lose and said that wasn’t “too bad”. The lack of awareness is dangerous. Eating disorders have the HIGHEST mortality rate of all mental disorders.

So what are they and what are they not?

There are a few things eating disorders aren’t… But the main thing I want to get across is that they aren’t a choice, a cry for attention, a phase or a trend. I had lost 20 kilos by the time people around me finally stopped complimenting me and instead started expressing their concern. 20 kilos too late. And that’s not their fault, it’s the lack of awareness and the lack of conversation about eating disorders going on.

We need to know they are an emotional blocker. Trauma, abuse, neglect, bullying, etc. can be linked to the beginning of an eating disorder and once this is unraveled it can be the beautiful start to recovery. My amazing counseling teacher, Sol, told our class that disorders are things unprocessed. I think this is so important. Further, it’s also important to note that “fat” isn’t a feeling. Sometimes we need to delve a little bit further. If I can’t feel fat… What could it be? Anxious, sad, scared, angry, etc?

And most importantly they can eventually stop having complete control of your life. With self-love, time, patience and determination. So over the few weeks I’ll be delving into the disorder itself and recovery so those going through an eating disorder or loved ones of someone with an eating disorder can find comfort and clarity in the journey to health and happiness.

Feel free to share your experience with us or ask any questions. This is a heavy topic but together we can make it lighter.

Always humble,

Brylee

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21 Lessons from my 21 Years!

I fell in love with self growth a a few years ago, but as life does… It gets in the way and you forget how much you’ve learnt along the way. So I thought I’d share some of my favourite, sometimes tough, lessons I’ve had to learn as I try to find my way back on the path of thriving on knowing me, loving me and embracing life’s many lessons.

  1. Learn to tell negative people to F-off… In your head… And then execute it out loud with grace and kindness. You don’t owe anyone anything, but you owe it to yourself to hold humility.
  2. Patience is a virtue. Learning to have it takes time and not having it will serve you in the process.
  3. Cynicism serves you, but doesn’t preserve you. Sometimes being cynical can protect your developing, fearful, hurt heart… But in the long term it will eat away at you.
  4. Life is one big cliche! Going off #3; I was cynical for so much of my teenage years but the truth is I love falling in love (with people, places, things!), I love thinking that the grass is greener where you water it and that you should always follow your heart. It shouldn’t be seen as naive… Just hopeful. (Oh, and I loooove Christmas)
  5. Be vulnerable. There’s something so powerful about sitting in the discomfort of vulnerability. No one grows by staying where they are and no relationship grows by having the same conversations.
  6. Live your sexuality. Not just gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, demi-sexual, etc. But if you are a sexual being, be it. If you’re not, don’t. Don’t ever let anyone own your sex. It’s yours. There’s enough shame put on us, especially for women, surrounding our sexuality and our sexual experiences. The power is in owning it.
  7. People watch! My mum taught me to do this when I was pretty young. I think it’s so important to look around and see that the world is bigger than you every so often. It gives perspective.
  8. You can absolutely be enabling someone’s negative behaviours. It’s rough to admit, but all the love in the world could be preventing the one you love from healing themselves. Sometimes the best thing you can do is step back and give them the room to heal.
  9. You don’t always have to say sorry. Don’t apologise for how you feel and don’t ever apologise for expressing it.
  10. Silence is everything. In yourself, silence will bring clarity. In relationships, silence will bring realisation. Listen to it. React accordingly.
  11. You probably will eventually need maths… Shit. Should’ve paid attention.
  12. You’re not always meant to know what to say or what to do. I loved learning this. That sometimes I actually don’t know, because it’s the first time I’ve done it. I’m completely allowed to have no damn clue.
  13. Get spiritual. Religion, spirituality, enlightenment… Wherever you want to go with it. Get it. Looking inward to look at the bigger picture… Looking at the Universe to look inward… Gives me the warm and fuzzy’s.
  14. Just because she’s beautiful or intelligent… It doesn’t make you less beautiful or intelligent. Sounds silly and superficial but comparison is dangerous. We all do it, but this is one thing that’s allowed me to stand alone in my beauty and intelligence.
  15. Love truly does conquer all. I’ve been in some tricky situations in the last few years, where the choice to love or become bitter is right in my hands. Taking a step back and focusing on how I want to be remembered, how I would want to be treated if I were the other person… I always choose love.
  16. Be selfish. Sometimes you need you. And that’s okay. You’re the only one you can truly promise yourself to.
  17. Get to know and appreciate your body.  It is your home. I totally don’t even mean sexually. But know what is normal and what isn’t. Know it and appreciate it. Appreciate that your legs are strong enough to help you run, your arms are soft to hold someone, that it is your only real home.
  18. Your parents truly do just love you and want the best for you. And I can never apologise enough for thinking otherwise.
  19. Set boundaries. With yourself and with people… I’m still learning this one. But I also think it’s important to take on FAR too much, and then cut back. Never say no to an opportunity before you know if it’s what you want or not.
  20. Always hold yourself accountable. Forgive yourself, yes. But first inner peace and growth comes when you can pull yourself aside and say… Let’s change this or let’s do this differently next time.
  21. Above all, become your own best friend. My new favourite thing is taking myself out for a morning coffee, reading the paper and just being with me. You’re pretty great when you get to know yourself.

My next lesson… Is to love myself inside and out. Coming out of an eating disorder, make-up and hair have been my barrier between me and the world. Make up stops the world from seeing me entirely and me accepting myself in all states. So… Stay tuned in the next few weeks as I, terrifyingly,  begin my journey to wearing less make-up, less often and being okay with it!

With love and humbleness,

Brylee

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Realistic Ways to Relax when you’re busy AF

If you’re anything like me; you take on far too much, say “no” to far too little and before you know it, it kind of feels like you’re drowning under the weight of all your responsibilities. This year for me has been utter chaos. Between working any day I don’t have Uni or placement, two little monkeys whom I can’t be too far away from, relationships, friendships, ME TIME, Uni work, tutoring again and of course Earthytales; days normally start at 6:30am and don’t end until 11pm and my God am I tired. I’d love a weekend, but those also don’t exist for me.

So what do you do when you’re constantly on autopilot and are just going through your days without looking up to see what you’re actually going through and what do we need to consider?

Firstly I’ve noticed a trend lately. The busier, the better, the more accomplished you seem to appear and I kind of call bullshit on that. 2 years ago, studying Chinese Medicine, one of the first things I learned was in Chinese the symbol for “busy” is a dead heart/heart laying on a bed. We aren’t meant to be busy. We know busy causes stress, we know stress causes the mind and the body to rewire itself in an unhealthy way. So why are we doing nothing to fix it? Because it’s near impossible to not be busy right now! “Put in the hard yards while you’re young” is what I hear constantly, and yes, this is accurate and totally reasonable, but we may very well burn out before we can do anything with the hard yards we’ve put in.

Secondly Some steps. Let’s forget the unrealistic expectation that we’re going to start saying “no” to responsibilities and instead start accepting what we’re working with. That being busy AF schedules. Run along side your busy schedule with many breaks, beautiful scenery and constantly reevaluate where you are and how you feel. So with that we need to admit to ourselves that we can’t always handle everything we’ve taken on and be okay with it. Some days we’re hella kick ass and will take on more than we already have on our daily plate and other days we need to leave things behind and occasionally let someone else pick it up for us.

Quick and easy ways…

Take pride in recharge days… I took one myself this past Friday and once I got over the initial guilt and allowed myself to refresh even while I was taking care of Uni touch ups, scheduling tutoring sessions and little errands; simply taking 10 minutes to grab a coffee on my own, a half hour drive listening to music and a call to a friend I hadn’t heard from in a little while; was a perfect way to unwind.

Love what you’re doing… Sounds simple, but if your schedule is chaotic, at least don’t dislike everything in your schedule. Set goals, short term and long term and know why you’re waking up every day to that God awful 6am alarm.

Rely on others… To keep you going. Not to assist in the work load, with a schedule that heavy I doubt you’re one to hand off your work to someone else, but when the days are tough, let the ones who love you remind you why you’re there and to help you make those decisions that seem too in the midst of it all or just validate how you feel.

A hobby… It sounds childish… Because it is. Be a child every so often, have a playground of your own, whether it be yoga, photography, going out on a Friday night with friends, watching Mean Girls in bed with your best friend (like me as I write this!)

Enjoy the down time… But enjoy the chaos just as much! How strong you must be to do it ALL!

Love and humbleness,

Brylee

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Road to Wellness…

I feel beyond blessed to be jumping on board Earthy Tales as a contributor towards Melanie’s continued successes, goals and hopes for this blog and what it represents for her. I only hope to offer greater insight as I bring my own experiences forward in an uncut and honest look at the struggles, triumphs and the down right sometimes-impossible’s that surround wellness and self -love. Acknowledging it as a process, not a dormant place we ever reach or are allowed to stay.

And with that is my process… 

An eating disorder took hold of my life between the ages of 12-17. There wasn’t a day within that time period where I woke up and wanted anything to do with myself. Being in recovery for 4 years from a constant back and fourth between anorexia and bulimia, I have realised how disconnected I was from my body, my mind, my spirit and my emotions. I had no idea who I was or where I was, let alone where I may have wanted to go.

I’ve been in recovery for 4 years, we assume the process stops eventually, but I don’t think it ever does. I say I’m in recovery because I don’t believe it’s a place I’ll ever leave. Every day is work, I’ll never sugar coat that and believe me I know that sounds daunting for anyone stuck between their eating disorder and wanting to recover. Most of the time it feels safer to stay within the known than to try and fail… and try and fail… because I did plenty of that. Every day is a challenge when you’ve learned a certain way of doing things for 5 years, a certain way of viewing food, exercise, your body, your goals and aspirations. It’s not a walk in the park to be relatively functional again.

Strange enough… It was when I realised I was gay that everything changed. It was the link between body, mind and spirit that I had been completely ignoring that once I acknowledge it I was able to take a breath. I had acknowledged certain parts of my life before and accepted how I had felt about my pain, but nothing quite flicked the switch like accepting love and myself. It was almost instant. I was still stuck but at least I knew why I was there in the self-hate and the self-deprivation. Depriving myself of my true self was… killing me.

But surely, with that, the process began. There’s so much I could write on it, but we’ll save that for another day… Looking back on my 4 year journey to this point in my wellness and HAPPINESS I’ll put it down to 3 things. (There’s a million more but these are the 3 that stand out.)

  1. Mindfulness making an active decision every day to do what is necessary for that day. If I can’t move forward, if I can’t make good decisions… Sometimes it’s best to not let myself. The longer I ignore what’s going on, the harder it is in the long term. Some day’s it’s about sitting in the discomfort and just letting it pass.
  2. Support although I never asked anyone for help; I have the most amazing parents, friends and family behind me. Building a support group around you takes away the burden on those days you don’t want to get out of bed.
  3. Trust (The most important) giving myself the room to learn to trust myself again. To trust that I only feel what is necessary and that the universe knows I’m where I need to be at all times.

I have to trust myself to be mindful.
I have to trust my support.
And I have to be mindful to do both of those things.

So here I am, on my continued road to wellness and happiness and I can’t wait to share my journey with you!

With humbleness and love,

Brylee

7 Life Changing Books

As well as…..The books on my list and up and coming books to get excited about!

I absolutely love reading! As most people, I never read as much as I’d like to but I’ve certainly read a great deal of amazing books. Below is a list of my most favourites, a list of books I am yet to read and others that are yet to be published by up and coming!

HEALTH/WELLNESS

Portia De Rossi’s book  – Unbearable Lightness

Any human that’s ever doubted the way they look or taken any part in the diet game needs to read this. This book was awe inspiring, eye opening and god damn tear jerking. Portia writes in a way that opens your heart and takes you into her story. Because this is written by a ‘celebrity’ I think this gives you a bit of an insight into how what you perceive as reality is not always true. We see these outside shells of people deemed as celebrities and our perception of their lives, especially via social media like Instagram and Facebook. We have no idea what’s going on their lives and what their struggles are – we are all equal, we all struggled and go through simular things. That’s my perspective anyway!

Non-Violet Communication, A Language of Life – Marshall Rosenberg

I am someone who cannot hide their feelings in more circumstances, as its generally written all over my face! This book helps you to become conscious of your words, actions and expressions and guides you to better communication. This has really helped me in times of conflict where choosing the right words can sometimes be extremely hard.

ADVENTURE

Dead Lucky: Life After Death – Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall is a true Adventurer. His tale is for those who love reading about adventure mishaps, Everest adventure and any kind of outdoor related books. I’ve been obsessed with books about Everest since I was a kid, so this one was perfect for me. It is such a page turner and describes in detail the horrific circumstance Lincoln suffered when attempting to summit Everest in 2006. He talks about his family life, his children and the passion he maintained for them and mountaineering. This book gave me SO much inspiration as someone who loves the outdoors!

100 things – Sebastian Terry

I’m maybe a little bit biased now because Seb is a mate, but he wasn’t when I first read 100 Things! I think that shows just how epic this book is. I’ve loved this book from the absolute beginning and it still sits a number one on my bookshelf. A story of one mans journey that went on to influence so many others to live their passions and do exactly what they want to do in their life – whether that be starting and building a multi-million dollar business…..or skydiving naked. It could be anything! Through his bucket list, he set off to travel the world and achieve these items that he had always wanted to do. I think the most inspiring part of this story is after the book! It’s becoming a journey of people helping other people achieve their dreams. Look out for a second book and so much more – he’s changing the world! How did this one change my life? This is how.

Extreme South – James Castrission

Cas and Jonesy, two epic Australia adventurers and two completely down to earth guys that genuinely make you feel like you can achieve anything. This book is their story of walking to the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back again. Crazy huh? Yes! And so amazing to read about. I absolutely love these guys, and if you love the book make sure you check out their other one – Crossing the Ditch.

LIFESTYLE

The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

A finance book made the list? Yes! I’ve struggled with number crunching my whole life and now mid 20’s I still do! However, I simply couldn’t put this book down. The way Scott has written the content is in a simple to understand way. Even things like home loads, investments and interest rates were explained step up step, so easy to understand. This book is for everyone and anyone, adults to children. Giving this book to a teenager could possibly be one the best things you can do for their future wealth. It teaches them the simplicity of saving, to the possibility of investing and can definitely be understood by something with basic monetary knowledge.

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khalid Hosenni

Although not a true tale like the other books I’ve listed, this one describes the lifestyle and hardship of two women who are bought together during the war in Afghanistan. The descriptions in this book create such amazing imagery, it almost feels as if you are there experiencing the ups and downs with them. This book really puts life and hard times into perspective! A great read for teenagers as well, especially those that struggle to appreciate what they have in this beautiful life.

Books on my list to read!

Dear Lover – David Deida

Conversations With God – Neale Donald

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

Wishes Fulfilled – Wayne Dyer

How to Life a Good Life – Johnathan Fields

First, We Make the Beast Beautiful – Sarah Wilson

The Power of Now – Eckhart Tole

Womens Wellness Wisdom – Dr Libby

Hot To Be H.O.T – Chrystal Fuentes

Strong Looks Better Naked – Chloe Kardashian

 

Upcoming books! Keep an eye out for these!

Balance – By Monica

  • @balancebymonica
  • balancebymonica.com

Jessica William’s first book!

Melissa Ambrossini’s second book!

Mark Miljons-Rostoks first book!

Tales Of A Girl With A Broken Heart

Grab a cuppa (and maybe some chocolate) and join me on this one….

After 1.5 years and a whole lots of tears, pulling myself back up and god damn hard work I’ve arrived at a place where I can type these words feeling strong and ready to talk about the shitty, no good fun that is a break-up.

There’s no two ways to say it really, I simply got my heart broken and in an instant went from feeling deeply loved and adored to a second hand item that gets left in the bottom of your cupboard letting it gather dust…You know those old shoes that were once your favourite? Yep – that is genuinely how I felt.

Remembering back to that time it happened my instant reaction was disbelief. I guess that’s what happens when you get so caught up in a life or an idea that you believe to be true for you, then all of a sudden it isn’t. It stops instantly and you no matter how many times you question it, or try to make it better there is no escape from reality. It’s over. It’s a funny thing being told your not loved anymore. All of sudden out of no where you feel you’ve gone from being someone’s most favourite person, the one they look forward to seeing first thing in the morning, the one they race home to see at the end of the day, the one the tell you they want to spend the rest of their life with….to someone their content with never seeing, speaking to or hearing from again.

I can’t say it something I’ll ever understand, and I’m okay with that. You see, we don’t need to understand to accept, and although it’s taken a heck of a long time to get to the point where I’m okay with that, I’m now here, and it’s a beautiful place to be.

When I felt as though my world came crashing down I literally googled “how to fall out of love and get over a break-up.” I searched desperately hoping someone would tell me step by step how to make it all better, how to fix the unfixable. I wish I had come across a post like this to tell me that it WAS going to get better, that maybe I would even be glad it happened. But I couldn’t find one, So here I am, Just a gal, writing a blog about getting her heart broken and how it was possibly the best thing that could’ve happened to me.

Breakups are something most of us go through in our lifetime. You might be the one breaking up with someone (been there, done that), or being broken up with but it happens all across the world every single day, and it down right sucks.  It’s my aim in this post to let you learn a little about my experience and some tools I’ve learnt over the past year that have bought me out the other side of grief and loss to a better, stronger and more confident human! This is absolutely a beautiful shining light at the end of what seems like a very dark tunnel. I am proof of that.

I want to let you know that this is not about a blame game. I truly believe that any feelings that come up or pain that is felt is not the direct result of another persons actions. Although we might feel that because of that person we are MADE to feel this way, we are actually in complete control of our own bodies, our own feelings and reactions and we need to accept responsibility for this. You may not have wanted to hear that, but this post isn’t about fabricating reality, its real life, the good and the not so good.

1. Realise Your Worth

One of the most valuable things you could do for yourself is to realise your worth. The most meaningful relationship you could ever have is the one you have with yourself. I truly believe your self love bucket needs to be over flowing, and only then can we love others with the overflow rather than using their love to fill our own buckets.
If we allow our love buckets to be constantly filled up by others then what happens If their love runs out? If it disappears all of a sudden? We’re empty and we feel like we ‘need’ their love.

2. Create our own identity

Whether you’re in a long term relationship, married with kids or dating ensure you have an identity of your own that isn’t wrapped entirely in your partners. Maybe you love to paint or run, find the things that make you happy, and make time for them. It’s so important that we take the time to work on ourselves and do the things that make us who we are as individuals so we can join together with the people we love and share our experiences.

3. Don’t Play The Blame Game

Do yourself a favour and don’t blame yourself or the other person entirely for your heart break. I believe not only does everything happens for a reason but we all manifest our realities one way or another. It is never entirely another’s persons fault for things happening the way they did, there a two people in the relationship… and well, as the saying goes it takes two to tango and ain’t that the truth. You might be thinking “I did nothing wrong at all. It was all them,” and although it really feels like that (really really) it is never really a one man (or woman) show.

While we’re here I’m going to stop you right there because you’re probably racking your brain right now to think about what you did to contribute. This is ok, but don’t stay here for long, simply observe your contribution and put it in a place for next time, to learn from the experience. It’s not about blaming ourselves but taking responsibility so we can grow from it in the future.

4. Find Your Tribe

Cliché as this might sound, it is SO necessary to be able to pick yourself up and move on. Surround yourself with people you trust, people that will come to the table to tell you what you might not want to hear. You need people in your life that will catch you out when you’re slipping back to a dark space, and be willing to give you the love and support you may need in a really shitty time. There might be your family, or friends and maybe they might even be a whole new set of people you’ve never even met yet. This was the case for me. My parents were an incredible support system for me, as well as a few friends that had my back like you wouldn’t believe. A friend of mine even rang me every single day and told me one amazing quality about myself per day – if that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. Almost my entire support system is made up of people I’ve met in the past year, by joining fitness groups or new jobs, even online programs – you’ll find yours.

Whatever you’re going through, or have gone through there IS hope. All those thoughts in your mind will slow down, then eventually disappear. You will get through this, and in a years time you’ll be grateful for the amazing progress you’ve made.

And you know what…. a year and a half on I still don’t think I’m “over” it. And guess what, that is damn freakin OK. And I’m not sure I ever will get over it. It sucked big time, I’ve never felt such pain, I’ve never doubted myself so much but the me right now compared to the me a year a half ago….Hell! I am a rockstar.

If you’ve gotten to the end of this post (such a long one!) and still searching for answers, I don’t have them but please take this one peace of advice. YOU ARE LOVE.
Yes, yes that’s right. You. You are love. You don’t need it from that other person to survive, it is within you. We can create it, we can grow it and nurture it. Look within and ask yourself what you love to do? What makes you who you are?

Take a deep breath in this moment and know that it’s all going to be okay. You are Love.

An Adventure Guide For Melbournians

For the Adventurous

If you’re an adventure seeker like me, the city of Melbourne may not be the ideal location to set up a humble abode. With the tiny laneways and hipster coffee spots it can be overwhelming sometimes and the sound of chirping birds, paddle strokes and dusty roads seems oh so far away. I’ve come to love my soy dirty chai’s and fancy poached eggs but dirty boots, starry nights and fresh crisp air HELL YES…chai what?

The adventurous life may not be as far away as you think, with or without a car there are plenty of places accessible for a weekend, day or even an hour or two escapes from the rat race. I am 100% a fan of setting up a life you never need to escape from or take a ‘holiday’ from, but as you and I know sometimes this also isn’t as easy as It sounds. Maybe you’re a city goer until you save for your ideal lifestyle, maybe it’s where your family lives, maybe you need a balance – whatever the reason here is a list of fun filled adventures to top up that adventure bucket of yours.

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  1. Hardrock Rock Climbing                                                                                                         Hardrock is an epic indoor rock climbing spot and although it may be in the middle of the city, the view from the top of the climbs is awesome! There is so much variety of difficulty that you’ll soon forget you’re amongst the sky scrapers immersed in the challenge. If you don’t have your own gear, you can hire it as well as learn the basics of belaying and climbing. I found this was an awesome place to bring my city friends who may not have ever rock climbed before and they loved it
  2. Woodlands Historic Park                                                                                               About 30 minutes out of the city lies Woodlands! Acres of beautiful park land most commonly used for horse riding and weekend walks. If you’re into horses, head around to the homestead side of the park where you’ll learn about Living Legends – the place where legendary race horses go to retire. The homestead serves amazing Devonshire tea and although this may seem a little commercial and far from the country life, this place has a beautiful homey feel to it and perfect for a relaxing cup of tea after a massive walk. Head out for a few hours with a picnic lunch, there’s a huge variety of wide open spaces, rocky crops, bushland and creeks. If you do check out the homestead café, try the Devonshire tea. It is amazing!
  3. Dandenong Ranges                                                                                                             Most commonly known for the 1000 Steps walk, the Dandenong Ranges are far from this one steep challenge. If you want to get away from the crowds and fitness fanatics, I suggest trying other parts of the ranges to explore aside from the location of the 1000 Steps. Or, If you’re keen for a bit of both, tackle the steps early morning then take your time exploring the rest of the area and walking back down the long way through the winding hills and ferns rather than squeeze your way back down the steps.
  4. Mt Macedon                                                                                                                                If you live in the northern suburbs of Melbourne this one is super close for you. Mt Macedon can be as touristy and crowded as you want it to be depending on where you go. If you’re after more of a secluded adventure, avoid the top of Mt Macedon near the café or head there on a weekday. There are plenty of options depending on how long you have or how active you feel. You can drive to the top of the mountain, park your car and then explore the top or walk from the bottom – an easy/medium hike with beautiful scenery along the way.
  5. You Yangs                                                                                                                                There is so much to do at the You Yang’s, giving you plenty of choice as to whether a leisurely stroll and picnic is more your style or a big bushwalk and abseil. Here, you can self-explore or go on a guided abseiling adventure depending on your level of experience. ‘The Adventure Merchants’ run ½ day abseiling experiences in the area and at a super reasonable price for the adventure and day out you’re getting. Minimum age is 12 so this is something you can do with the whole family. If you’re a seasoned abseiler with your own gear, check out Park Web (parkweb.vic.gov.au) to find out more info as to where the best spots are etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Adventuring!

A Mountain Top As Your Office! This Is How To Make It Happen.

Love being outdoors? Have you ever considered that you could be immersed in a world of adrenaline rushing adventure and exploration all day, everyday….And get paid to do it? WHAT!? This was my exact though at 19 just after I had just discovered that breaking free of my university life for a life in the outdoors was possible.

I loved camping, I loved being outdoors and everything that is entails but never in my wildest dreams did I picture that in exactly a 12 months’ time I could be leading rafts through white water, abseiling off cliffs, conducting search and rescue operations in torrential rain and being responsible for groups of teenagers for over a week in the middle of the Australia bush! Sound amazing? It really freakin was and there is nothing stopping you from leaping into the same thing if that is your passion.

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If you’ve never considered a career in the outdoors there’s a few things you need to look at before jumping in. Most careers in the outdoors require a high level of fitness, this doesn’t mean you need to be super fit now, I definitely wasn’t. I was that slow kid at the end of group walking the slowest, the one who is made to walk at the front of the group to ‘set the pace’ only to feel like they’re letting the rest of the team down. Yep, that was me and only a few months later I was leading groups up that mountain only to be asked by them at the top “how are you not even tired?!.” Fitness can always improve! An open mind is definitely a requirement as well as willingness to give everything a go. If you’re the type of person interested in this kind of career, chances are you already possess these qualities – it seems to come in the personality.

So, what’s the first step? First, you need to get qualified. No one is going to hire you to safely guide children through high ropes activities and high risk expeditions without previous experience and a huge amount of training. Luckily there are some really cool experiences you can undertake that will get you qualified and potentially employment at the end of it. Blow is a list of places that offer this type of training.

The main qualification for this industry is a Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation as well as a Diploma in Outdoor Recreation. These can be done at a standard Tafe or training college. These are quite similar to the experiences mentioned above however definitely not as intensive.

There are some degree’s that include these and more, but they’ll take a lot longer, on average 3 years. A list is below:

There is a down side to this occupation, in more ways than one. Undertaking a career like this most of the time requires you to live on site – so pretty much live at work. You work with the same people you share a house with, the same people you eat with and the same people you spend your weekends with. This was never really a problem for me, as I don’t think I ever really got over the fact that there were actually people who love Mother Nature and the outdoors just as much as I do.

The pay is downright crappy – mostly. When on expedition you could be away for maybe 10 days at a time, this means no showering, no privacy, toileting in the bush, being the main guardian for a group of youths and most of the time (in my experience) there is no compensation for this. Many time throughout my short group instructor career I was made to feel as though the pay way little BUT that amazing feel good feeling you get for changing kids lives compensated the lack of pay. If you’re looking at emerging into this industry I urge you to know your stuff on minimum wage numbers, insurances etc as majority of the time you will not be getting what you deserve. In my personal experience, administration office staff working for the same organisation are generally paid more than the outdoor instructors – one job role cannot exist without the other so it never made sense to me. There are a few amazing company’s out there, who treat their staff as they deserve so please don’t think this the entire industry however just an issue within it. Like I said, know your stuff before you’re knee deep in a contract ready to sign on the line.

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It’s an exhausting lifestyle for an introvert and when you’re on a 10+ day expedition it takes a lot of effort and energy to always be the one on top of your game. If it’s pouring with rain, freezing cold, you’ve just arrived at camp and now need to set up, cook dinner, dig a toilet…Oh and the sunlight is almost gone…Oh and it’s an all-girl group and everyone’s cycles have synced and their hormonal all at once (yes this happened….more than once *Insert crying laughing emoji) you’ve still got to be that positive face and attitude for the whole team. Participants feed off your energy and if you’re curled in a ball hiding away from the obvious that needs to get done; soon your entire team will follow. There’s always that one kid that wants to do well, impress the instructor and themselves. They’ll see you lifting the group up, with your smile, body language and attitude and soon they will follow, it’s a follow on affect.

Despite these challenges there are SO many wonderful amazing parts of the industry that make it (I believe) one of the best jobs in the world! You get to wake up and experience something new every day. You get to spend days or weeks with complete strangers, come to know them and then watch them flourish and grow into amazing people. You get to hear their stories and watch their struggles helping them with gentle encouragement along the way. The change within yourself will surprise you. You will get to know yourself like never before, everything and anything from how much food your body needs to perform, to what you’re like with little to no sleep – you will learn so much!

If it’s something you’re passionate about, I say go for it. Take the leap and apply for something that will change your life. You will go places you never dreamed of, and meet people that will teach you so much. I’m not the kind of person that could continuously do a job that doesn’t bring me happiness, and if you’re reading this blog you probably feels the same. Go get that dream.

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The Perfect Remedy For Great Gut Health

And why you should be taking care of yours.

Gut Health. It’s a term that’s been floating around the health and wellness industry for donkey’s years (that’s a saying right?!) but really only in the past few years has it emerged and become a well known trend of today. If there was ever a perfect fad or trend to be going around, I’d say good gut health is just that! It seems everyone is talking about it….but what does it all really mean, and should you be doing something about the state of yours?

The answer is Yes! When I first was introduced to the concept of taking care of our gut health I didn’t really realise how important understanding this really is for our health. If you’ve read my skin journey posts you’ll know I’ve come to grasp this within the last few months, and I cant even begin to explain how much understanding my gut health has changed my overall health for the better.

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to the launch party for Remedy Kombucha’s new CAN packaging– an incredible brand that truly brings their products to you out of pure passion. Also, please let me just jump in here and say that this post is not sponsored in any way at all, I am just truly passionate about talking about brands and topics that align with my values and Remedy is one of these. Back to it. At the launch party, wellness guru and Chinese Medicine Dr. Nat Kringoudis (@natkringoudis) spoke about gut health and how taking care of your gut health can literally transform your overall health.

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Often the word bacteria provokes a terrible germ like thought for us because of words we’ve been accustomed to such as ‘Anti-bacterial.’ But know that there are many kinds of bacteria including good AND bad bacteria that we need to know about. Often with overuse of medication, crappy processed foods, sugar, gluten (like in my case, acne medication) not only is our bad bacteria destroyed through the process to control the symptoms of our problems, but also the good bacteria! These little guys are the ones that are doing their best to fight our issues but fall short when destroyed by these harsh factors. In short, when the bad bacteria is attacked along with the goodies, this effects the lining of our gut or our gut flora creating all sorts of health issues.

Generally when we treat something that is bothering us or is happening in our bodies such as acne, irregular periods (for the females amongst us), lack of energy, moods etc. we are treating a symptom rather than the cause. I know for years and years I was consistently taking acne medication which I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what was even in the medication! Taking this medication was purely for the spots on my face and the embarrassment I was dealing with daily but I never really stopped to think of WHY I even had the acne in the first place. Take a moment to have a think about your current health status, are you treating a symptom or the cause of your issues. Do you know what the cause is? Nat mentioned at the Remedy Launch that when we treat our gut health instead of the individual symptoms of our concerns most of the time we will find that our symptoms subside with the strengthening and improvement of our gut flora!

But how do we do this I hear you ask? There’s so many ways we can improve our gut health and implementing little changes daily can change our gut microbiome (the beautiful great bacteria that live in our gut) instantly. Long term changes will obviously provide a more stable home for your microbiome and you may feel super surprised by how much better you feel in general! Fermented foods are amazing for gut health but implement these slowly, especially if you aren’t used to eating them. I’ve been working on my gut health very slowly for about two months now and I’ve only just introduced fermentation into my diet. Beautiful green leafy vegetables are also great! Cutting down the amount of processed food and sugar you consume and aiming to eat less non packaged foods. Kombucha is also an amazing way to support health gut flora and if you’re unsure as to what it is or have never tried it HERE is a beautiful explanation.

I don’t know about you but this trend excites me. The thought that more people are being more inclined to reach for a Kombucha over a can of Coke is EPIC! Healthy doesn’t have to be boring, it doesn’t have to mean cutting out the ‘sometimes’ foods completely – it’s a state of mind and if you really want to be the healthiest, happiest version of yourself yet then do yourself a favour and start researching more ways to make this happen.

If you’re in Melbourne, get down to Hawker Hall in Prahran within the next month to try some Remedy Kombucha. Their Kombucha cocktails are amazing!

If your interested in learning more about gut health whether it be ways your can improve yours, or more of the science behind its importance, then check out this list below:

Kirsty Worth – http://kulturedwellness.com/about/

Kale Brock – http://kalebrock.com.au/

Melissa Ambrosini –  https://melissaambrosini.com/podcast/healing-candida-building-robust-immune-system-donna-gates/

Nat Kringoudis – http://www.natkringoudis.com/about/

Pete Evans – https://peteevans.com/books/complete-gut-health-cookbook/

Remedy Kombucha – http://remedykombucha.com.au/

 

Happy Fermenting! Much Love,

 

Melanie

 

 

DISCLAIMER

Please note that I am not professional trained in gut health and all this information has come from personal research done over the past 6 months. I am always willing to learn more so please leave me a comment if you want to add something or need more clarification. Please seek advice from a health care professional in regards to medication and changes in diet.

My Skin Journey: Part 4

Here we are once more, together for a few minutes to chat about my skin. Aside from that fact that this is what these posts are about, I truly hope that when reading this you are able to perhaps use certain tips for yourself whether that be related to your skin health or not.

Something I’ve learnt consistently with this skin journey of my mine is that only a very small part of it is actually directly related with treating my skin. The rest is all about your overall health – mainly the gut. A funny word to some but very key in taking control of your health. It is where signals are sent to the brain when something doesn’t seem right, our energy receptors, the ability to create a calming state through breaths, there is an endless list as to why it’s so important! We are literally what we eat and if we want to embody a beautiful, positive, loving, bright, energetic being then we need to ensure that we are feeling our bodies with foods that possess those qualities. See ya later Cadbury, Hello Loving Earth! (if you haven’t had Loving Earth Choc, omg. Get on it)

Recently I visited a skin clinic to see what my options were for treatment to help get rid of old acne scaring and also to brighten the appearance of my skin. This isn’t something I’m looking at getting now, but when the present acne has gone it is something I’m really interested in delving deeper into to really achieve “Glowing” skin (there’s that word again!). Within 5 minutes of the consult the lady began telling me how they would change my current routine, what they would do etc. and I was immediately turned off. That’s something I’ve really enjoyed with this entire natural process – that I have complete and utter control. If I decide to ditch my healthy lifestyle for hot chips and chocolate every night then almost instantly those choices are reflected on my skin. If I chose not to drink as much water as I should then my skin will appear less youthful and hydrated. It’s totally in my control and always a choice.  She chatted to me about Microdermabrasion, Red light/Blue light therapy, Skin Needling and a few more. They all sounds quite complex and although I do want to try these out (in the future) I am more excited to get out in the sunshine, amongst the trees and fresh air and really give Mother Earth a chance in my Skin Journey before I turn to more expensive and complicated processes.

For this weeks segment of my Skin Journey I thought I’d put together a list of things I’ve learnt since March that has really helped me to take control of my health and understand how everything works together.

  • The liver is instrumental in taking and using the nutrients from our food. If we’ve taken medication for long periods of time or have an unhealthy lifestyle (consistent drinking and unhealthy foods) the function of the liver can deteriorate – limiting the nutrients we are getting, and holding onto all the crappy stuff that comes with it.
  • Sugar is literally the devil. I joke around about this at home, whilst occasionally snacking on a chocolate bar to then feel crappy, with no brain power and a breakout across my face. There’s better stuff out there that makes you feel amazing!
  • We will only truly take in help from others when we are willing to help ourselves. What I mean by this is, if we aren’t willing to put in the hard work it takes at home to really take care of our health, then no matter how many times you seek help from others – the results will always be the same. Non existent.
  • Positive Self Talk is KEY! I found that even when my skin was getting better it was hard for me to see so, it wasn’t until I met a friend at a café last week and they said “You look so fresh and your skin looks amazing” that I really looked into the mirror and though – yeah…I do! Good job Mel!
  • Food is Fuel – nothing more or nothing less. As humans we tend to attach emotional feelings to our food, creating scenarios when we should eat a certain type of food when, or eating certain foods depending on how we are feeling.

Another month down, I know I haven’t been 100% consistent in this process and I know that is what it will take to really achieve what I want. It’s the extra 10% that counts!

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A month apart – consistency is key to these results!

 

 

Until next time,

 

Melanie

Maximise Your Safety When Travelling

Tips For Staying Safe Whilst Travelling

There is always the potential for shit to go down when you are travelling.  Lost luggage, getting mugged in the street or something as simple no wifi to let your family know that you’re safe – sometimes these are unavoidable. My aim for this post is to set you up with a list of things you can do before you depart for your adventure, keeping your safety in your own hands as much as possible.

Each place you travel to will obviously have its own risks whether it’s a beach holiday in Queensland or a cultural delight in India – both risky is many different ways, yet we can definitely have the ability to feel safe in each of these places.

Check out below my recommendations to maximise your safety when travelling.

Itinerary – Be prepared before you travel. I know a lot of people do like to “wing” it as they go and I personally haven’t tried this for a long period overseas (only for 4 weeks!) but personally I believe having a rough idea of where you want to go and when will help out in the long term, especially if shit hits the fan. I spent a month in Nepal, living in the one area and everyday we did something new. I didn’t know what I was going to do, where and when – I have no idea of the specifics. At the start of each week my travel buddy and I would roughly plan out what we wanted to do and when. This not only helped with someone knowing where we were, but also so we could fit in as much as possible into our time in Nepal, maximising our location and opportunities. If you aren’t “winging it,” and are travelling on an organised tour, have a good look at your itinerary. If you like to be super organised, list down the phone numbers of the places you are staying at, the closest hospitals etc. You may not ever need any of this information but if Justin comes along (Just-in case….get it? **drops the mic**) wouldn’t it be handy to have all the information right there? Lastly regarding itinerary’s, make a few copies. Take two on your trip, one in your luggage and another in your day bag and leave a few at home. I always have one saved on my laptop or home computer and I give one to a friend and one to my family. If your family haven’t heard from you in a while, this will help them to see where you should be or who to contact if you aren’t there.

Google – Once I have my itinerary I often like to use google earth to see the locations I’m going to, especially the hotels to see exactly what the outside looks like. I know this might seem a bit strange but I can tell you this has helped out so much! Several taxi rides I’ve taken in foreign country’s have landed me at the perfect location because I’ve been familiar with what my surrounds looked like – all from google earth. For example, In Hawaii I was able to navigate the streets just from the visuals I remembered from google – and I have a goldfish memory. This is totally do-able.

Registering Trip/Travel Pod – Our government has an incredible resource for travellers that I think isn’t utilised enough! Smart Traveller is a government website created by the department of foreign affairs and trade. It allows you register your trip including the hotels you are staying at, how long for as well as contact information, emergency contacts etc. Not only this, but you can sign up for travel updates from the country you are going to. It lists the government’s recommendation on how safe travelling to the specific country is giving it a rating and recommendation. It gives a current advice level (for example, “Exercise a High Degree of Caution” – Nepal 2015), and a change summary explaining what is happening in the country at that time that may influence the level of safety. This many include elections or protests etc. This is SO essential with staying up to date with what is going on in the country. Because of this I stayed clear of the border between Nepal and India a few years ago due to protests which resulted in a fuel shortage. As well as staying clear of some national parks that were still suffering from Earth Quake damage. It takes less than 10 minutes, sign up, enter your details and feel much safer knowing that at least one person knows where you are going – the government is a pretty good person(s) to have on your side.

Travel Pod is a simular to a blogging site, you can track on a map where you are going and where you have been and include diary entries about what you did on specific days. This is not only great as an extra safety measure but also for keeping Grandma in the loop as to what you are up to.

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Spare copies – I briefly mentioned this in the itinerary section, but having spare copies of your documents is essential when travelling. I have an app on my phone, that doesn’t need wifi to operate, that takes photos of documents and turns them into pdf’s. It also stores pdf’s on the app, which works the same as something like Google Drive – a storage system. I keep copies of my passport, ID etc. Yes, this runs the risk of if your phone is stolen then all your documents are easily accessible yet with the fingerprint scan on IPhone these days and the common sense practise of ‘not having your phone out in public’ when travelling works wonder to stop your device getting in the hands of someone else. Once again like the itinerary I keep copies of my passport on my home computer, and I keep one attached to the info package I give to my family before leaving. Something that I found super useful when travelling, was to keep a display folder with plastic pockets in my luggage. This is where you can keep all your documents that I’ve mentioned, as well as cook things you collect along the way like postcards, brochures, letters etc.

Money/travel cards – Before you leave, take copies of your bank cards and keep them on your phone and on your computer at home. I also take a photocopy and keep it in my display folder when travelling. I’ve never had to use it, but you never know! Another good tip I’ve found useful is to have two bank cards; just in case. These bits of plastic are easily lost when travelling and having two of them and the ability to stop the use of one card but still having access to your funds from another card is very useful! Make sure you download the app from your bank (if it has one!) before you go so online banking becomes easier, and cancelling cards can be done in an instant.

Respectful Attire – It’s hard to be 100% prepared with what to wear when travelling to a new country. The may not apply to local places within Australia but definitely will have a huge impact on you when travelling overseas. One of the first things I noticed about women in India was that none of them wore backpacks. If they carried bags, they were plastic shopping bags or over the should sling type bags, but never back packs. Despite the fact that I’m six foot tall, quite curvy and very white (summer please come back), I did my best to fit in in India, and after a day or two learning how to do this I felt less stares and I felt more comfortable when walking down the street. “Fitting in” can make your experience in a new country more comfortable and I can guarantee you that you will feel a lot better wearing a sari, scarf and small flats than the typical tourist khaki shirt, backpack, and heavy shoes in India. And that’s just using one country as an example! Dress how the locals do, not only is this fun but you feel as if you’ve stepped into a movie scene, into another world. It’s an opportunity to dress and live like you may not feel as inclined to do when in your home country. When I travelled to India, I had not long shaved my hair off – this helped me SO much to blend in and I know that if I was rocking my long blonde hair in Mumbai I would’ve gained double the amount of attention. Yes, perhaps this was the fact I looked like a boy and no, I’m not saying you shave your hair off for travel – but hey it worked and I would consider doing it again for not only “looks” purposes but the convenience of having little to no hair when traveling absolutely rocked! It always grows back.

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So there you have it! My few little tips that could potentially make a big difference when least expected.

“If you take the time it takes, then it takes less time” – meaning that if you do the prep work before you leave, this could reduce the situation you may find yourself in or could reduce the amount of time needed to fix the situation.

 

Happy & Safe Travels,

 

Melanie

The Perfect Pair

A Tale From The Streets Of Kathmandu, Nepal

She explained the kind she was looking for, her beautiful dutch accent mixed with the noise of another language I’d begun to fall in love with. “Not a tall heel, and not a zip up the back” she described to the short cheerful lady whose shop sold all things from the latest north face backpack to the most incredibly detailed hand crafted Nepalese shoes. We’d been in Nepal for three weeks now and felt comfortable walking the markets streets pretending we knew what we were doing; foolish but cleaver. Following her through the dust filled crowded street we would pause for a moment, her eyes gazing across the shoe selection in hope of finding the perfect sandal. We walked on, my eyes not knowing where to focus, people spoke to us as we walked by; asking for help of all sorts, asking to buy to their items or an exchange of a simple hello. Worlds apart yet joined by a universal greeting. The smiles were my favourite. The daughter of a shop owner, the kids that played behind the counter, those are the faces that come to mind when remembering the busy street. We walked on, still in search of the perfect pair.

As we approached a store, I noticed the street adjacent was getting busier. Perhaps it was the most popular time of day to shop. However the little alley way we had found ourselves in seemed like a quiet oasis away from city noise; scuffling of feat on the dusty paths, the shop keepers calling out to shopper and the delicious food that lined the sheets, enticing shopper with the smell of the deep fried goods. The shops in this alley way reminded me of a maze, the walk to the middle didn’t seem to end, as we took our time observing each stall we walked by. Before finding a shoe stall we found ourselves surrounded by all kinds of colourful material, used for sari’s and the brightest of clothing yet to be stitched together, the material on rolls hung out into the street so you couldn’t help but admire the textures and intricate beading. Surfacing from the colourful maze and lingering behind my travel companion I heard her accent again ask for her shoe size in a beautiful sandal she had found.

This shop was barely a shop, there was no walk way or area to walk into to view the items. There was merely a glass cabinet simular to something you would see at the butcher when selecting your cut of sandwich meat. Sandals, old Nike shoes, men’s business shoes; I instantly wondered who would look for shiny business shoes in such a dusty town. This youthful looking shop keeper had all kinds of shoes for any occasion. To the right, above the cabinet was a rack stuck to the walls which hung red silk slippers decorated with glued on ruby red gems and stitched pattern with the brightest coloured thread. She found focus in trying on a few pair of shoes, shuffling inside the little store so she stood right behind the counter with the man; the only space in the mysterious shop. To the left of the shoes were three steps, steel and cold but functional enough to provide a path to behind the counter. Tired from shopping, I sat down on the cold steps adjusting my scarf I had bought in India just three weeks ago, its orange thread made me smile, my favourite colour providing me warmth, coverage and a sense of belonging. I had worn it almost every day since I got it.

Once on the steps my attention was drawn to a strong smell coming to my right, below the cabinet of shoes. Incense. Something that was used in almost every store we had been too, every home we’d seen and every temple we’d passed. This one was attached to a long piece of wood designed to catch the ash that fell off as the stick burnt down and released its scent. There were piles of ash on the ground, but a fresh stick in the holder. The smell was so unique to any other incense I’d ever smelt. A sort of musk smell held the body of the scent, with hint of firewood, a walk in the forest and a home cooked meal. I watched the stick burn down, each log off ash falling onto the ground when it grew too heavy to stay attached. I watched the ground, the dirt that had been shifted from street to street from walking shoppers. I thought about the incense and how a certain smell can make you feel a certain way, this one warmed my heart and bought a subtle smile to face instantly calming my mind and making the world feel slow and my thoughts to the present. Before I knew it, 10 minutes had passed and we were ready to move on, the shoe search still imminent. Before leaving I thanked the man. I had not bought anything, we had not really spoken but he had let me perch on the cold steel steps of his tiny store, and be engulfed in the moment I was in, were everything was so unfamiliar but so comfortable. He smiled back, and I went to walk away. I hesitated, telling him that I loved the incense he was burning. Without hesitation or word he grabbed the packed, showed me the name of it and said “mountain air.” I smiled again and thanked him, before parting ways once more, he pointed to the corner store at the end of his alley way and I assumed this was where he had bought if from.

I made my way to the corner store, this time becoming the lead shopper with an Australia accent. Although this time, no words needed to be exchanged for my purchase to be finalised. There it was, right on the corner exactly where he pointed. A blue cardboard box, larger than any other box of incense I had purchased in the past. On the front of the box a picture of Mt. Everest was situated in the top right hand corner, “mountain air” I said to myself. A sign above the boxes of incense said 70 rupee, which is merely just over a dollar in Australia dollars. I gave the old woman, 200 rupee and walked away before she had time to give me change. As to me, this box of happiness was priceless, the moment on those steps had no value but a moment in time in which only a smell and a smile was all that life consisted of.

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What’s my purpose?! (Heart vs. Logic)

Heart or logic…

“There is only one success… To be able to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley.

If you know me well, you’ll know it doesn’t take much to make my head turn in the direction my heart is beating towards. I’ve always known what I’ve wanted and what I’ve loved… And in contrast; I’ve always known that what I want constantly changes and I’ve had to learn to be okay with that, too. In having your heart make decisions for you and allowing that to happen comes with quite a bit of… social disapproval. Not because anyone actually disagrees with “follow your heart” but what that looks like doesn’t tend to match up with others expectations and/or what they’re comfortable with accepting.

We’ve come into an era where opportunities are in abundance. We’ve never had so many choices and pressure to find your “purpose”. What if you have multiple? What if your purpose isn’t even a career option? What if you can’t do a 9-5 job? What if you’re 40 years old and you find another purpose 20 years into your career? What if to you, your purpose looks like finding work every few months in what you love and spending  the in-between time doing casual work to make it through? What if you’re not going to make others happy by making yourself happy?18209884_10208982138486494_951637972_o

At the age of five I was putting together books with torn up paper, illustrations as strongly developed as my vocabulary (so not very) and my heart as full as ever. First time I remember feeling purpose. I knew I was to be a writer one day. That was it, self-discovery. Age 5. Done and dusted… Right?

Age eight and my mum made a comment that one day I’d probably be working overseas for a company like The Fred Hollows Foundation. Purpose round 2. (My eight years old self was like… Shit. Now I’ve got two things I need to do.) So this sparked my love for humanitarian work that still yanks at my heartstrings every few months to flee the country and teach overseas. I had always loved people and helping them, but this put it into perspective what I could do with it.

At age eleven I clearly thought I had my little self figured out… and wrote a letter to me to open in a years time that… Not a word of a lie, literally said “don’t forget you are Brylee Eadie, the passionate writer.” HIDES IN SHAME!

And now, age 21; after 2 uncompleted degrees (one of which being in humanitarian work, the other Chinese Medicine) and being in my third which is a double degree in Secondary English and Sociology teaching; and STILL losing sight of where I wanted to be… Something clearly didn’t match up. Every time it has been… “I love what I’m learning, but there’s something bigger than this!”

Here is what I have learned. Work is not my sole purpose on this Earth. My career comes second best to something. So; for me I figured out something that has changed the way I live. My purpose is people. Aaaaand I probably should have been born a Monk.

So how was I to incorporate my two loves; English/Writing and humanitarian work? With loving people… I was pretty sure that there wasn’t a degree in loving people!

So here begins my battle with other peoples opinions…

With all of this, I started losing sight of it all… We begin this battle of heart vs. logic. When I left the second course I began, Chinese Medicine, it wasn’t just my parents worried for me. Not worried… but obviously wondering what the heck I’m doing, if I’ll ever settle and if I’ll ever be happy. And all I could tell them was… Well, I kind of don’t know, I get bored easily and I think it’s because my heart just wants me in so many places at one time. Self-discovery just never stopped for me and I had to finally say… Maybe I don’t want it to. And I’m absolutely NOT sorry if that makes you feel uncomfortable.

I could absolutely have completed a degree in something I didn’t love and hate my career in 20 years time… But I just don’t want that for myself.

Now teaching English and Sociology might seem to outsiders like a safe route… But my gosh, you have no idea how many plans outside of that I have.
The English part of the degree is so I can write one day, professionally, hopefully in biography writing! The humanities/sociology aspect is to understand. To have the opportunity to work in communities and… just understand. When I sit in a Uni class learning about concepts to apply within the classroom. Erikson, Maslow, Bronfenbrenner become synonyms with psychosocial and cognitive development. But is this what my purpose is? No. Is this what my heart pulled me towards? No. It pulled me towards the connections with students, the desire to guide and love and provide knowledge of their surroundings. It’s about the stages of their development, yes. But mostly how I can be a part of that, cherish it, nurture it and provide them with a safe space to grow. Thus, combining my love for English, sociology, adolescent development, history, politics AND PEOPLE.

I think it has been my purpose to take the direction I go in and make it bigger than it needed to be. Everything can be filled with more adventure, love and passion if we want it! And I know my purpose is still going to change about a thousand times.

It’s okay to not know what your purpose is yet, it’s okay to know at 5. It’s okay for it to not match up with social expectations! As long as your heart is in everything you do… Love follows. Logic vs. heart. Where’s the question?!

Always humble,

Brylee

Self-love week: Let’s be honest!

My self-love week is going to start by being honest with myself.

I’m not doing the best.

I wrote a blog or two for this week on recovery, but struggled to be able to post it when I wasn’t sure where I was in my recovery. Eating disorders are fickle things and they rear their heads in times you don’t expect, in times you know they’ll want to show up and in times of need. Not a need for the eating disorder itself, but for some self-love, for some self-kindness and more than likely; some help. Addictions and emotional suppressants have a habit of doing that; showing up when you’re struggling. And God does it just add to the stress, but it’s also a great test of how far you’ve come.

Things have actually been blatantly shit. I was going to just leave this out, but I think it’s important (and with moral support from my best friend to just tell the truth) I know it’s important for myself to admit when things actually feel crappy.
A lot has been going on in my life and it’s not that I’ve relapsed, it’s not that I’ve fallen back into the same habits, but more that I have become aware enough of myself to know that if I don’t get my butt into gear; it could end up that way.

Things get really bad sometimes, right? You’re fine and then all of sudden… You’re not.
Suddenly it feels like there’s no solution and you’re going to be stuck in this rut forever. You look around sometimes, waiting for something magical to happen to fix the problem… Waiting on some kind of epiphany and it never comes. You start to realise getting over someone doesn’t come from waking up one day and suddenly not caring, getting over self-doubt doesn’t come by putting things off and hoping an easier opportunity will come your way…. And that’s really, really shit! I know, trust me. Because it means I have to be responsible when things aren’t good. Even if I don’t think I made the choice to be where I am. But we are of course; every choice we make is our own. *sigh*

I find myself getting frustrated with me lately. The amount of times a day I’ve had to pull myself aside and say, “Brylee… What are you doing?” Between relationships falling a part, not knowing where or who I am and everything I do in a day… I’ve just lost focus. It’s so hard when you’ve done the work before, when you’ve spent years finding your self-love, getting to know yourself so well that self-respect shines through… And then suddenly you look around and you wonder where the heck it’s gone. And there’s only so long you can pass your lack of focus on yourself as your “big heart” for others or having no time. And these are completely valid reason. They are, trust me! I know lack of time and I know having a big heart… But eventually it’s time to look around, say no and focus on you.

So what do I need from myself?

I need to realise no ones coming to my rescue… especially when I struggle so much to actually tell people what’s going on. I need to be present in my life and make active decisions to improve it. I think we’ve moved into an era where everything has become to instantaneous that we want instant solutions, i.e. the pharmaceutical businesses profiting $300 billion per year, where we’ve become reliant on instant relief instead of actually working to solve the problem or receiving instant answers on Google, instant connection with mass social media, that you forget how much work you need to put into wellness and connections, not just with yourself but also with others. I need to connect again, starting with putting the phone away. I need to go back to not taking panadol when I know water is probably the solution. I need to go back to meditating and yoga to clear my head, instead of picking up another mindless task that’ll make me forget what’s going on.

I need to stretch and move… This is where I need to forgive myself. Sometimes I need the focus to be away from my body, to prevent it from becoming a problem, but I deserve movement, I deserve to let the energy and the blood flow through me for no other reason than it feels good!

I need time.

I need to find self respect again. We teach other people how to treat us, we set the standard. Whatever we allow… It’s not even their fault. If you don’t show them where the barriers are, they won’t know where they can’t go. If I start to set the standard again and people fall away because they’re not comfortable with those boundaries… That’s fine. All I was trying to do was show them what I need and I have every right to do that. This also doesn’t mean just letting go of people and things that don’t feel great anymore… I don’t think that ever really solves anything. But it’s a matter of finding the lines they can’t cross and knowing within you when it’s time to find distance and when you’re ready to move closer again.

Self-love is a huge topic, one that isn’t light because when self-love is having to be a subject at all, that means it hasn’t always been there. But here we are, we’re being honest and accepting and acknowledging where you are is the first step to moving forward. I’m so excited for this week… Terrified, but excited. Let’s strip away the sunshine’s and rainbows and be honest. Self-love is a journey and it’s okay to be wherever you are right now on that journey.

Always humble,

Brylee