Success – an update on Amjed

This is just a quick post to let you know that Amjed got a job 🙂
I cannot express how happy I felt when he told me. It was just one more way the universe was reinforcing how anything possible if you believe. I had been told by some people that he would have to go home,back to Pakistan as there were too many obstacles in the way of him successfully obtaining a job and living a nice life here. In fact, at a loss for a better solution, I suggested it to him myself but he was determined to stay and find work, probably because he didn’t have the luxury of that option. And his optimism and determination paid off. When I met him the other day he was armed with a big book, a phrase book with each page divided into three columns- Spanish, English and Urdu. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with hopelessness and despair, he decided to spend his time wisely by teaching himself not one, but two new languages, to better prepare himself for the future life he just knew he would succeed in creating here. I felt so proud of him. Witnessing his difficult journey, even from a safe distance, really taught me a lot. It showed me that alot of people would rather look away for fear the poverty of others will make them feel bad. I learned that most people will assess the risk to their own lives first before attempting to help others and in fact, perhaps enter the situation with scepticism as well as caution. Imagine if we saw the world for what it really is, that we are all an extension of one another, therefore to create a better world for ourselves we must help those in need. We cannot receive what we first don’t give.
One of the positive elements I will retain from this experience is that more than ever I realise how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a family who loves me and supports me and enough to eat every day. It has reinforced for me how we are always in the right place at the right time if we believe it. I am glad I was in the park that day and that I didn’t just walk away when I was being ‘bothered’ by a stranger. I am glad I trusted myself and my instincts and didn’t listen to people suggest that perhaps it was a scam or that I was being taken advantage of. We all have an energy system of intuition inside, available at all times to protect us and guide us in the right direction, hence I had no such negative or doubting thoughts.Amjed showed me that you can always achieve what you want, if you persevere and stay positive. I don’t know if I’ll meet him in the park anymore but that’s ok. Everyone comes into our lives for an unknown period of time to teach us a lesson, about life or about ourselves. I wish him all the best in his new life. X

20140524-183204.jpg

Advertisements

5 ways to create your best life

20140523-012154.jpg
I love this quote. We are here on this earth for a purpose. Some people spend their lives wondering what their purpose is whilst others never question it all. Many lose themselves in the daily routines of life and live life less purposefully than they deserve. Why do you wake up in the morning?Recent research shows that a lot of people don’t know the answer to that question. They have lost their purpose in life.

An easy way to regain this sense of purpose is to ask yourself what is your passion. What is the thing that you would do for the rest of your life never getting paid for it? What makes you so passionate that you want to share it with others in your life? It might be something creative, writing, painting, singing. It might be your family, your business. Whatever it is, it is important to acknowledge the importance of this passion in your life and enable it to expand and develop every day.

This quote makes me wonder what our world would be like if we did not impose self limitations in our lives? If we truly believed we could achieve everything we wanted? If we knew in our hearts that we encompass all the skills and knowledge that we need to succeed in making our wildest dreams a reality. We need to start believing in ourselves.

If you ask what is the speed at which a child learns to read, researchers find the average age and schools then build a curriculum that enables children to learn how to read at that average speed. Is this what we want? A world of average? Average achievements? Average abilities? We are capable of so much more than that but unfortunately we do not live in a society that encourages better than average from everyone. Certainly everyone has the innate ability to be better than average in some area of their lives. Some people have a high intellectual ability, others are more talented with their hands, some people have amazing music capabilities. And yet, we all attend the same schools, do the same exams, adhere to the same rules and standards, essentially established to create a more uniform population, an average one at that.

What would you achieve if you knew you could not fail? Positive psychology has proven that instead of attaining a certain level of success and then allowing ourselves to be happy and proud, we should, in fact, first allow ourselves to constantly experience the positive emotions of happiness and fulfilment which produces greater efficiency and hence creating more success in the area of our choosing.

Without focusing on the specific experiences that may have caused you to settle for mediocrity in your life, it is more beneficial to emphasise the ways in which we can influence positive change in our lives, to create our best lives.

1. Gratitude
Be grateful for everything in your life. If it’s 90% perfect don’t spend your time focusing on how to make that 10% better. Instead focus on all the things in your life that give you love, joy and happiness and then whatever was not quite right will come into line with what you want or maybe it just won’t be important anymore.

2. Take control
Many people live their lives believing themselves to be a victim of their circumstances. However, you only need to look at the most successful pop stars to notice that many of them had a less than charmed upbringing. You are the only person in control of your life. No one can make you feel bad without your permission. If some one is rude to you in a shop don’t let that ruin your day. If your thoughts don’t make you feel good, let go of them. Other people have no power over your thoughts and it is only your thoughts that make you happy. Take control.

3. Make time for yourself
Yes, sometimes it’s easier said than done, but it’s so important to even take 5-10 minutes a day just for yourself. This is not a time for you to write out your schedule for the day or plan tonight’s dinner, instead, this is where you switch your thoughts off, focus on your breathing, listen to calming music if you like, sit out in the sun if you can… Whatever it is, take this time to relax and know that you are worthy of it. Appreciate yourself.

4. Make goals/bucket lists/list of inspiring ideas
Life can be so hectic that we often get distracted and lose creative ideas we have or dismiss them with excuses of lack of time, money, freedom etc. Excuses are the disease of the mind to justify not following your dreams. They enable us to block out our true desires in order to save ourselves from potential disappointment (we think) but really everyone knows the biggest regrets are not the things you attempted and failed, but the things you didn’t even have the courage to try. Figure out what it is you are truly passionate about it. It is your calling. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it everyday, as a constant reminder that you are striving towards something great.

5. Positive affirmations
Every morning, before you get up, give yourself a minute to be grateful for another beautiful day. Predict the wonderful things that will happen during your day. Write out or repeat five positive statements e.g I am healthy. I am loved. If possible repeat these at intervals during the day. In physiology, the repetition of these affirmations strengthens the neural connections in the brain which makes our beliefs stronger and easier to access every day. This repetition of thought which becomes our belief system, is what influences our perception of the reality surrounding us in the physical world. Essentially, we create our beliefs which in turn changes the world we encounter, therefore, thought manifests into reality. Each day it is important we choose our thoughts carefully to create the future we truly desire.

It is my dream that we all become aware of the innate power we have within us, harness it to create positive changes and soon be living the lives of our dreams xxx

Amjed. Giving homelessness a name and a face.

Please click on this link first to watch this short video of a beautiful act of generosity.

Homeless man receives home

Having watched the video of this generous act of kindness initiated by one that dramatically changed the life of another, I was overwhelmed by emotion and a feeling deep inside me, wanting to help some one like that. It was less than an hour later , while I was sitting in the park, happily reading my book, when I was approached by Amjed. In my peripheral vision I saw him approach but I kept my head down not wanting to be disturbed. He spoke to me. I pretended not to hear. ‘Hola,’ he said again, and this time I looked up. He sat down beside me, much to my dismay and struggled to find words to communicate, not surprisingly, as Amjed is from Pakistan.

My initial reaction was to politely nod and smile and return to my book but then I saw the emotions and sadness across this strange mans face as he rambled unintelligibly and pointed to his dust covered shoes. I could see he needed some one to talk to, some one to listen, some one to be his friend so I put the book away and gave him my full attention.
Amjed, came here to Barcelona 12 days ago. I met him on the 5th day. Having lost his nice office job in Pakistan due to the company closing, he received a phone call from a fellow countryman living in Barcelona, offering him a job. With all his savings, he booked a one way flight, said goodbye to his mother and two sisters and off he went in search of a new life, one that could support him and his family in Pakistan. Upon his arrival, the number of his friend was disconnected and he has no other contact information for him and so he is alone with no friends here in Barcelona.
This exchange of information was mostly conveyed through the use of body language and hand actions as his level of English is minimal and Spanish is non existent. He showed me a photo of his family and his home in Pakistan. He explained that he has no papers to work here and despite spending all day walking around Barcelona in search of work, he is unable to find a job as he has no legal rights to work here and cannot speak Spanish. I gave him the number and address of the Pakistan embassy here which were closed for the weekend so I told him to ring on Monday, hoping that they could speak to him in Urdu, his own language and assist him in finding work. He was so grateful he cried and I hugged him. It was obvious he hadn’t had the luxury of a shower in a while but I let him hug me as long as he wanted and tried to send him calming positive energy and strength to get him through this tough time. I wanted to help so much more but felt a bit helpless so I tried convincing myself that listening to him and talking to him had already helped him feel less alone in this unfamiliar city of strangers. I gave him hope.

Almost a week later, today, I met him again in the park. He had been unsuccessful in his attempt to receive help from the embassy. I asked him would he just go back to Pakistan but he explained that there are no jobs there and he doesn’t have the money to go home. He had rang his mother to tell her there are no jobs here and she cried. He said he has walked and walked in search of a job but I understand that it is near impossible to get a job here if he doesn’t have the language skills to even ask for a job. His money ran out quickly and he is now sleeping in the park beside my apartment and a local shop is letting him keep his bag there. My heart is struggling with the sadness of his situation,wanting to help, but not sure how. I decided I would start by teaching him English and today, in his little milka chocolate notebook, we started with some greetings and the questions. He was eager to learn and picked it up quickly, although it was a little funny explaining the words I and you, while pointing to myself and then him, making him think he should use the word you for himself and I for me! We spoke (tried to) for ages and he told me he is good at bowling and he showed me a little game you play with your hands, again, reinforcing his poor background where they entertain themselves with nothing but their hands.

I spoke to a Spanish employee lawyer today, that informed me legal work rights can only be given to people who prove that they have been here illegally for three years and have integrated well into the Catalan society. What options does that leave for my poor friend Amjed? I could just appease myself with thoughts that I’ve done what I can to help and there’s nothing else I can do, but I cannot. This is a lovely man with a gentle soul, who has fallen victim to unfortunate circumstances. I have always wanted to make the world a better place and I feel that the universe orchestrated it so that our paths would cross so I can help him. He is not begging or stealing, nor has he ever asked me for anything, but I wonder how long until homelessness results in those desperate measures and will he become one of the many people I see every day searching the rubbish bins on the streets of Barcelona?

I would really appreciate any advice in how I can help or what I should do to help this man get back on his feet. I know he would work harder than anyone I know and really deserves to be helped.

To go or not to go that is the question… How to make life changing decisions.

Impromptu road trips, last minute flights to exotic destinations, spontaneous ventures into the unknown… these are familiar experiences for many young people with a free spirit and a yearning for adventure and exploration. I, myself, have had many moments like that which have blessed me with the greatest of memories. But at what point do we have to slow down in life and look for more stability, perhaps contemplate settling in one place with one person? I have been asking myself these questions recently and I’ve found there isn’t a universal answer that can be applied to everyone, we must just listen to our hearts and find our way. We each have our own destinies to fulfil, some may travel forever, some may never travel and then some just slow down when it feels right.

Two weeks ago I booked a flight back to Sydney and marvelled at how I hadn’t even considered the option until a friend suggested it. It seemed like the perfect idea, back to my friends, my favourite place and a guaranteed great time. But after a few days I noticed something was amiss. Where was the excitement , the enthusiasm and elation that usually precedes my trips to Sydney? I began to analyse the situation from every possible perspective with the dreaded fear I’d made a mistake.

During this time I tried to convince myself that my spur of the moment booking was the correct decision (Ssshh brain, I’m never wrong!!) but I still couldn’t shake the negative feelings I had, so I did what any logical person would do. I spoke to my friends over there and they convinced me it was a great idea, as I knew they would. I frequently looked at videos and photos I had taken during my last visit there, boat parties, beach parties, pool parties and not surprisingly , I began to look forward to it.

Three days to go, I packed my suitcase, said some goodbyes and while I still wasn’t totally convinced, I wasn’t allowing myself to consider the alternative. That is until, the day before the flight, when I realised that although there may be many reasons to return to Sydney my heart simply wasn’t in it. It was a difficult decision to make because my heart and my mind were in a challenging duel for many days while I helplessly spectated and waited for the eventual victor to emerge. Thankfully it was my heart.
20140415-190553.jpg<

If you’ve ever asked me for advice I’ll probably have told you not to stress or worry, the answers cannot come to a muddled mind, simply declutter your thoughts and allow your heart to tell you the way to go. But I must admit, this time I struggled with my own advice and even sought the advice of many others although this also conflicted with my firm belief that we have all the answers inside, if we quiet our minds to listen.
But here I am, still in Ireland, obviously not half way to Sydney and I know I made the right decision. I cannot say what specific reason there was to not return except that I must always follow my heart and this time it was not telling me to go to back to my beloved Sydney. Even though the bigger picture is still a mystery to me I have every faith that only good things are on my path and that if it’s meant to be I will return some day to Sydney. Until then XxX

Stay tuned to see where I end up!
20140415-190610.jpg

If life is a shopping basket, how do you fill yours?

Clothes, shoes, iPhones, go pros, the list goes on. On a daily basis we are bombarded with an assault of tantalising temptations that cleverly try to steal our attention and our hard earned money. As a reformed shopaholic myself, I am all too familiar with the lure of shiny, pink things in every shop I see. Stationary and suitcases are some of my more customised weaknesses. But what are our possessions really saying about us? I am what I have? Are we defined by our material purchases? Furthermore, does society evaluate our worthiness based on what we wear, what car we drive and what we own?

In fact, it is apparent that our own self worth is intrinsically bound to these material aspects of our lives. Indeed retail therapy is a not a new trend. A bad day in the office is often cured by a new dress or pair of shoes. Another issue with this consumer lifestyle is how it satiates our dangerously growing need for instant gratification. Attaining those desired, yet equally unnecessary purchases with a credit card,when you can’t really afford it, equals short term happiness at a very high price. We do feel better if we look good but to what extent are our experiences of happiness correlated with the accumulation of paraphanelia in our lives. Travelling is one of the best things you can do to gain perspective on this. By observing the poverty in other countries we can begin to fully appreciate how fortunate we are and also realise that life is just as satisfying only having one (pink!) suitcase of clothes to choose from.

Why is it that we are constantly seeking happiness from the environment around us when what we really should be doing is looking within? The answers to all our questions, thoughts, fears, the inspirations and ideas we need to move forward, everything we need can be found within ourselves. Fill your shopping basket with friends, activities that you enjoy, time to be alone to reflect on all the amazing gifts you are given each day and most importantly fill it with love. These are the most valuable commodities you can attain in life.

Wealth is not in possessions… but in time. It is the only thing we cannot buy. When our time is up it’s up and as most of us will not be given a warning as to when that will be, it is imperative that we make the most of now. Many of the generation x abide by the unstated law that you must work hard your whole life to enjoy a well deserved retirement. That may seem the sensible thing to do but is it the best that we can do? Considering that we can take nothing for granted, not even tomorrow, today is the most precious gift we can be given. Appreciate today. Enjoy the now. Whatever small task you are completing, do it with love and attention. Life is made of small, insignificant moments but when you appreciate each of those precious moments they become your greatest life.
20140409-120514.jpg

The girl who travels… Doesn’t need to date

The girl who travels is the happy, confident girl that lights up the room when she enters. She is accustomed to meeting new people and doesn’t find it difficult to make friends out of strangers. Because of her fun loving nature she has amazing friends all around the world. She may have brief relationships in each place she settles but her friends remain her priority. She will never want to give up a night out with her pals or go home early because you want her to.
The girl who travels is opinionated. During her travels she encounters various and diverse opinions. She will appreciate your differences but also loves a healthy debate when she feels passionately about something. She is able to speak for herself and does not need a man to speak for her.
The girl who travels is passionate about life. Her desire to make the most out of each and every day will always come first. Keeping a guy happy is second to making herself happy. It’s not selfish. She knows that you only get to do each day once and wants it to be the best possible experience it can be. Each day isn’t always full of bungee jumps and sky dives but it’s her positive attitude and perspective on the days events that turn an unexceptional day into something special.
The girl who travels likes to share her happiness with others. In her friendships and relationships she loves to make others happy and make them feel special. She can do this easily because she is always happy in herself. She doesn’t need a man in her life to ‘complete’ her. To truly live is to experience and with each new experience she is growing and completing herself. She does not need anyone else to make her feel whole.
The girl who travels is strong. At times, she enjoys the comfort of a cuddle and hug when times are tough but her true strength comes from within. Each time she overcomes a hurdle thrown at her by the inevitable mixed fortunes of life, she becomes more confident in herself and her abilities to independently conquer any problem.
Love is a core component of living and while it is common practice to look for love in others, the love of ourselves and the world around us is often overlooked. The word love refers to a feeling of respect and endearment that we humans can have for everything in existence, including ourselves. Therefore, finding someone to fall in love with is not a priority of the girl that travels as she is too busy finding love in everything that surrounds her. She loves her life, her family and her friends. She loves the experiences she has and the places she’s been. She has learned that if you love your life it will love you right back 🙂

20140407-165809.jpg

My first steps in the direction of the world

I never wanted to travel. My mum, an avid traveller, tried convincing me to go to Germany for the summer when I was 16 ( we have relatives there) but I said no, much to my fathers relief. During my teenage years I visited many European countries with my family but this still wasn’t enough to inspire and instill a longing for new surroundings and a sense of adventure in me. Summer holidays were taken in Spain, Greece, Portugal, generally a package holiday for a week or two where the only priority was to enjoy the well needed sunshine. Girlie nights out, parading ourselves down the strip ( doesn’t matter which one, different countries but they’re all intrinsically the same) getting lured into the bars and clubs with promises of free shots and 2 for 1 drinks, followed by sleeping at the hotel pool the next day, turning periodically, ensuring that important all over tan. Lather, rinse, repeat. Return home, happy to show off your colour, blissfully unaware of the beautiful towns, villages and beaches that may have been only a short walk or a bus ride away.
When I qualified as a primary teacher and had the added bonus of being paid for my summer holidays, the annual sun vacation was complemented with a trip to the States for a few weeks each summer. Sightseeing, sunshine and shopping, what more could a girl want. That was until one year, three weeks before the summer holidays, I googled ‘girls travelling alone’ and came across forums where women were discussing their experience in this subject. I was shocked at first, curious and finally emboldened. Reading that these girls could traverse the world alone I decided I could do it as well. Less than 24 hours later, I took the plunge and booked a return flight to Bangkok to depart in 3 weeks for the duration of the entire summer.
20140401-161908.jpg

That summer taught me so much about myself and stirred in me a yearning for more. I realised how much there is in the world to see, to learn, to do and that living in Ireland teaching for the rest of my life would inhibit my ability to experience all these wonderful things. Within 6 months I applied for a career break and 3 months later I embarked on, what was to be,the greatest adventure of all time… MY LIFE.
My advice to anyone who wants to travel is book a flight and just do it. Over thinking just allows time for your mind to come up with excuses, some valid, some not, but nothing should stop you following your dreams. Action speaks volumes. Take that first action in the direction of your dreams and you’ll soon find things fall into place. You only get one life, fill it with passion and adventure. Make it a journey that will live on after you’re gone, by inspiring others.

20140401-161920.jpg