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Are you exhausted? Throw yourself an end of year party for one!

Motherhood is both glorious and deeply painful. Next year my youngest starts school and it feels like my husband and I have been counting down this moment for a lifetime. 
 
My second born is only four. She thinks she is twenty-four until a crowd of people surround her and then her four-ness overwhelms and she runs back to me. 
 
Two weeks before my firstborn arrived earthside; I was made redundant from my job. A job I devoured as a young adult and matured into middle age. A position that I gave everything I had and a little more. The rude shock into motherhood took my breath away. 
 
My husband and I discussed over and over throughout our nine months of being pregnant what going back to work would be like for us all. And then that day. The day that I sat on my bosses couch eight months pregnant with no option for maternity leave, confused with what was to come next. 
 
The harsh awakening into Motherhood has been the making of me. As I tried to regather my sense of self in the midst of rolling transitions, I found a new me awakening and another me that was desperate for just one night’s sleep. 
 
Time moved slowly and my second child came to sit on my knee. A moment of promise fulfilled, a little girl, with a smile that transfixed even the most hardened heart. Throwing myself into Motherhood, I didn’t miss much from my work life anymore, except those moments of finishing well. 
 
The satisfaction of sitting at a table acknowledging the goal we had kicked together — those moments at the staff Christmas party where laughter overtook the spectacular failures and the sense that I was a part of something so much bigger than myself. 
 
I have realised as the 2018 year closes on my seventh year of Motherhood, that I miss that sense of team, reflection and the finishing out of a year well. 
 
Last week my husband and I spoke about this strange longing I had in my heart. I longed for a sense of understanding. I was looking for a moment acknowledging that another year had passed and a new day was dawning. 
 
My husband is my north and always brings a guiding hand of wisdom with the perspective he brings into my life. He looked at me with all sincerity and said: “Babes you need to throw yourself an end of the year work party.” A moment of finishing, in the midst of a motherhood journey that seems like it is never going to end. 
 
At that moment I realised this is what I already do. I just needed to allow myself the grace to celebrate another year of Motherhood done well.
 
You see; Motherhood is a deep privilege to me. I stand at the school gate, very much older than the other Mums around me. I didn’t give birth to my first child until 36 years of age. Every year until that day of promise fulfilled had been a year, where I wondered whether it was even possible. 
 
When I was 27, I sat on my bed, desperately overwhelmed at the state of my singleness and barren womb. As I sat there in the beginnings of summer, I wrote a list of things that I wanted to do before going to heaven — Seventy-Five, random and dreamy thoughts, to bring a sense of fulfilment into this season of waiting. Of those seventy-five things, one of them was to be married and the other to give birth to a child. The other 73 things were wild, brilliant and so very stretching. 
 
I went off on my merry way, and as Summer turned into a New Year, I started a tradition that has held me so secure in the crazy transition from being single to married, from mother into Mum of two. Each New Year I sat with the beauty of the season and asked myself a series of questions to help me let go of the old and step into the new. I have now asked myself the same series of questions for the last 15 years. 
 
Questions like:
 
What is my character? 
Who am I?
Who is my community?
What is my contribution?
 
Helping set a context for the year that is to come and the life that I am living that is so very ordinary and daily. 
 
If my 42-year-old self, could saying anything to my 27-year-old self I would say this; “Thank you for taking the time to create a ritual that would hold you steady in a season of intense challenge and change.” 
 
I realised at that moment with my husband that the party I had been looking for, was a moment of silence and reflection in a very loud life with two small children. 
 
A couple of moments to celebrate the silent victories, those moments that no one would ever know about when I surrendered my will again and stood completely humbled in the midst of a shopping centre meltdown. Those times when I disciplined my child with kindness, to grow an amazing citizen of the world, even though saying no, was the hardest decision I have ever made.  
 
Here is how I throw myself an end of year work party and retreat for a few hours to find perspective in the never-ending workload that is the task of a Mother. 
 
Each New Year, I find a cafe. 
Each New Year, I get a babysitter.
Each New Year, I buy myself a lovely drink.
Each New Year, I ask myself a series of questions and allow myself the space to find the answers. 
Each New Year, I celebrate the wins, and I acknowledge the losses. 
Each New Year, I throw myself a little end of year party by myself. 
 
Over the years I have created this little downloadable tool, to help you have an end of year process and review. To find yourself in the midst of this season of giving endlessly to others. An opportunity as a Mother to find your vision again, within your role as a Mother but also as a daughter, an artist, a dream maker, a partner, a creator and friend.
 
When was the last time, you took a couple of hours to write, find vision and let go of the year that has passed?
 
This coming New Year season, in the aftermath of Christmas and the burgeoning promise of a new year beginning, why don’t you throw yourself an end of year party by yourself or with your closest friends and allow yourself the sheer beauty of finishing what has been a crazy but beautiful year. 
 
Sometimes being a Mum is just hard and it’s not because you are doing anything wrong. It is one of the hardest jobs of all. And we need to take the time, to ask for what we need. 
 
This year I am looking forward to my end of year work party of one. 
 
How about you?
How do you celebrate the closing of another year and the awakening of another?
You are all my heroes, the Mums in the trenches, facing another spilt drink, a tantrum at the checkout and one more request for a drink at bedtime.
DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY TODAY FOR $16.95 and just let go of 2018.
 
Amanda Viviers
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5 steps to find clarity and to reset

How is the middle of the year treating you?

I know the months between May and August can trip me up with confusion and lack of clarity.

There is a part of my heart that knows I don’t have to wait till Monday to begin again. I also know that failure is a big part of living a life on purpose. However, we all need reminders that every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath, reset and begin again.

I was sitting with a colleague yesterday, and she was telling  me that her email box, was sending her messages “Warning, Warning, your email box is blocked because it has too many messages.”

I smiled because it felt like my mind right at that present moment. Warning alarms were telling me it was time to reset. I said to her quietly, “First of all you need to arrange your email box in such a way that all the emails with attachments come to the top of your inbox. Secondly, you need to delete all of the emails. Thirdly, turn your computer off and restart it again.”

Our hearts, lives and especially minds can get full of extra attachments, and we need to find a way to reboot, to begin again.

Here are five ways that you can do an internal reset to find clarity

How hopeful do you feel?

Hope is something straightforward, but it can change everything. When our mind overloads, it can be difficult to find hope. One of my favourite proverbs says this;

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick” Proverbs 13:12

We all have a little hope in our hearts. Even that small voice that says “go on you should try again”. Maybe hope frustrates us because we have tried over and over. With failure and unmet expectations. As you retreat this winter with these reset pages, allow hope again to arise. Remind yourself of how you have grown with renewed hope.

How does faith impact your decisions?

Faith is the capacity to believe that there is help outside of your self. It’s not that popular to talk about faith these days, but my faith that there is a plan beyond my perspective. That there is an opportunity to partner with greater power, that I believe is good and cares for my journey, changes everything. The partnership of purpose impacts everything decision I make. How does faith impact your decisions? Do you believe that everything is meaningless? Do you struggle to find meaning in the midst of adversity?

As you retreat this winter with these reset pages, allow faith to inform your decisions and see whether clarity comes again.

What gratitude practise do you have in your daily routine?

Gratitude changes everything. When we acknowledge what is going right in our lives, even though we may not see the significant changes we are looking for, you are more capable of seeing change come. As a family, we try to do “High Points and Low Points” over each meal we have around our table. Our three-year-old is learning to acknowledge the little things, which build gratitude into her daily framework. One of the activities from the reset pages is to celebrate what small things you have achieved this year so far. Failure tries to trick us into thinking we haven’t moved at all, when sometimes the goal posts just shift. Take the time this winter to reset, and one great way you can do this is by creating a gratitude practice.

Who can you be kind to this week?

Generosity and kindness change us. We may think that it is about the person receiving the gift, the encouragement or the opportunity but it changes us. If you are in a mid-year slump, why don’t you make a plan of action to be kind to someone? As you extend your hand of generosity to another, it grows you. Every single time we encourage someone, it will always bring back life and courage to our own. Every time we are kind, instead of mean-spirited it changes us and brings all those good pheromones. What if you were kind today? As you retreat and take the time to reset this July, this is an act of kindness to ourselves.

What area do I need to step out in courage?

As we move towards the end of another year, we all know there are areas that we need to move forward with courage in. Those big, crazy goals, that remain unfulfilled. When we move forward with courage, there is something profound that happens in us. It is like a light of deep satisfaction goes on and warms our heart from inside. Courage brings great satisfaction. Although fear tells us we cant. Courage tells us we can. Write a list of things that you need to do with courage this July. Take the time to find perspective with this reset daybook.

Who is ready for an internal reboot?

Tell me when you are going to retreat below…

I’d love to follow your story and revelations through this hashtag #resetdaybook

Happy Days creative truth seekers.

Amanda

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How to live a more satisfied 2018

How to live a more satisfied life

We are right on the precipice of a New Year and as 2018 comes to fruition, there is something very powerful about setting intentions and goals. We all understand the hope of a New Year, that is why we count down the evening, we accept invitations to friends parties and we hope tomorrow will be better. Unfortunately though, where we get stuck is dealing with the disappointment when life doesn’t go the way we planned.

Failure often holds us captive and we routinely blame it on unmet expectations. Living a deeply satisfied life often is coupled with living a life of intention. It is true that when you hope for something and it doesn’t plan out the way we expect it can be filled with resentment and disappointment, but living a life where we don’t review, let go and plan also asks that we surrender to monotony and apathy.

This year, what if you allowed yourself to dream again?

This year, what if you learnt lessons through failure rather than trapped by it?

This year, what if you accepted that places of your life that bring you unhappiness and acknowledge that is a very normal part of everyday life?

I have created a pro forma to help you write and let go this New Year. It is called New Days and it is available to download directly to your inbox, to print out and retreat this New Year. $9.95 AU, direct download available.

Happy New Year

Amanda Viviers

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ten ways that I am stopping multitasking this year and getting more done.

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Focus for 2017.

Multitasking does not work. I think year after year I have tried to convince myself, if I just keep running, doing and juggling that I will be able to tick off my never ending task list. Maybe turning 40 was the catalyst and some really honest conversations with friends and mentors, but I have come to a very firm decision for 2017, that multitasking must go.

I think one of the greatest lies I have been telling myself as a Mum is that I can have it all. Just keep moving, just keep juggling and it will someday fall into place.

How are you going with your productivity?

Do you try to juggle ten things at once and give up on the couch with NetFlix?

This year I am wanting to achieve some pretty massive goals. Including losing weight, growing my writing skills and platform, selling books and writing three more. You may read all of this and think I am crazy but none of these will be achieved if I keep on juggling the never-ending task list. I have decided to stop multitasking and grow my capacity to focus.

TEN WAYS I AM STOPPING MULTITASKING

I am writing a task list on one piece of paper.

Do you have a pile of unfinished journals on your bedside table? Are you running four different notes on your phone with random scratchings of to do? I am learning to write something down on a piece of paper and to step away from technology, has been helping me refocus and move through my list with clarity. This task list has a domestic list, it has a to do list and it also breaks my day into AM, NOON and PM. The details of my day are emptied on here and I keep the same piece of paper until everything required has been followed through.

I am bringing intention to my yes and no.

As a people pleaser, it is easier sometimes for me to say yes, rather than my gut instinct of no. In the initial stages of conversation around adding something to my to-do list, I am learning to ask more questions. When the conversation begins to add something to my schedule, I ask more questions. I am also learning to focus on what is in my present, spending more time thinking about today and less about tomorrow. I take time in as season to reflect and dream about tomorrow, but I take the bigger goals and chunk them down to my present.

I am looking at ways to combine all my communication methods.

One of the most distracting parts of my life is the never-ending contact methods that are now open to us all. Over the last week, I have been looking into ways to combine all of these together. I am also asking people to contact me via email for work communication and personally I am prioritising phone conversations over texts back and forward. My closest friends have this new method of conversation it is called the5-minutee power catch up. We ring each other and sing 5 mins. We do a power catch up and have a great chat and then when a phone call is coming in, we know it is not going to be epic.

I am designing a weekly schedule that includes space and time for nothing.

I have spent a lot of my holiday period, looking at what my weekly schedule looks like. Across my week, I have allocated time for writing, time for exercise, one on one time with each of my children and home time. I love to spend time with women working on these tools in my solo one on one retreats. Taking time to create space and form to our weekly schedules. Writing them down somewhere really visible and re-visiting them often across our year.

I am taking one day each week to be phone free.

Every Sunday I am leaving my phone in our charging cupboard. We have a cupboard now in our lounge room, that technology gets placed in each night and also on Sundays. I want to be a Sabbath seeker. Where Saturday night I place my phone away and don’t come back to it till Monday morning. It is not a rigid religious rule, it is reminding myself who is in charge of technology. Technology does not rule my life and it needs to be put in its place. I believe we have become very unfocused as a culture. Where we are flitting from one thing to the next and if it doesn’t please us or interest us, we move onto the next. It would be interesting to see in the comments below, how many people read this whole article and how many I have lost already? Yes, this is dependent on my writing skills, but also it is a massive statement about how much we multitask. Rushing from one thing to the next. We have become terrible at waiting, always switching our attention from one thing to the next. My technology sabbath is helping me reframe my attention span.

I am listening to an audiobook each month.

Podcasts are not my strength, for no other reason than I struggle to listen to it and stay focussed. We can train our brains, however. Just like our bodies can be strengthened through muscle memory, so can our brains be taught to focus on one thing at a time. When I slow myself down and begin to give my attention to one thing, it grows my capacity and memory for other parts of my life. Audio books often go for ten hours or more, so I am learning to reinvent that space in my mind. Local libraries have an amazing selection of books and Audible is an amazing tool especially for those who travel in the car often.

I have turned all notifications off on social media.

I often have my phone on silent and when I am having a conversation especially in a cafe with a client or friend I turn my phone over or off. I am not sure when we all started believing that we should answer every social media comment or notification twenty to fifty times a day, but notifications are distracting and unproductive. I do not allow notifications to come onto my front screen and I do not allow my online space to interrupt my social face to face interactions. In fact, I am prioritising face to face, coffee catch ups, over long winded back and forwards online. I often say, can we facetime or skype about this, or why don’t you email me and book a catch-up.

I knit each evening.

I sound like a total Nanna but the best part about crafting like knitting is it is not my work. Creative people need an expression that is outside of their workspace to create a muse in their life. If everything you do is so focussed on performance and producing, then you will easily jump from one thing to the next, multitasking and which makes me loose the strength in what you do. An inspired worker is a productive worker. If you find yourself at an inspiration dead end, then maybe you need to explore a creative pursuit that requires your focus to develop a new skill, but one that is not based on performance and evaluation.

I am trying to truly listen to conversations rather than spending time working out how to respond.

We have all been there, in the midst of a conversation and we realise that we have no idea what the person is talking about. In the past, I have been obsessed with trying to find my voice, that often I spend time talking to understand what I am truly trying to say. I am trying to learn to be a better listener. To stop interrupting people and to breathe in the moment. Before I answer to ask questions so I really am able to stop myself from speaking from a place of what I think people have said, rather than truly hearing what they are saying. Slowing myself down. Training to listen more.

I am trying to remember to ask for help.

Lastly but far from least is I am trying to remind myself that I do not need to do everything perfectly or alone. When I feel overwhelmed I am learning to ask for help. One thing I have done for a long time, is I never go to a speaking appointment by myself. I ask a friend to come along and in those vulnerable places where I am unsure and don’t feel enough, I share the load with someone who understands. When I share the load, my focus returns and I remember the greatest privilege of life is who I do it with, not what I achieve.

Would you like to bring more focus into your 2017?

How are you bringing more intention to your everyday?

I’d love to spend time with you working on this and other life projects with my one on one-day retreats or my yearly mentoring packages. Click over and read more. Let’s continue to encourage one another in doing good.

Happy Days

Amanda Marie

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You are being robbed every single day.

Little by little, if our happiness, sense of contribution, identity and joy could be stored in one little bank account, we would see withdrawals every single day. My dear soul searching friend, you are being robbed every single day.

We are being robbed every, single time we compare our life, our walk, our possessions and our relationships with anyone. We live in a society that thrives on comparing lives to one another. The media thrives on it, businesses milk it and politics manipulate it. If we can just have what she is having, then maybe my happiness bank will be overflowing.

Stop,

No,

Recalibrate.

Every time you compare your life to someone else, you loose. Every time. It is never a motivating force that brings blessing into your life, it is a negative drain, that sucks beauty, peace and life right out of your today.

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Here are some simple thoughts that will help you stop comparing your life and find your own purpose.

  1. Every story is unique; We all have a unique path and purpose. Your story is just that. It is yours. No one else can bring together your gifts, your seasons, your disappointments, your lessons and your ways. No one, not your sister, not your friend, not your Mum, not your boss. Full stop. You have a path of lessons and opportunities that are yours alone to follow. When we celebrate our own journey and release others to live their own, then the snare of comparison becomes less overwhelming.
  2. Your voice is important; Your thoughts, your opinions, your ideas and your dreams are important. They are no more or less important than anyone else in your world. When we compare our lives, ideas, businesses and thoughts to others we often fall into two difficult life spaces. One space is copying. We spend our days trying to sound, look like and express ourselves like the person we have attached our happiness too. The problem is whenever you try to be someone else, you will always be a phony. No matter how well you pull it off, one day that sound is gonna sound fake, dissatisfying and oh so disappointing. OR you become entitled. An entitled person sounds a lot like a spoilt two-year-old. A person who thinks their voice, their sound, their ideas or their life is more important than someone else’s. You, my friend, sound like a jerk. Entitlement is one of the worst sounds on this planet. A voice that is entitled sounds kind of like a shriek. Like nails scraping down a blackboard. You end up thinking the world owes you a favour and your comparison is judgemental and full of decay.
  3. Celebrate your sister; Seriously when one of us wins, we all win. By laughing, gossiping and pulling another sister down, you will always loose. The people that are with you will not trust you and you will walk away at some point and reap the rewards of your bitchfest. The best way to combat comparison is to live a life that rises above and celebrates another in the midst of victory. I promise you, my friends there is enough room for every person and their purpose on this planet. The room is not physical, it is a spiritual place. A place that brings purpose for every single person. Celebrate your sister. Celebrate your friend. Heck, celebrate your enemy. There is enough room.
  4. Find your path; What is your path? What is your purpose on this planet? I promise you if you spend your hours developing your purpose and leaning into what is destined for your own unique life, you will not have time to compare yours to another. When you find your path, when you walk it, when you explore it, when you devour it, your life becomes so full, that you cannot fathom the thought of wishing you had someone else’s life. You thrive in your own lane. You run, you stretch, you discover and you blossom. Find your lane and run. Don’t look to the left or the right, train, stretch and keep on running.
  5. Your progress is profound; Often when someone encourages me in an area that I have progressed in, I am the first to minimise their feedback. “Oh no, please don’t”. We duck, dive and cover all in an attempt to seem somewhat humble. When someone tells you-you have grown, you have had a victory, you are changing or you are doing a good job. Do one simple thing. A short simple thing. Don’t justify, don’t tell them that they are wrong, do this, say thank you. Full stop. Thankyou. Accept the acknowledgement that you are progressing. Tell yourself little heart that you are changing, growing and having a big fat go and say thank you. Honestly, your progress is profound and my friend celebrating it, will not give you a fat head. Your progress is a profound place of combating comparison.
  6. Cultivate Gratitude for your place, season and today; Your today is precious. There is something so fragile about today. I believe this because I totally know there are seeds in your today, that have a purpose for your tomorrow. And every single time we compare ourselves to someone’s today, it is like we rip out the seeds planted in our today for our tomorrow. Your seeds in your today need to be watered, cared for and nutured so they can grow in  your tomorrow. When we are grateful for the seeds in our today, they grow. When we compare their progress to someone else’s we rip them out of the ground and stunt their growth. Gratitude is the greatest fertiliser for your tomorrow.

Every time we compare our today to someone else’s we are robbing ourselves of our tomorrow.

Every single time.

Speak again tomorrow,

Amanda