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susanroseblog.com ~ communication. connection. creation.

Self-Care on a Budget

So many of us are overwhelmed by the stresses of life. We are stressed because we work too hard or we don’t have work. We are stressed because we have bills to pay, we are time poor, we get anxious about our future or we are holding on to the past. We are stressed because the life we have is not the life we wished for. We get stressed because we are fixated on a body image out of our grasp. We get stressed because of our living and or working environments. We get stressed because of our inability to communicate clearly. We get stressed because we are taken for granted. Crikey! The pressure we place on ourselves can, at times, be overwhelming.

I see countless options available for retreats and self-help courses, programmes designed to help us get balanced, live our lives to the greatest potential and take charge of our well-being. No doubt these are fablue-blue-bluentastic options for those with a healthy bank account, as all have a price tag attached. But where is the help for those living on an already stretched budget? The help for people who are unhappy with their present circumstances but are in no position to be able to pay for specialised services? It seems many of the services and courses available are only accessible to those who have both the time and money to utilise them.

So I have been inspired to share some Self-Care tips which are accessible to everyone, no matter what your income level is. Universal and simple ideas that will help to restore your mind, body and soul so you can remove a little stress from, and add in a little happiness to, your life.

ONE ~ REST

The Cult of Busy is taking its toll. The perceived need to always be doing something, anything, to fill in the minutes of the day. That somehow we are being measured and judged by the amount of tcandle-light-lovehings we ‘must’ do. Whether it be work, exercise, cleaning the house, checking emails and social media, socialising….. the pressure to race against the clock becomes all consuming. We feel inadequate when we are idle, as if we are doing something wrong.

One of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves, that costs nothing, is simply to stop. Take five minutes once or twice a day (more if you able) to notice your surroundings. Breathe deeply. Appreciate the moment. Allow your thoughts to come and go without acting on any one of them. Yes, you have deadlines, you have lists to work through and people who are relying on you. You may be feeling depressed, overwhelmed, unsure and battling with self-esteem issues. Give yourself a break. Literally. Be gentle with yourself, even in those few moments. Give yourself permission to stop. The more you practise the easier it becomes, until the process becomes second nature. Your body, mind and soul will love you for it.

TWO ~ PASSION

Can you remember the last time you were truly passionate about something? For some of us those moments were when we were children. Carefree, full of life, full of hope. I know that not all childhoods were easy, many of us had great struggles, but there was a time as-above-so-belowwhen we were all able to feel excited about the simplest of activities, throw ourselves into make-believe, smile and laugh about the silliest things. That’s the feeling we should try to tap into to bring our passions to life.

My passions are writing, taking photographs of nature, going on road trips, sharing my joy and being honest with my vulnerability. I still love to climb trees and swim in rivers and the ocean. I have recently found that I love baking which has been a delightful surprise. These are the things that bring me the most pleasure. We each have something that we absolutely love doing and feel empty or lost when we don’t find time to enjoy or to express them.

Finding your passion when we have lost sight of it is tied into #ONE….. it is only when we stop, give our minds a rest, let go of the racing thoughts, that we can remember what gives us the greatest joy.

Your passion doesn’t have to cost a penny, but setting a little time aside regularly to indulge in it will give you a huge return on your investment.

THREE ~ BE SELFISH

This is something I have struggled with for years. The idea that it is wrong to put your needs first. If we don’t, at least on occasion, how can we truly find happiness? From my experience and the experiences of others, I now see that by constantly putting others first you simply end up being taken for granted at best and at worst feeling bitter.

water-is-life
The Stream doesn’t ask permission to flow. Neither should you.

So be brave. Make decisions that will make you happy. Don’t allow others to dictate what you should be doing. Don’t give in to the demands of others. For people pleasers this is incredibly hard. You want people to like you. You don’t want to rock the boat. It seems easier to go along with the wishes and needs of others. Well how about I tell you that your needs are just as important as the needs of those around you? That you taking control of what you want to experience will bring happiness not just to your life, but to those around you as well. How do I know? I’ve lived this people pleasing paradigm, and I have transitioned from being the people pleaser to a Susan pleaser….

I am not advocating being cruel, simply promoting the idea that you are worth putting yourself first every now and again. And the paradox? When we are selfish, we become kinder and more compassionate and we gain the respect of those who truly matter to us.

One of THE most powerful things about being selfish is that we step into taking full responsibility for our own lives. We stop blaming others for our situations and we recognise that our choices take us on our path to Self-Care. We may not make the right choices, but we learn that we can find our OWN solutions to problems that arise. This is a daunting reality, but if we want true happiness, no matter what our circumstance, then we must embrace it as truth.

BEING SELFISH is intrinsincly to #TWO and to #ONE…… Be Selfish, Indulge in your Passions, and Rest when you NEED to.

I guarantee you will have more energy, time and love to give to others if you do.

FOUR ~ AFFIRMATIONS

Go on. I dare you. Say something positive about yourself. For many people this is easy, but for others? It’s like getting blood out of a stone, painfully difficult. We have to learn to be our own biggest, most consistent cheerleader. Again, my own experiences have taught me this. Putting yourself down, being hyper critical and being self-negating reinforces thought patterns which strip us of joy. Pure and simple. And we can’t rely on others to do the cheerleading for us, though it is wonderful to have others in our corner rallying us on.

bw-beauty
Like the rolling waves we are rhythms of beauty

Changing the “I can’t” to “I can” is so very powerful. Yes, we have to dig deep to find the courage to recognise our strengths at times, but dig we must. Many of us have lived lives of not feeling that we are enough. But what is this ‘enough’ we have engrained within us? It is an imaginary and impossible goal we have set to diminish our true worth. It is never too late to change our internal measure of self.

 

Some of us may need to vocalise our affirmations, others only need to think them, and some may need to write the words. It’s about finding the method that works for you.

Simple starter phrases can be:

I can do ……

I am capable of……

I love doing……..

I feel good when I…….

Affirmations can be applied to oneself as well as to others. As we raise another up we shift our energy to one which is positive and life affirming. It takes practice and repetition, but we are all capable of changing our thought processes, and as our thoughts transform so does our life.

Affirmations are linked to #ONE, #TWO and #THREE…… As we REST we can focus on our strengths, as we live with PASSION we tap into all amazing things we are capable of, and as we practice SELFISHNESS we allow our minds to remember that we are of great value.

FIVE ~ GRATITUDE

This one can be so very tough when we are struggling with self-doubt, when we feel that the world is against us. Believe me, as someone who has lost jobs, lost long term relationships, friendships and self-worth along the way, I know how difficult it is to remember the positive effects that practicing Gratitude brings. At times we get so bogged down we forget that there is anything to be grateful for. When I do remember, my life changes. For the better. Each and every time.

evening-tide
I offer my GRATITUDE to be able to witness such beauty

Much like AFFIRMATIONS, we must all find our own way of expressing GRATITUDE. Some like to wake each morning and offer thanks for a new day. Some like to look to the stars, the sun or moon and take in the awesomeness of the skies above, some pray and give thanks to their creator, some simply say thank you for a kindness shown. GRATITUDE allows us to be humbled by the smallest gestures, gives us reason to be kind to others and makes us realise that everything and everyone is connected to everything and everyone.

If you have clothes on your back, be grateful to all who had a hand in making those clothes, if you have food to eat, be grateful to the land that nurtured the seeds that nurtured to ingredients to fill your tummy, if you are sad be grateful for the Facebook meme that brought a smile to your face. Gratitude is about paying attention to the smallest things we so often take for granted, and ultimately it is about remembering how precious life is.

I am GRATEFUL for the opportunities to REST, indulge in my PASSIONS, to be SELFISH and to AFFIRM the great things about myself, others and our natural world.

Please take the time to practice some SELF-CARE. I can’t tell you how much you are worth it. X.

 

 

 

 

Why I Love My Home

Oh Papamoa…. How I love you.

If you are planning a trip to New Zealand from overseas or simply want to see more of New Zealand if you are already lucky enough to live there, then Papamoa Beach, located in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty, should be high on your list of must visits.

The coastline of Papamoa Beach is one of the most spectacular in the whole country. White sand stretching for miles, views to Mount Maunganui, Motiti Island, White Island’s plumes of volcanic smoke on a clear day through to the curve of the land near Maketu make simply walking along this beach an incredible experience.

The beach is popular with surfers, fisherman, kite surfers, paddle boarders, body boarders and swimmers alike. Often you will see dolphins just off the coastline. Orca and sharks are also spotted depending on the season (they like to chase the stingray which are a staple in their diet).

Summer time at Papamoa Beach is amazing. Warm ocean waters combined with blue skies and sunshine make it the perfect holiday destination. But the other seasons hold something possibly even more magical. At many times of the year you can walk along this beach and see absolutely no one. Imagine having a beach to yourself as you breathe in the fresh sea air and gaze out toward such a beautiful ocean scape.

This part of New Zealand has been one of the fastest growing suburban areas since the early 1980s. The city of Tauranga was well know as a popular destination for retirees, but now the whole region is alive with families with young children, entrepeneurs, tertiary students, blue and white collar workers and those involved in a wide range of agriculture.

When you visit this area you are spoilt for choice with a range of activities in easy driving distance. If you love walking there are countless well developed tracks in the local hills and bush. You can walk around, or for the more physically able, up, the iconic Mt Maunganui. If you are lucky you can see seals and little penguins and a whole raft of native birds as you walk around this gorgeous natural treasure that joins the wild Main Beach to calm Pilot Bay. There are waterfalls to be found and lakes (man made and natural), heritage sites, museums and farm visits to enjoy. And of course there are surfing lessons galore for those who are young and young at heart.

There is fine dining, great cafes, markets galore, upmarking shopping and trendy recycled boutiques for those who love to grab a stylish bargain. Accomodation options are huge. From 5 Star Hotels and Apartment complexes, B&Bs, camp grounds, self contained houses and areas for freedom camper/travellers as well. No matter what your budget is there will be accomodation to suit.

Once you visit Papamoa Beach and the surrounding areas you will soon realise why I love this place I call home. I am truly one of the very lucky ones to have to be able to say postcode 3118 is mine.

 

 

 

 

A Meditation on Loneliness

In all honesty I don’t know where this blog will go….. I am simply going to write my thoughts as truthfully as I can. If these words resonate with you, I thank you.

A few months ago I moved to a new town, and I had such high hopes that amazing things were going to happen. I have always loved this area, had lived here before and had always harboured the desire to come back. I felt so blessed to have the opportunity to return and had such a positive outlook to life when we moved.

Amazing things have happened. My children are settled and very happy as they share their time with my ex-husband and myself, and both are enjoying school in ways they never did previously. We live in a child friendly neighbourhood and I started to focus on continuing to establish a content writing business, which I had begun in our previous city. I was certain I was going to succeed in all areas of my life. Family, work, friendships.

It is the latter I want to write about. Friendships. Although I have no issue with spending time alone, loneliness has recently become my companion. It’s a hard thing to admit, not only to yourself but to the others. But admit it I must. How can I move forward if I am not brutally honest? I have been desperately lonely and I have struggled with motivation as I have found it hard to connect with others. I like to raise others up, and have found that it has been me who has needed raising recently, and I simply haven’t been able to do that for myself.

How can this paradigm of loneliness change to create a sense of community that I believe everyone needs to thrive?

As I have looked deeply into the mirror of self-reflection I see that when I most need to reach out to others, I have withdrawn. I have judged harshly instead of supporting others to be their authentic selves. But mostly I have judged myself as being unworthy of deep and abiding friendships. Years of being hurt by those who I have trusted have taken their toll. I know that I have also hurt others too. As I learn to forgive I hope to be forgiven too.

I have touched the very parts of myself I haven’t wanted to truly recognise. And I have seen the parts of myself that need nurturing into wholeness.

I do believe that being lonely can lead to an inner strength that you have no idea exists. I do believe it can lead to being more compassionate of others as you can relate to struggles with a huge depth of feeling. And I believe it can lead to being truly grateful for all that life offers in ways unimaginable. I love seeing others happy and succeeding. I love having random conversations with strangers. I love witnessing others smiling and thriving. I love the time I get to spend with my children and the occasions I have with my extended blood family. And I am deeply grateful for the love I receive from those who have stayed by my side, even if they do not live close to me, via the telephone and social media.

One thing I have learnt within this loneliest of times is that you truly have to be your own best friend. You have to love exactly who you are and shine your light within, as well as outwardly. You have to embrace all of your being, even those bits that make you cringe. You have to stop negative self talk and replace wounding words those of kind assurance. I have been hiding under a cloud of shame, the shame of being lonely, but I now reach up to the light and break through those clouds as I express my feelings through these words as I name this deep fear.

New beginnings do come from painful endings. Sometimes those new beginnings can also be full of pain too. I have faith that this phase will pass. I will meet new people, create networks and become a great friend to others. I’m sure my Tribe is out there, just waiting for me to connect. I will continue to reach out, help others where I can, and have the hope that it is never too late to change the story of our lives.

My wish is to thrive. To succeed in those areas of life that will bring the most good. So, here’s to Friendships. Family. Fulfilling work. Kind regard. Being brave and getting out of the bubble of loneliness. And ultimately, here’s to unconditional love for self and others.

Compassion and Kindness

I’ve been thinking a lot about the world at large, getting lost in the social media posts on all that is negative, cruel and unjust. Too many dark moments of humans making decisions to hurt others and the environment to list. I certainly don’t need to shine a spotlight on the atrocities as they are plain to see as we scroll through our newsfeeds.

I have always believed that no matter where we are from and what we may look like on the surface, that we are all deeply connected. No matter the creation story we ascribe to, we know that somewhere in our collective history we are connected by virtue of sharing this earth with everything else that lives and breathes, indeed with everything that doesn’t. In the here and now we are connected by the simple facts that we are all present on this planet which is miraculously suspended in the universe.

But the thing that truly connects us? The kindness and compassion that millions of people act upon every single day. The encouraging word, the sharing of food, the unity shown in the face of disaster and the truthful voice rising up to support the downtrodden. Most of all, taking the revolutionary act of self love is the kindest and most compassionate stand we can take. Connecting with ourselves in the deepest and most profound ways. Recognising our own humanity so we can recognise the humanity of others. When we truly see ourselves as deserving of such love, we can begin to see that we ALL are deserving of such compassion. We are all flawed, we have all made mistakes, we have all said or done things which have caused harm. Will these actions forever define us? Or can we find it in ourselves to deeply forgive those own parts in the stories of life that we have woven? Then, and only then, can we then see that we must forgive those whose actions hurt us.

I see the problems that face us all as a global community are grounded in fear. Fear of the ‘other’, fear of loss of some perceived entitlement, fear of women, fear of men, fear of change, fear of abandonment. And what is on the other side of fear? Love. It is love. Now is the time to love as deeply as possible, whenever possible, however possible. Love of self, family, friends, the environment, justice and the love of life itself. And with love, gratitude must take its rightful place. We can’t get stuck in the cycles of fear, though I realise this is written without the spectre of bombs reigning down over my head or rubber bullets being fired at me because I am standing up for basic rights to clean water and the protection of ancestral lands. So yes, I have so much to be grateful for.

In the face of the most brutal injustice I believe humanity has a chance to shine like never before. With acts of kindness, compassion and love. Give in to the greater good. The alternative is simply to brutal to contemplate.

Love hard. Love deep. Love with everything you have got. That’s my plan of attack.What’s yours?

 

 

 

 

p o e t r y 

​sometimes I withdraw 

to gather my soul 

solitude my haven 

sleep my salve 

it may not please you 

when my tongue is still 

but the beauty in this silence 

brings such peace and grace 

feeling complete and strong 

connected to all 

and to all, my love

Travelling in New Zealand

Many years ago, not long after my family had emigrated from the UK to New Zealand, there were some very clever ads on tv which used “Don’t leave home till you’ve see the country”. These ads were aimed at the youth market who were leaving New Zealand in droves to embark on their great OE (Overseas Experience). I remember laughing at the ad as it showed off New Zealand’s landscape treasures. And my entire time in New Zealand since has been made up of experiences which have allowed me to truly see the country.

thames1
Thames, Coromandel, NZ, Aotearoa

Recently I had a wonderful opportunity to join a friend on a brief road trip from Auckland to Papamoa Beach, via Auckland City, Howick, Royal Oak, Titirangi, New Lynn, Pukekohe, Thames, Whangamata, Waihi, Tauranga and finishing at my home. I was along for the ride as a passenger at the mercy of my friend’s agenda to travel to visit family and stockists of his work (watch out soon for Global Gypsy’s new Shopify site and web content).

I am so grateful that not only did I get to spend some time with a person who is both thoughtful and thoughtprovoking, I had the pleasure of being able to gaze out to the country and soak it all in. I visited unique conscious driven shops owned by people who are creating portals for the sale of wholesome goods, I have been welcomed to join in conversations with incredible beings as we travelled and I have marvelled in the miraculous New Zealand Landscape. Only a few short days filled with rich experiences. Enough memories to last a life time.

Because that is what travel is. As we journey we create memories. We imprint a moment in time on our minds and hearts. We seek adventure and we find a little bit more of ourself reflected back to us, either in the country or the people we encounter.

karangahakebusview
Karangahake Gorge, NZ, Aotearoa.

As we witness we are witnessed. And we get the chance to be amazed that there are others living in a different part of the country (or indeed, the world) who resonate with us at a level that brings us joy.

whangamata1
Whangamata, NZ, Aotearoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It takes a certain kind of courage to travel. Whether you are leaving your birth country to adventures unknown, or simply taken the decision to leave home base, there is an element of risk involved. Pushing the limits of your comfort zone to be able to embrace experiences you can’t yet imagine.

travelling-feet
travelling feet. author’s own.

Are you willing to forgo aspects of your constructed self to allow for the great possibilities that are awaiting you? You don’t need to travel half way around the world to embrace these possibilities. A road trip, a few pit stops and an open mind may take you further into this glorious adventure called life if you simply take the first step.

 

On Being a Professional Content Writer

Writing is a creative art, no matter what genre it expresses. It is an art that I truly embrace and I work on my craft to improve my form and structure all the time. A constant process of thoughts turning into words on a page or computer screen, the critical reflection and then refinement.

When people ask me what I do, I reply “I’m a writer”. Their eyes light up and ask me “Oh! You write books?””No”, I reply, “I am a content writer.” And that is when that sparkle in their eyes fades and a blank look replaces it.

Yes, I’m a content writer, a communicator, and a bloody good one. Professionally there is nothing more satisfying than getting a brief from a client, usually about a topic I have been up to that point unfamiliar with, and given the freedom to research and then create a piece of writing that flows from the page and into the minds of the reader with an ease of understanding.

What makes me a great writer? I take the time needed to listen to a client, I ask questions, I gain a sense of what the desired message is and then I act as a conduit to produce a piece of work that the client would have written themselves if they had the time, motivation or skill base. Yes, I have my own style that is woven into the fabric of the piece, but this is not the dominant feature of writing that I have created. It is more of an essence, or the lightest imprint.

In my career as a content writer I have had the pleasure of writing for national and international tourism websites, articles on banking and home ownership, blogs and white papers on online marketing strategies, complete website content (both from the ground up and refreshing and refining existing content) and blogs about education. I’ve also helped others with research for funding applications, created travel itineraries and guided career seekers with creating outstanding CVs. I am now excited to have the opportunities to support local business promote their goods and services with the use of beautifully crafted words and have the prospect of helping an author with editing her novel in progress.

So, dear readers, I am a writer. A content writer. And a very very good one indeed.

 

Knowledge is Power

In the world of information at our fingertips and an overwhelming amount of websites and social media portals that many of us navigate daily, how do we sift the wheat from the chaff? How do we make the decisions that will help turn our dreams into reality?

If you are looking for answers to your questions or for products online I have some advice. It may seem strange in the technological landscape, but I believe it is the only way for you to know that the answers you seek are valid and that you make wise consumer choices.

It’s simple. How does the article, post or video make you FEEL? How does the sales pitch resonate? Do you feel like a valued participant? Do you feel a human connection? So many websites have a sole purpose. To label you as a consumer. Necessary for their business. It’s time for you to take the power back and make the choice that you will continue to interact with those who see you as a fundamental part of their business, and not simply as a statistic.

We all have needs and wants. Being conscious that the power to engage is in your hands is liberating and takes us away from the cold model of sales to the much warmer one of being valued in a partnership that leads us to enhancing and enriching all, not simply lining the pockets of a faceless CEO.

Are your desires being met by the information you seek? Are you being inundated with generic information that does not ‘speak’ to you? We, as knowledge seekers, have the power to turn away from businesses and websites that only want to instruct you to do something. Instead tune into those who are willing to share more than a product or service. Tune into those businesses who value your unique being. Tune into those portals of information that encourage the flow of ideas and spark your imagination.

I believe the future of online information lies with those who can add the human factor into the technological wizardry. We want to thrive and to live with a deeper meaning. We are no longer happy to settle for being simply a number or sale. We want to connect to the stories that lie behind the information and become woven into the ongoing narrative.

When seeking clarification with a question follow the rule that the information being shared should be only a starting point to asking more questions. We can no longer allow others to dictate to us what is right or wrong. We must continue to challenge ourselves to find our own truths.

Storytelling is what has made us human since the beginning of time. Let the future reclaim the power of the story. Of human connection. Make the choice to interact online with only those things we deeply resonate with and trigger our desire to improve our lives, dream big and help to tell our own stories.

Feel your way through cyber space. Trust your own judgement. And finally, demand that the human element is brought into the technological landscape.

Image Acknowledgment: Dream Catchers created with love by Paccha Lema, captured by the author at the Little Big Markets In Mount Maunganui.

 

 

Time

I’ve recently had several conversations with incredibly creative people who have stunning services that they want to offer to the world. Developing life enhancing products that will uplift the spirit and bring inner peace and joy. One theme keeps recurring in all of these conversations. The lack of time to market their wares.

We all have gifts we can share. We are all incredibly capable beings. And we all have a right to shine our light and promote what we do best. However no one person can do it all. We need support from others to help make our dreams come true.

My gift? To communicate. Through written, verbal and visual languages. To transform ideas and connect with others.

My dream is to help others realise their dreams. A beautiful symbiotic relationship that encourages my own growth and success by supporting others to grow and succeed.

I am excited by the opportunities presenting themselves. Opportunities to develop eye catching, thought provoking and professional material for promotion in print and for the web. There is a huge need to work alongside others who have genius with their creativity but lack the time to draw the public in to be able to enjoy these products.

How many times do we hear about people knowing they should have a website, but simply have no time, or indeed desire, to keep their online presence fresh and updated? How much money is spent on marketing, all with the best intentions, only to see their investment literally disappear into the ether?

This is where a great content specialist can step in and drive promotions and marketing. Utilising modern technology to draw the world into to discover the products and services that incredible people offer, products that will add a little more beauty and joy to the world. A content specialist is able to communicate a creative person’s vision to a market looking for products that resonate and that will add meaning to their lives.

I offer my services to help grow other people’s dreams. I have the skills and knowledge to develop marketing strategies using the best of modern technology while allowing the client’s essence to shine through.

So here I am. Declaring my intention that I am a great communicator. Declaring my intention to solve the problems faced by many creative people, the lack of time to do it all. I will help dreams come true through words, images, communication and my ability to celebrate products and services with clarity.

Susan Rose. Communication Specialist. At Your Service.

Making dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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