Game changer

The primary aspect of my work is WRITING and yet it is the last thing that I want to do for work. There are emails to be checked, people to call, the internet just screams to be looked at. Facebook and have so many shiny things for me to view and there are endless productivity blogs to help me while away hours and hours of time. And yet, I say that I love my job. I get to work with kids to trial a new intervention technique to see if it improves their ability to do the things they want and need to do. I get to test a scientific theory. But for what purpose? To publish the damn thing. To write about it, communicate it and get other people doing it if it works, or stop them from wasting their time if it doesn’t.

Writing. It is the center most important focus of the area that I have chosen and yet I procrastinate expertly to avoid doing it. The irony is that I love to write. I write a blog and I so love doing it. Maybe because I can type out a finished piece in a few hours and it’s done. Out there for others to read and already published to boot. It’s not going to change any lives the way my scientific work potentially could, but it is something I have done. Something I have completed and shared, it is progress. An achievement.

The science work writing that I do is a terribly tedious past time. I have to fact check and cross-reference every thought. It is the work supporting a statement that gets in my way. I write, I think I am finished… then I have to check through all the comments that I made to myself about the detail work that remains. The writing, even the editing was enjoyable. The details of referencing, checking for more supporting or contradicting literature, tying everything together is where I come undone. Then it takes me forever, I procrastinate for months over the smallest details and I run out of puff.

It is these important mechanics that are part of the polishing. If I can just find my way clear to pushing through with these small pieces of my story, of my message, then I will be done and I can submit for publication. Then I start to progress the part of my work where the big stuff happens. The kudos is in the publishing. It’s in the opportunities that come with many publications. The focus in research is on team members who are proven writers. These are the folk who are going to take important work and share it with the audience of clinicians, doctors, informed service recipients and share it with the people who will benefit most from it. This can only happen when it is accessible. This can only happen when it is not only written up, but published- online or in a paper journal, but searchable.

I need to bring my focus back to this point: writing is the core of my work. The focus is on scientific exploration of a theory, but the recruiting, the assessing, the hours and hours and hours of time families contribute and that I have committed mean nothing if it is not communicated. The growing story around my research area is strengthened by every piece of work that I could conceivably contribute. My voice and knowledge will add to the work begun by only a few so far and will add to the small but growing momentum there. It is emerging PUBLISHED evidence that will cause the entire world to sit up and pay attention, to think about tackling problems with a new perspective in mind. Then all the time and effort invested by families, the research team and myself will be worthwhile.

So I have to remind myself- keep up with recruitment, really start scoring those measures… but do not lose sight of the fact that you have a responsibility to yourself and the people who have also invested large amounts of time in this work, to write. You have to share what you are learning. You have to generate interest and enthusiasm for the knowledge coming out of this project. It is the sharing that validates. It is the sharing that brings future opportunities and fortifies your position as a serious candidate in future works. Your practical skill set alone is not enough in the world of research. To make the biggest impact, you have to be what you have always wanted to be- a writer, first and foremost.

“I love being a writer. What I can’t stand is the paperwork.” ~Peter De Vries

You mean “now” now?

My name is Bel and I am an addict.

Each day I open my tablet or computer and I find myself looking at them. Everyday, near enough that I notice what it keeps me from. But I can’t help it. I have to look. At their large kitchens, spacious yards, their high ceilings, if there are molded cornices… and the views. My god, the views!

I have a realestate problem. This is a 2 part problem for me. The first part of this problem is that it leeches so much of my time. I get into a zone where I can feel the zombie take over. With flat affect I flit from one property to another, maybe raising an eyebrow or a murmer if there is something very exceptional… And suddenly I have lost my afternoon!

The second part of this problem is that we are not in the market for a property right now. One day we will be. But right now we are not in a position to even be looking! And there are so many wonderful homes that I would love to call my own… Cue feeling sad and upset that my own home is so far beyond reach, with a woe is me and bitter reflection on having already used my first home owners grant in a relationship that didn’t make the distance. Then sprinkle on some rage about how much harder it is to get a loan and how high prices are. Some more ranting about how prices are so high because people want to make money off property instead of establishing the traditional family home thanks to tax breaks introduced by the government many years ago… SO this incessant and compulsive looking is starting to prove itself a problem.

Right. Ahem, Ok, so in moments of clarity (when I do not have my face in my computer screen) I look around and realise that now is the perfect time! To enjoy, to live, to put important steps in place for the future but to live now. We enjoy a comparatively low cost of living which means we can save and do things we enjoy- a huge luxury in this day and age. We live in a beautiful house and have security here. We have an easy care garden that is big enough for me to try some new things in, without being overwhelmed by it. We are close to many of our family and friends and we have space to accommodate over night those that need to travel a bit further.

It really doesn’t get much better than this. So what is with the extraordinary pull to even look? Am I so indoctrinated to want, accumulate, spend spend spend!? Sadly I think this must be so. When I reflect on it I am similarly inclined when it comes to new technology. When I get bored of my phone or my computer stops being super fast and responsive I start to look for the next big thing in a very single-minded way, whether I can afford to upgrade or not. I have much work to do to calm this beast.

I cannot be the only person who experiences this. In fact I know that I am not. If you are afflicted with this same obsession to upgrade your already perfectly excellent life, join me on a journey. Find a quiet moment to look around you, take in your environment. The people you share your home with. The furniture you rest on. The roof over your head**. Does it meet your needs? Can you smile about your day from here? Can you afford the things that are most important to you? I mean food of course, but also if you love nothing more than a weekly night at the movies, does living here afford you that? If you love having a night at a fancy pants restaurant once a month, does living here afford you that? If you are about to launch into starting your own business, does living here afford you the safety net you need to start? Now be grateful.

By finding gratitude it is easier to enjoy right now instead of trying to force change for changes sake. When I try to force change I lose time, a great deal of it, and I often end up where I began. I am not suggesting for a moment that you don’t plan for the future. Implementing plans for your future are essential to your organic growth. I am suggesting that when you are grateful, right now, in this moment and you are satisfied, then you have a more comfortable journey into your future. A future created by your hand with love, not fear. Enjoyed from a place of bliss rather than an angsty passing onto something ever bigger- not necessarily better.

Feet submerged

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

** Important side note- there are increasing numbers of people who do not have roofs over their heads. Something many of us take for granted. If you do not have shelter I implore you to find one. Try family and friends until you can get something permanent arranged, ask them to help you organise it. It is easier to stay healthy when you have a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep. And while many services that provide shelter and food for people who are homeless are very patriarchal and seem expensive, they are safe, they will help you get back on your feet and have access to good healthcare. Without your health, what do you have?


Who are you

What makes a person who they are
is it their hair, their eyes, their heart?
the way they flow from this or that thing
the success and high places that they reach?

Is it the love they give and receive freely
or the way they help and care
is it the way they accept you without hesitation
without judgement, exception, completely aware

And what about how they are in tense moments
does this play a part in their “who”?
when the stresses of life leave them red faced and upset
Does that add to the sum of their parts?

What if we found out that all of their lives
hidden from them and their loved ones
was a small little shadow, a change from the script
making some things a challenge, some more simple

Would that change our view of our friend?
would that change who they are?
and what if it did not just add to the bad stuff
but gave us the good, the great heart?

Our dear one is no different
they are as they are
they are as they always have been
our love for them grows for the challenges rose to a difficulty unknown and unseen <3

“There’s a period of life when we swallow a knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.” ~Pearl Bailey