Get a Life

Get a Life

Same Old, Same Old
So many of us get caught up in the humdrum of busy-ness of everyday life that we forget about the incredible experiences that are out there for the taking.  Life becomes more of the same old thing, every single day and before you know it, years have passed while you work in the same job, live in the same house, socialise with the same people, pursue the same activities.  There is good and bad to be had when following a routine, but never varying from it can lead to a feeling of dullness, stagnation and wondering if this is all there is to life.  I’ve definitely been there and my guess is that you have, too.

Sometimes we have no option but to change.  While this may seem like a tragedy at the time, it can really be a blessing in disguise.  Many years ago my daughter was in primary school and struggling with learning difficulties.  I spent every spare moment I could up at the school helping out in the tuck shop, working on the Fete Committee, the Safety House Committee, the P&C Committee, hearing kids read in the classroom, everything I could to provide support and make my daughter’s life easier.  We attended Doctors’ appointments, occupational health and therapy appointments, saw Counsellors, Psychologists , Homeopaths and anyone else we thought may be able to help.  This was in addition to working three jobs while trying to pay off a mortgage.

Sometimes change is your only option in order to live a life of quality
Anyone, looking at things from the outside, could tell that it wasn’t a situation that could go on forever.   We were both miserable.  School was an absolute nightmare for my beautiful little girl who was a round peg within a system that believed all children should be forced to fit into square holes.  Yet we persisted.  Day after day after day, it broke my heart to play the authority figure and go along with those in power to try and turn my daughter into a square.  It caused us both such incredible spiritual and mental anguish that we still suffer from some of the after effects to this day.

Kangarooas at Bournda

Kangaroos at Bournda National Park

The difficulties followed us from primary to high school and things got even worse.  I realised that we were going to need to make radical changes, otherwise we were both going to go under.  During a discussion with my mother about selling my house, we both laughed over the idea of living in a tent as the cheapest way to survive. After investigating the available alternative schooling options, I discovered that I could enrol my daughter in correspondence school and suddenly the idea of living in a tent didn’t seem as ridiculous an idea as it first seemed.   In fact, when I realised how portable a tent could be, it seemed like the answer to our dreams.  I decided that we’d both tried hard enough to fit into mainstream shooling and this was now the perfect opportunity to provide an alternative learning environment where we could both grow incredibly through life experiences in addition to learning in a way that best suited her.

I enrolled her in correspondence school, and myself in a long distance IT course. I sold my house at a loss and stored the things that we wanted to keep under my mother’s house.  I purchased a laptop and mobile phone with a data connection.  We spent eight glorious months travelling up and down the east coast of Australia living in a 4 man tent and a Ford Festiva Trio.  The biggest lesson I learnt as a result was that discovery is the most exhilarating, liberating thing you can ever do in life.

I still remember the day we left my mother’s place, honking the horn in farewell with our teeny little car packed to the max with cooking and camping equipment and the bare essentials that we’d need for life on the road over the next 8 months.  I recall the thrill of my daughter catching her first ever fish, the laughter we shared over the amazed looks of people passing us on the road, of exploring the most exquisite national parks and beaches, the absolute freedom of deciding when and where we went and how we spent our days.  The fact that we had very little money did nothing to detract from the incredible joy of spending each day discovering new activities and treasures.

During our travels we stayed at Bournda National Park in New South Wales.  The whole countryside was lush and inviting.  Kangaroos lined the road as soon as turned off the main road and even though the campground had 63 sites we went during off season and were the only ones there apart from another family who moved on fairly quickly.  I fell in love with it instantly and many years later after a work visit to the Bega Valley Shire decided to see if there were any jobs going and the rest is history.  Today we live around 30 minutes from Bournda and it’s still one of my sacred spaces.  I feel a soul connection to the area we live in and I’ve never been happier.  My dream is to purchase land and build an empowerment retreat where people can come to learn, to rest, to heal and tap into that amazing power that’s inside all of us in order to discover and follow our dreams.

'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.'
Neale Donald Walsch

Becoming Empowered
Taking a leap into the unknown, whether it’s something small like trying a new activity such as belly dance or pursuing a bigger dream can bring your heart into your mouth and cause your knees to knock in fear.  The benefits, though, outweigh any fleeting discomfort.  The very act of participating in something new gets endorphins flowing, brings a sense of accomplishment, well-being and personal growth.  It can expand your social circle, enable you to learn new skills and gain new knowledge.  For me, it allowed me to connect on a soul level with the land in a way that I’d never had the opportunity to do before.

Even small steps matter
There’s no need to take as a big a leap as that described above.  Regardless of how big or small your goals to escape from the mundane are, the following plan may help:

  • Think about the things you’ve always wanted to do and choose just one thing that you’d like to pursue.
  • Ask yourself how you can rearrange things/overcome the fear/change circumstances or set a definite date to commence the thing you dream of and start preparing mentally, physically, spiritually for it now?
  • Visualise yourself doing it and thoroughly enjoying it, being totally present without worrying about what others think of it, how self-conscious you are, releasing all fear or limitations surrounding being able to do it.  Make this visualisation a daily practice.
  • In the preparatory phase, make a list of the resources you’ll need and collect them.  Plan an itinerary if appropriate and make any other preparations you need to.  Take the step that’s just right for you in order to move forward, even if it’s just a smidgeon.
  • Just before you undertake the actual activity, visualise confidence, success, being incredibly happy that you’ve chosen to do this
  • Get out there and live it!  Put all of your heart and soul into it.  Smell it, taste it, touch it, feel it – be totally present in the moment.
  • Reflect on the benefits afterwards and record the experience in some way.
  • Celebrate your courage and your achievements.  Discovering new stuff is one of the biggest joys and thrills in life.  It expands your horizon and view of the world in the most incredible ways!

What will YOU do with your life?
Just one step will start you on the track to stepping outside your comfort zone.  That’s when you start to feel as though you’re really living again.  Embrace the fear, the joy, the wonder that comes from learning and discovering new things.  If you need help and support to make your dream come true, please know that I’m here to support you, either via the Wise Women’s Forum or through 1:1 coaching.  What one step will you take today to get a life and make your dreams come true?

Renee Avard ~ Heart Worth CatchingThis post was part of the Kaleidoscope of Creative Connections focused on Discovery. Dive into more heart-centred writings from the amazing souls who collaborated in the creation of KCC - December 2013.


  1. Wow Shan, You are amazing, I really, really admire you doing what you did for yourself and your little girl, how wonderful!! How courageous, how right!! What a great role model you are to realize you were trying to fit a square into a round hole, what a lucky little girl as so many don’t have the courage or even the awareness to know this or the balls to do it! 🙂 I too gave up all and went travelling, easy for me, as I don’t have children but it has changed my whole outlook to life and I’ll never fit the round holes of ‘normal’ society but that’s ok.. I’m back in Ireland now but already wondering is this for me… we’ll see.. for now I’m here and reading your post has made me realize I can be adventurous here, I can try new things, I can put my heart & soul into what I’ll do, even here, love your heart Shan <3

  2. What a wonder full adventure! I could feel the excitement stir within as you packed your tent and envision creating a sacred space for others to reconnect. I speak of both of those too! (Except my tent would be a motorhome of some type.)

    Our big leap was having to move with nowhere to go and finding a house to rent in five days along with a mover who was available. All worked out perfectly. The best part was having stagnant energy moving again and feeling revitalized to start fresh.

    Thank you for taking me along and stirring the pot!


  3. Caroline and Lorraine, isn’t life amazing when you step outside the box? Whether it’s because you have to or whether through personal choice, the growth factor and the ability to handle all of the stuff live throws at you afterwards is so much easier.

    Caroline, I love your plan to try new things and be adventurous where you are. Fitting in with ‘normal’ society is over rated, I reckon 😉 I think packing up and travelling intentionally for any length of time takes a leap of courage and faith, whether you have children or not. I bet you have some tales to tell about your adventures!

    Lorraine, five days with nowhere to move to AND to find a removalist? WOW! We moved here with two weeks notice and rented our place purely from the internet photos because it was 6 hours from where we used to live. I thought that was a close call! We’re still in the same house going into our sixth year with wonderful landlords. I’m hoping from here we’ll be able to move directly to the retreat I have planned. Starting fresh can be stressful, but it has so much going for it.

    Thank you both for your comments and relaying your own wonderful stories.

  4. What a great story of courage and determination, I totally admire you for taking you and your daughter out of that unworkable situation and into the unknown. What an amazing adventure you had that could only lead to bigger and better things. Thanks for sharing it in such an inspiring encouraging way that lays out clearly for others how to find their own path as well.

  5. Thanks Leanne. We had great fun, even though it was a bit of a learning curve for both of us. Putting up the tent as dusk fell on the first night was ….. challenging 😉

  6. Wow, Shan, I so needed this! I feel held and encouraged, and both of those attributes are coming in very handy right now.

    I appreciate you!

  7. Sue, I appreciate you too! It seems we’ve written complimentary posts this time around. I laughed at the ‘same old, same old’ references in both our posts. A message there for both of us methinks. So glad this post spoke to you. xx

  8. Great post Shan!

    I love that you ditched the ‘norm’ and were open enough to create your own life. So many of us (probably all of us) grow up thinking we have to live life a certain way, to someone else’s standards.

    Thanks for your encouragement to write our own rules and live our own life!

    Love it!
    Rachel X

  9. Hi Rachel, thanks for your comment. I think we’re all brought up to ‘conform’ and lead our lives according to other people’s standards. It’s a hard thing to break away from. I’ve never really been a round peg in a round hole as far as sticking to the ‘norm’ is concerned. I have a very strong role model in my mother who went back to school as a mature age student while bringing up 4 kids on her own, then went back to teaching when a business of hers fell through and now at 75 is still breaking the mould and refusing to conform to other people’s expectations of how an older woman should act. If I can do the same for even one other person in this world, then I feel I’ve helped heaps 🙂

  10. This was beautiful, Shan! I feel so honored to know you and to be a part of your world. Thank you for this.

  11. Renee, thank you for your wonderful comments. My world is a much richer, more beautiful place for having people like you visiting my blog xxx

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