Before you ask, no, I haven’t magically grown my hair long enough for a high pony tail, nor have I shed 5 kilos or turned into a twat who poses by palm trees. This is an old photo (8 years old to be exact) taken when I had hair long enough for a high pony tail, was 5 kilos lighter and was definitely a twat who posed by palm trees.
I had just arrived in Australia from London and everything was new.
Warm weather, palm trees, Schooners (mate, just pour me a pint!) and Cherry Ripes.
(For those non-Aussie’s reading, a Schooner is a 425ml pour of beer and a Cherry Ripe is a glorified cherry flavoured Bounty bar!)
My point is, I was in awe and wonder of this new place that I would eventually call home, so much so that I posed for this photo (Jeez Em, it wasn’t a catalogue shoot!) in front of a palm tree at sunset. Classic tourist!
Of course, the Australian landscape is the ‘norm’ now – novelty wears off and with it goes that sense of appreciation.
It’s easy to become nonchalant.
But I always come back to this one night when I was reminded of how lucky I really am.
I’d met some friends after work for a picnic in the park near the beach.
Except I work for myself, so once the last of the Camembert had gone my mates all trekked off to the pub, while I went home to clear my inbox, go over content for a webinar training I’m running for my business mentoring clients (2 spots left in the group, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re keen and like the way I do business) and start planning content for the sold out retreat I’m running in February (email email@example.com to go on the wait list for our June retreat – The Ultimate Business Experience For Women With Soul).
I wasn’t particularly annoyed by having to leave, but as I walked away, I began to tune my brain into the tunnel vision focus I slip into when I’m in work mode and efficient Emily came out to play – and she (*I – own it Em!) did the unforgivable.
Yep, I pulled my phone out of my pocket and started replying to emails as I walked.
Urgh. I hate people who do that!
Now, it’s summer here in Melbourne and where I live, there are a lot of seasonal visitors.
I’m not sure if anyone has ever invented a game called “Ten-Pin-Tourist-Bowling” but I was the ball.
I was bumping into people left, right and centre as I walked along the esplanade with my head in my phone.
And then, the King-Pin fell.
Yep, so engrossed was I in my own life; my own business; my own goddamn head, that I full-on body slammed into some French dude.
Now let’s be in no doubt here, I am talking full body slam – I couldn’t just glance and apologetically smile that shit off – like I had to everyone else I’d brushed shoulders with on my self-obsessed walk home thus far.
As I turned my head from my phone to profusely apologise to the French tourist, my eye caught sight of the most beautiful sun, setting over the still bay.
And then I looked more expansively.
The crescent moon, the buzzing atmosphere and then, the palm trees.
When had I stopped noticing the palm trees?
In that second, it dawned on me that far from being efficient, I was in fact wasting my time.
You see, we always think there’ll be another sunset or a better time to stop and appreciate what we have.
But just like the French tourist who didn’t see the little English chick until she head-butted his chest, we don’t know what’s around the corner.
As much as we are the captain of our own ships, we are also at the mercy of the Ocean.
Life is short.
And I was missing it.
Fuck, I’d been so consumed in me and my ‘to-do’ list and my own world of need and want and hustle that I had forgotten to appreciate what was staring me in the face.
I have palm trees.
And wonderful friends.
And a family who love me.
And a thriving business.
And a neighbourhood that provides me the safety to walk home at dusk as a lone woman. (Do you know how privileged that is?)
And a sunset that some don’t even have the sight to see.
Today, I spoke a client about practicing what I call ‘soul-gratitude’.
Soul gratitude isn’t about writing three things I’m grateful for in an old notebook before I fall asleep.
It’s not an ‘attitude of gratitude’.
It’s more than that.
It’s about standing in the moment of life as it’s happening.
It’s about finding that place in your soul where you connect to the magnitude and beauty of this human existence as it’s happening.
It’s about being mindful in the moment so you can look up from your own life and drink in the beauty of the sun casting evening shadows over the palm trees.
And it’s so important that we do because it’s these moments of pure gratitude which help us navigate our ships through the unpredictability of the ocean of life.
Because without gratitude, we have no faith.
And faith is as important as free will when it comes to traversing this world.
Don’t get so consumed in navigating your ship that you forget to appreciate the ocean.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein
So today, look out for your palm tree, whatever that might be for you.
Pause in your day to breathe in deeply the wonder of the world around you.
Remind yourself of both your insignificance and vital importance on this planet.
Try not to get so caught up in your own head, in your own problem and in your own bullshit that you neglect all that is wonderful.
Because when you look for it, you will see that there is so much to be grateful for.
If you love this outlook and don’t mind some swearing then you’ll love my videos.
Every Wednesday I am live at 11am on Insta emily_thatcrazythingcalledlife and Facebook Emily Chadbourne and an edited highlight video will be uploaded to my Youtube channel every Thursday (subscribe here). Each week I answer one of your questions about love, life and business so get involved.
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With all my love and gratitude, Em x