Lying to Mum

We love them, they've been there from the start and God only knows what they went through for us to be here. She held us tight when we were teased at school, she knew our favorite meal, she knew what our favorite movie was, and she was there when we were dumped for the first time.

So it makes the crime of lying to her seem that much worse, I mean really, how could anyone lie to their own mother when all she ever does is be there for us? Unfortunately, truth be told, I don't know when it first started with me, but once I started it was so easy to keep going! A little here and a little there, and don't get me wrong I covered all the types, verbally, deceit, stealing, big, small, I used them all!! Now granted there's possibility a VERY few of you that are thinking, 'no I never did that'. Well, according to a 2002 study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten minute conversation without lying at least once!

This craft has been worked on for many years and with varying levels of success, but it would have to be said, I was rather good at it. Now of course, as an adult one would hope I no longer lie and tell the truth, but lets be honest, there's just some things our mums don't need to know!

So what's my point? Well, if we've grown up learning and perfecting the art of lying to our own mother, it begs the question who else do we lie to?? Again, if you just said 'no that's not me' well you're either a Buddhist monk living in the hills of the Himalayas're lying to yourself!!

Now I know the nothing of lying, let alone to your own mother, is rather confronting, but the human mind we know is very complex and has a mind of its own!! Touche! But the notion about lying to ourselves seems simple and it is, but now here's the crazy part, can you even catch yourself doing it?!

Just as a kid, I was flippantly using 'white' lies so much that I was loosing track! One of my favorite sayings is "The good thing about telling the truth is you don't need to remember what you said." In more recent years when I've started to really look at my behavior and my actions, I realized so much of what I was doing, saying and thinking I was 'lying' to myself. Thinking that I didn't need to do certain things, thinking I was a certain type of person, thinking certain people in my life were of importance to me.

I was constantly creating a social standard within my own world and painting myself in the best way possible. But as soon as I introduced truth, hard hitting honest truth, I had nowhere to hide. When I took the time to really observe what was going on in 'my' world, I noticed thoughts, behaviors and feelings that actually didn't align myself with myself, the person I 'thought' I was presenting to the world didn't actually match with my 'truth.'

Being the best version of ourselves isn't easy, and I found it so much harder if I kept feeding myself with lies. We all know our lives are broken up into segments; family, work, health, relaxation and each require a certain skill set. We might be very compassionate but don't know how to strive for personal goals, we might be very productive at work but don't know how to relate to other people. When I looked at my truth in these different areas, I realized what I thought were my strengths were actually part of my process of lying to myself.

I'm still a long way from not living the lie! Gosh I've been doing it for so long I can't expect to break the habit so easily. But at least now I'm having the conversation. Just like my mum did when I got into trouble, "Now Adam tell mum why lighting a fire in your bedroom is wrong and explain where you got the matches from?" I have to confess! I need to continually sit myself down (a practice I do daily at the start of everyday) and get real, being honest with myself and hope that if I lye to myself and I can catch it in the act, I can make the change.

I can't remember when I last lied to my mum, it was probably when I was still living at home and telling her what time I got home from a club!! But for sure, nothing good comes from lying to ourselves, because if we want to be the best version of ourselves we need to know what that actually looks like. We have to take responsibility for our thoughts and actions and be truthful and real in the moment.

Sugar Mummy

It's 9am on a Wednesday morning and I'm in a cafe in Paddington. It's a nice, sunny date and I'm looking through my notes on training, healthy eating, how to live a more joyful and enriched life. Looking at my notes I realize that so much of why I'm here in the first place is a result of my parents.

However, as I have these thoughts and think about my super human ability to change the world and make every person fitness machines (!!) I'm rushed back to reality by a mother, her dog and her two sons sitting next to me.

Don't you love the innocence of the kids these days... Or NOT. No it isn't innocence! As I could assume the boys are aged between 4-6, they've already learned behaviors and interact with the world that surrounds them. So as I watch the mother glued to her phone and watching the youngest boy consume a large, sugar coated pastry delight accompanied by a large hot chocolate, I can't help but wonder what behavioral traits they have already learnt, how it will affect their adult life, what the boys insulin levels are and what their crash will look like in an hour.

Now don't get me wrong, this could be an isolated case and I certainly was a hyperactive ADHD type of child, I only pray my kids aren't like me. But having positive role models as parents, I'm very healthy and live an enjoyable, adventurous life. So it begs the question, when will all the messages of positive living, importance of being present and being a positive role models for our kids, when does it rub off onto them??

Sure, life is all about balance, and life can be hard, but making a 'lazy decision' is just an easy way out. But our habits and instincts are hard to change, so perhaps the habit of said mother was to buy her boy that extremely high sugar breakfast and her instinct was just for the easy / lazy decision? This only highlights the importance of helping people to see their instincts and recognize their habits.

So let's stop and think about what we say, eat, do, behave and 'insta' update in front of our kids. Because if we can't stop that then we are certainly doomed for an obese, depressive, negative, aggressive race. Encourage positive eating, keep the sugar as a reward and not an 'every day item', be present and open our minds to our behaviors and patterns so we can keep the real zest and enjoyment of life - to love.

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A Disorganized Traveler…

Public speaking? Check. Getting up early? Check. Dancing with rhythm? Check. Going on holidays by myself? Check. Wow look at me!!! So clever, good at lots of things! Yes yes! But don't ask me to plan, to organize, or think too far in the future!! That's never been my forte, its never come easily to me and to be honest I don't think it ever will be.

Step up my latest experiences!! A wedding away from home where my girlfriend at the time was a bridesmaid. With my trusty side-kick organizing most of the weekend, the seemingly simple task of pre-booking some accommodation for myself while she was on bridesmaid duties was my only task. With approximately six months to book I left it to late in the afternoon of the same day to find some accommodation. Yep!! Idiot I hear you say and yes of course everything in Byron Bay is booked out, no options and with no tent - even the camp sites weren't an option.

Let the adventure begin! Now this isn't a tale of chance meetings or fortunate events. It's about learning to see the gems in our short comings. It's about recognizing what are flaws are and seeing the good in them. Sure, I was probably annoyed I had to travel to the next town to find my accommodation, but it was a place I'd never been. It was yet another place in this wide world I hadn't been to and now would love to go back.

But the real gift from my relaxed nature / not being organized was my morning run! Like a warm blanket on a cold winters morning we don't want to lift off, a blanket of dark black cloud had refused to lift from the day before. Certainly not the ideal weather for a wedding day and very unmotivating to go for a run in! My training schedule required me to go for a long run - so run I did. After resisting temptation to stay in bed, I stepped out into the element and realized I was going to be chaperoned by dark, heavy rain clouds. A jagged and angry, yet mystical coastline, enthusiastic surfers, dog owners and their best friends and the occasional violent yet exhilarating downpour of rain. It was heaven! I had one of the best runs ever and even yelled with glee at the sheer simplicity and chance encounter.

Sure it was a little extra stress the night before, not having a place to stay, sure I was by myself and didn't have kids to worry about and sure I'm the sort of person happy to sleep in a cave. But one must consider the expectations we set and how the alter our state of mind. I was gifted with a magical experience because I didn't plan my accommodation. But I didn't have an expectation of where I would stay or what type of place I'd stay in in the first place. I didn't get upset or angry because I hadn't invested any emotion or thought into where I would stay.

Granted, this experience isn't for everyone and of course not planning in advance has cost me big time in the past and I'm sure it will in the future. But if I / we continue to let our expectations control our habits and thoughts we often miss out on the little gems in life. Being adaptive and accepting of your immediate situation is a skill and its very hard for us to let go of expectations. But the more we can be open to letting things happen and just rolling with the punches, we can get some truly magical nuggets that can make life all that more rich.

I dare you to plan a holiday and not book accommodation before you leave, only take carry on luggage, leave something to the last minute, try a new recipe on the night of a dinner party, go for a walk in a new town and not take your phone, or go for a drive and not look at a map! Get lost in the adventure of life, because it isn't meant to be a pre-organized sequential format that we must follow.

The Act of Giving

To give and not receive is a very noble act, to give and not to be acknowledged is even more noble. But yet the act of giving seems to be riddled with contention, perimeters and awkwardness. Now of course there's always exceptions to the rule, but in the past year (2015) I did two fundraising efforts with remarkable difference.

Last year, as part of the Polished Man campaign, (a campaign designed to raise awareness around sexual and physical abuse towards children) I held a fundraising event. Unfortunately, as a child this was something I was effected by so I had a real personal connection with the subject matter. But it was without much thought or consideration that I proceed to organize my first charity event with no real expectation of how it would end up. Now truth be told, my organization skills aren't a personal strong point and if I was ever to get married my fiancé would be doing all the work!

With the help of a few friends, the venue was booked, raffle prizes were given, a date was confirmed, photographers were arranged, publicity was happening and the event was shaping up to be a great evening. In just over three weeks we managed to pull it all together and hold a very successful night, raising great awareness surrounding the cause. A success!!

Fast forward to me next volunteer effort. I traveled to Peru as a volunteer safety white water kayaker. A documentary was being made to illustrate the effects 20 hydroelectric dams being built on the Rio Maranon would have on the community, environment and the ecosystem. This was a conservation project I initially know little about but it became very clear the people of Peru are in danger of losing a natural treasure and not even the government is willing to intervene.

Now, while my time was donated, all my associated travel was covered by me, and I was also required to raise money. A pledge of $9,000 was made and through the platform, Pozible, I raised the money. While it was no easy feat and at times I had to bare all!! Literally, I did a video naked with my kayaking gear on! Eventually I got there, and as a result a documentary is being made that I hope will go a long way to making a difference to the people of Peru and send a message to the rest of the world about how unnecessary mega hydroelectric dams are without the correct environmental study.

Taking these two very different experiences and two very different outcomes / objectives, one was remarkably easier to achieve. Now on paper, clicking a few buttons and donating some money seems the most logical answer to me. With roughly 1,200 friends on good ol’ Facebook, if I got everyone to make a donation of $7.5 I’d have my quota. Instead I was left to constantly update Facebook, continually feeding information, direct messaging (numerous time), reaching out to family and asking my parents friends but I was still chasing my tail and often feeling like it was falling on deft ears. However, with the help of a few larger donations I got there.

But with the event! Well that was a piece of cake! I had gifts sent from all sorts of people, donations of tickets, shoes, bags, the gifts just kept coming in! The venue hire was for free, the photographer donated his time, there really was no shortage of offers. My only real concern was would people turn up?? They did, and quite a few! The raffle raised lots of money, the bar even donated profits from their takings and before I knew it the night was done, we had raised around $5,000 and had a good time in the process.

So what worked best? One could argue the event was the winner but from my perspective the act of giving is complex, its hard to hit that trigger point that will get people’s attention. Timing is everything and being able to connect to an audience. Being able to show them something or give insight as to what their time or money will go to.

I know that no matter how big or small the donation is I will always give something. Because if I know my $2 will make the difference - its worth it. The act of giving is something I think we all need to be more conscious of and if we can all just give that $7.5 its amazing what a difference it can make.