Me and my mate, James.

Me and my mate James, who turned fifty recently. Standard day for James is dressing up in various outfits, hats or masks (as a clown, police officer, Elvis, etc), listening to music and generally having fun with others and on his own. He loves unabashedly and everyday it’s your birthday — he sings happy birthday to you while trying to give you something of his own, as a gift. Gorgeous.

He has Down syndrome, and his mind is about that of a three year old. Yet he ‘gets’ me and loves me unconditionally. I used to be one of his support workers. Now I’m his friend. So honoured.

He has nicknames for all those special in his life. Mine is ‘Beat beat’ and ‘Beat beat Tracey’ we only guess it’s because I’m usually dancing and singing around the place.

Here we are dressed in his clown stuff and he’s wearing the pirate hat I gave him while using a colouring-in book (one of the things I got him for his birthday). I love him and I am so happy he has such a wonderful loving family, a lovely home, and fabulous carers who love him and help him to live HIS best life. It truly enriches his life.

We all should do what we love in life to be happy. And James’s happiness, kindness and great loving heart is inspirational, beautiful, and a joy to be around x

I broke my drinking drought!

First drink

This is the moment I had my first drink in almost two and a half years. I gained so much from not drinking (see my blog, ‘Eight Reasons Why Not Drinking Created a Better Me’) that I wanted to make sure ending my drinking drought was marked with a night to remember! I couldn’t have asked for it to unfold any better. I was in great company. Brad (whose furthest to the right and I’m to the left of him; in the photo) in particular made it special, with his wonderfully kind focus on my big achievement and his contagious excitement of helping me mark this moment – in style!

We decided to all have one of my favourite cocktails – a Long Island Iced Tea – to celebrate the moment together. #HappyHeart #HowTouching #Grateful

Amazingly, while we were ordering our cocktails a flashback memory hit me. It was from a few years ago, at the same hotel, in the exact same spot at the bar. I had asked my friends on our way out that night, to make sure I didn’t drink more than two drinks all night. I knew I’d feel better if I drank less those days – I was always trying – yet found it hard. I ordered a glass of wine. The bar tender served me a measured glass. I sort of panicked when I saw how tiny that looked. So I asked him to fill it up…making sure my two drinks were going to be ‘good’. (Addicted!) I was blindly lured by the big buzz alcohol gives. That tainted version of myself was gone thanks to the break I had from drinking. And the new calm, not-needing-to-be-drunk-to-be-happy-when-out self was here. I much prefer the latter version of me. Snapping out of that memory made me realise just how addicted I had been, how painful that addiction was, and how great the contrast of now being at peace felt. Including not looking to find happiness in alcohol. It was part of the trophy of the occasion right there.

IMG_6550(This photo above: Brad, and me armed with my cocktail and a glass of water. Celebration time!)

We had a great night dancing and laughing, enjoying each others company, the live music and the awesome tunes the DJ played. I slowly sipped my celebratory cocktail. I didn’t want to get drunk. And I wasn’t sure if the alcohol would sneak up on me and hit me for a six! I paced it well (winning!) (proud of myself!). It wasn’t the alcohol that was making me happy; it was me and the awesome company I was in. I was very happy that I didn’t get the urge to drink more, nor want to get drunk; not that that would’ve been a problem if I did. I could take it or leave it.

I went home at 4am still only tipsy. I loved being present and ‘with it’ the whole night thanks to not being drunk. And I loved ending the night with having a fully coherant chat with the taxi driver on the way home.

Simply having a changed belief, a new and improved understanding of what alcohol does, has freed me from the chains it used to have around me. There’s liberation and light in that.

It was an awesome night. A landmark achievement given a worthy celebration. It has really inspired me to reach for other big goals that take a long time to reach; as the bigger the goal, the bigger the reward and the bigger – and more enduring – the satisfaction and joy you feel. Here’s to big goals and to reaching more landmark moments.

A yoga high in Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens.

I love doing yoga in nature.

– the grass was my yoga mat.
– the birds were my sound track.
– the smells of nature; my incense.
– the view; a feast for my eyes and heart.
– a big tree was my umbrella; protecting me from the direct sun-rays.
– AND my body was my instrument; creating the vibe of joy and bliss, thanks to the many gifts of the environment and the ancient wisdom of yoga.

It left me feeling blessed and so alive.
Here’s a clip of that beautiful location. I hope you enjoy it too.

My first yoga video

My first yoga video; is of me doing my favorite pose. The wheel.

Whatever form of wheel I do it always gives me so much energy and centers me when I am feeling scattered or out of sorts.

Even though what may immediately spring to mind about yoga is putting your body in unusual shapes – or something like that – to me it is much more about what it does to me energetically and emotionally. It’s extraordinary.

I am in awe of how good yoga makes me feel in body, mind and spirit. ‘Tis one of the reasons why I am studying to be a yoga teacher – to learn more about one of my greatest loves – and then to be able to share it with others.

Please don’t take this little vid in any way as yoga instructions. I am not a qualified yoga teacher.

I am just sharing one of the things that makes me feel so great.