Tasmania always brings out the reflective side of me, I guess because like many, I look at what I had through rose coloured glasses. Did I love Tasmania when I was here? I would absolutely say no. The grass was always greener on the other side for me. Visiting with people who are so very familiar but have been at arm’s length for many years by virtue of distance and seeing what they have made of their lives and their circumstances has me considering what it is that evokes contentment. I would like to share my top five and would love to hear your thoughts on these or other ways to embrace contentment.

An attitude of gratitude – yes this sounds somewhat evangelical and could easily be written as being thankful but I kind of like the ring of ‘an attitude of gratitude’. In order to foster the development of this in myself, I will be reviving something that I did when I was first diagnosed with cancer; that is, sharing something that I am thankful for every day. I remember at the time that I focussed hard to find something to share (at that time I shared three things per day on Facebook). I always had a sense of achievement when I felt really disgusting but could still find something to be thankful for. I am thinking that if it can help when I was down, it should also be able to help me feel awesome now! As I write this, I realise that I still aspire to awesome rather then just content. Old habits die hard!

A child–like sense of wonder – in Tasmania I got in touch with my inner child on several occasions. There were baby bunnies on the lawn at Burnie. I know that they are considered vermin but there is no disputing they are very cute vermin. Their antics playing hide and seek in the grass brought a smile to my face. There were the penguin photos, the disappearance of Princess Lily Flippers and hopefully the receipt of the Penguin Newsagency’s second prettiest soft penguin in Brisbane in the next few days.  My friend C yesterday was sharing the antics of baby birds on her front lawn and was taking a maternal interest in their well-being. I had several opportunities over the course of my break to spend time in the company of small children. Looking at what excites them is one simple way to keep in touch with my inner child and to appreciate the world as it is.

Acceptance – purely and simply accepting where I am on a particular day and what it is that life has decided to send my way. I met in Tasmania a couple of people whose lives challenge them on a daily basis and those who care for them. Those caring souls were pure inspiration to me. Their sunny attitudes stopped me in my tracks. They are inspirational and if I find myself lamenting my lot in life, I intend to focus on them.

Holding tight, Letting go – absolutely imperative to hold close important people and let go of those who have the potential to hurt. This has always been a challenge for me as I have always taken ‘winning people over’ to be almost a trophy sport. It doesn’t matter that there are people who constantly zap energy when I am around them. I had decided that if they wanted to be around me, then I must do my best to make them stay in my life. This does not mean that I will ever give up investing in people who are difficult. Some of my very best friendships have started in this category. It just means that I will invest then step back and see whether the relationship is constructive or destructive. For now on, my energy will be spent on people who give as well as taking. I have awesome people in my life and, at times, I have expended all of my energy on others and neglected those awesome people.  My time in Tasmania had me reflecting that at times I have neglected my relationships with these people because I’ve been exhausted by life. The same is true of relationships with my friends everywhere!

Living healthily – I have not managed to stick with my newly adopted healthy life style since I went to Tasmania (even vaguely), though I have managed to not put on too much weight so that has to be good for a holiday. The biggest price of this change is altered sleep patterns and general feelings of well-being. Prior to my visit to Tasmania, I would have under-estimated the benefits of diet and regular exercise, but now I need to just get back into the routine.

Must move, my gorgeous boy, Crash, is wagging his tail, saying, “C’mon mum, I’ve missed you, I love you, let’s get going!” I love the way he can communicate all that without words. Jemima (meow) is just looking at me disdainfully, “Oh you’re back!” I have had affectionate cats in my life; Jemima is not one of them.. I am clearly another human to do her bidding..

My first thankful is for the awesome people in my life; family, real friends, virtual friends. Thank you for being a part of my life! I’d love you to share a thankful with me. We can all do with inspiration!

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