To You


Hello there my friends,

How are you this fine new year’s eve?  The weather here in Melbourne is somewhat overcast and moody.  Perhaps an indication of what my year was like.

I was doing some bloghopping recently and came across this lovely post by Maxabella Loves.  She asks us to answer 10 questions to say farewell to 2014 and to ring in the new year.  I thought it would be fun, and possibly helpful, to play along.  I hope you will too.

1.  What word do you think best summed up 2014?

I would have to say Challenging, especially since Mr C and I ended up in hospital no less than three times each!  I also had to come to grips with being bald, and a new wig, which whilst an amazing gift, did present its challenges.

2.  What did you do for the first time this year?

Two things: (a) I blogged about being bald, and took a photograph of myself bald for the entire world to see.  (b) In response to Edenland’s call for lip-syncing entrants to honour the memory of her brother who had committed suicide, I decided to enter.  At the last minute I decided to remove my wig.  I then posted said entry onto you tube.  I faced my vulnerability well and truly that day and is something of which I am quite proud.  You can see the entry here.

3.  What is the one thing that happened that will have a lasting consequence?

Undoubtedly it was the fact that I decided to do the Blog With Pip course.  Through this course I learned to start and run my own blog, but more important than that was the connections that I made to some incredible women who continue to inspire me every day.

Before I started the course, I didn’t really follow blogs as such but now I read a number each day which has opened up my eyes to a whole new world.

I also learned to listen to my inner intuition more and to trust the process of living.  As a recovering alcoholic this has been quite an amazing revelation, although still very much a work in progress.

4.  Was there anything you wish you had done differently?

The one thing that truly stands out for me is that I did not take control of my health this year.  Despite my body shutting down and needing two operations, I still didn’t heed the signs.  The result is that I am still obese, am tired, am tired of being tired, feel very sluggish and am struggling to get out of my depressive spiral.

Losing weight isn’t just about the aesthetics for me, it is about my body not having to lug around 35 extra kilograms, it is about feeling vital, and not waking up every day feeling like I am wading through mud.

5.  Do you have a favourite moment from this year?  What made it special?

Hands down my favourite moment is when Master J came second in his Maths exam.  The sheer sense of achievement he had brought an expansion to my heart that I have never felt before.  For the first time in his life, he did not feel behind the 8-ball, he felt ahead of the game.  It was a marvel to watch and a privilege to witness.

Autism has many deficits, but so many strengths do exist.  Unfortunately, in our society, we have a habit of focussing on a person’s deficits instead of their strengths.  We somehow have to make people feel diminutive.  That day, my son stood tall, not diminutive at all, head held high knowing that his incredible hard-fought hard work had paid off.  There is no greater joy.

6.  What lesson has 2014 taught you about yourself?  About others?

Such tricky questions!  2014 has taught me that no-one can tread my journey but me.  For too long have I stood in the shadow of my own life watching it pass me by.  By writing here in this little space I have learned to confront a lot of demons, let them go and to move forward.  This has been a challenging experience, but also a gift.  It has blown out a lot of cobwebs in the recess of my mind.

I have also learned that the same applies to others.  I cannot tread their path for them.  This has involved doing a lot of letting go – of control, of doing too much, of always saying yes, of not feeling good enough.  It isn’t my responsibility to make my adult children’s life as easy as possible.  It isn’t my responsibility to always do for others at the expense of my own peace of mind and health.  They have their own journeys and they need to find their own way to live it.  Just like I have had to learn to do with my own life.

2014 was a massive learning curve in this area of my life.  It is still very much a work in progress, but I do believe that 2015 will provide more opportunities to practice and I will rise to the challenge well.

7.  How will the lessons from this past year change the way you approach the new year?

For a start, I am taking more control of my health.  It is my intention to focus on my health and my wellbeing at the cost of all else, if necessary.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds, not for me.  I am prone to being reclusive, to be mindless in what goes into my mouth.  I have an addictive nature – I replaced alcohol with sugar – so I have another addiction to conquer this year.  But I am determined I am going to do it.

I fear death.  Not actually dying, for that is foolish – we all die, but the fear of dying before knowing what it feels like to live a fulfilled life, a life of purpose and meaning, a life of vitality and joy, a life with more peace of mind than not.

I have a plan to achieve this sense of wellbeing and over the coming weeks of 2015, I will reveal it.

8.  What do you most want to do in 2015?

I want to regain my health which in turn will feed my sense of well being and peace of mind (and there is some really good science behind this too).

9.  What do you most want to change about yourself?  The world?

Kindness.  I want to be more kind to myself by feeding my body nourishing food, by moving it more, by developing my mind.  I want to be kinder to others and to the world, reducing my footprint on it.  And I would love the world to become kinder to itself.  If I could witness that in my lifetime, that would be incredible.

10.  What one word do you hope will sum up what you hope to achieve in 2015?

For me, it has to be HEALTH.  Without it I have nothing – no vitality, no peace of mind, no quality of life.  This year has taught me that I need to take control of my health on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.  Health has to be all encompassing, or it isn’t health at all.

I cannot give to the world in the way that I want to if I do not have my health.  I will be working very hard this year to achieve this.

So, there you have it.  My 10 questions answered.  It’s been a weird old year for sure, but one that continues to lay foundations for a better, more healthier me.  Thank you Bron for the lovely questions which gave me some real food for thought and have helped me to clarify my journey for next year.  No doubt there will be bumps along the way, but having this blue print will help.

Happy New Year everyone.  May 2015 bring you health and peace.

Much love,

SHW Signature





Boxing day here.

Sitting here still feeling somewhat strangely beautifully bloated from yesterday’s festivities.

How was your Christmas beautiful you?  Was it good?  Did you get to spend it with people who make you feel special and loved?  Or was it like pulling teeth and you could not wait to get through it, wishing like hell it was over?

I have had many of those in my time, but yesterday, for me, was lovely.  There were no dramas, no person who spoiled the festivities, no awkward moments.  It was a day filled with the proverbial love and laughter and boy, am I so grateful for that.

Life has an uncanny way of not working out how we want it to go and I have admit that in the run up to Christmas I was not feeling it all that much.  There were Christmas posts by bloggers in their thousands, but I just couldn’t find the mojo to write it.  A sadness settles over me at this time of year, and I do find it difficult to connect with this time of year.

I worry about those people who will be on their own, who don’t have a home or food, who are completely overwhelmed by this time of year.  I worry about the over indulgence of it all, how commercial it has all become.  As I waited in the queues to purchase my own christmas items, I watched with dismay the amount of packaging that covers even the smallest thing, and I couldn’t help but think over 2 billion people world wide celebrate this time of year and all of it is going to find itself into landfill.

Yes, I know, it’s all rather depressing.

But then the day came, and all those worries were suspended for just that day and I was so lucky to have an amazing day to celebrate just being with family and friends that do just love each other, who want to be together.  It is a beautiful thing and for me, truly does represent the true spirit of christmas.

Our christmas tree this year with presents for the 12 people that joined us.
Our christmas tree this year with presents for the 12 people that joined us.
The christmas table all ready for family & friends
The christmas table all ready for family & friends
The table lovingly set to add to the festivities
The table lovingly set to add to the festivities

Despite how commercial Christmas has become, I do love the ritual of the festival.  I imagine what it would have been like in the pagan times, preparing for the winter solstice, gathering food, creating hand made gifts, the congregation of the entire village at a time when hibernation would have been the order of the day.  It is in that spirit that christmas exists and if we can reclaim that in some small way, then it doesn’t become invalidated, doesn’t become tainted somehow.

Miss J and I having some selfie fun
Miss J and I having some selfie fun
Mr C and I getting the food ready for the day
Mr C and I getting the food ready for the day
The one of the four of us.  We haven't had a family photo of us in a while, so this one is extra special
The one of the four of us. We haven’t had a family photo of us in a while, so this one is extra special
This was made my Miss J and Baby C for me.  Gogo is such an unusual name for a grandmother, so this means the world to me.  It now has pride of place on my "special tree"
This was made my Miss J and Baby C for me. Gogo is such an unusual name for a grandmother, so this means the world to me. It now has pride of place on my “special tree”

But that is all over now for another year.

And now it is Boxing Day, and so we look to the New Year.  We look to a new beginning.

But before we can look forward, we have to look back.  It is helpful to reflect.  What was 2014 like for you?  What were your highs, your lows?

2014 promised to be a great new year, but by mid-january, my depression had gripped me so badly that on the recommendation of a friend, I went to see an art therapist.  She recommended I begin a blog and so I started an amazing blogging course with the lovely Pip Lincolne from Meet Me At Mikes, called Blog with Pip.

When I began that course in February, I had absolutely no idea just what journey I would be taking.  To say it has been life changing is not an understatement.  This space, that first began with The Imperfect Crafter, and then transitioned to the Sarah’s Heart Writes that you see today, has opened up my heart, my faith in humanity and has afforded me opportunities I never thought possible.

I had no idea what I wanted to write about, or who would read it.  I went through highs and lows.  I got caught up in the competitiveness of wanting to make heaps of money (with no product to sell) to returning to my authentic self of just writing from the heart.

I wrote a post about how I had Androgenetic Alopecia, how I got a new wig, and even found the courage to post a photo of myself bald, which has had the amazing effect of me now speaking openly about my baldness and even removing my wig to show people how it actually works.  This is something I would never ever have imagined possible just 10 months ago.

As I kept showing up, my voice emerged, speaking more and more of those things that meant the most to me.  I opened up an Instagram account and started to post a regular kindness bomb, to remind people that even though they might not feel like it at the time, they matter, they are valued and they are loved.  The response to those have been humbling.

#kindnessbomb no 71,
#kindnessbomb no 71,

I met an amazing group of women who I now speak to on a daily basis.  We encourage and champion each other every single day.  We all started our blogging journey at the same time, and we all have our own strengths to offer.  Just like friends meeting for coffee for a good old natter, we show up every morning online and talk about life, love and blogging.  I have been astounded how quickly these women have made it into my heart, the depth of which I care for these human beings.  I have also been so grateful for their love and kindness towards me, for it is through this unconditional love and encouragement, that I have learned to trust in life again and Mr C has noticed a marked reduction in my depressive episodes, noting that even when they do occur, they are of a much less intensity and don’t last as long.

That has been the best gift of all with this journey.

But, of course, like the yin and yang of life, there have been some lows.

Mr C and I both had awful health this year.  I had pancreatitis and had to undergo a fairly major operation.  My liver enzymes were so off the chart that the hospital staff did not want to believe that I had been sober for 4 years.  They were convinced I was a heavy alcoholic.  Luckily my surgeon has known me for three of those four years and stepped in to assure them.  The operation brought with it its own complications – it was discovered I have a minor heart condition known as Idiopathic Non-Sustained Ventricular Tachycardia.  I’m highly unlikely to drop dead from it, but it will need monitoring for the rest of my life.

I also broke my wrist which has been a slow healing process.

Mr C had Occipital Neuralgia, a debilitating condition that caused him to have a 96 hour migraine and then later in the new year, Mr C had to undergo emergency surgery for two slipped discs that were at risk of causing him to become permanently incontinent.  Luckily, the operation has been a success, but the healing process has been slow and that is frustrating for a man who cycled the Tour de France route last year.

So heading into 2015, our big goal is our health.

I have undertaken to stop talking about losing weight and to actually do it.  My goal is to be my goal weight by the end of 2015 and that will require a weight loss of 35kgs.  Not a small job, but like my blog, if I just keep showing up, little by little I will find my groove and my health will improve and I know that will have a knock on effect in ways that I probably can’t imagine right now but will be amazing to look back on this time next year.

Some changes will take place on the blog.  I want to talk more of the kindness of humanity, in a world where the only media we are subjected to is its darkness.  I want to talk about social justice and how we can make a difference in practical, easy ways that make sense to us.  I will always talk about what is going on in my heart.

There are some skills I would like to gain:

Learning to use my DSLR camera, learning to do Hand Lettering, learning to get out more (being the reclusive animal I am).

So as we head into 2015, I wish you all health, happiness, self love and care and a healthy dose of sun and laughter.

I look forward to connecting with you all in the new year, so that our journey together can continue, so that we can walk on the boardwalk of life, arm in arm, whistling a tune that makes sense to each of us.

Thank you for reading my blog, especially as I am not one for a short post (1374 words and counting).  I am so grateful to have this space to share with you and for the fact that you read it.

See you on the other side of new year’s eve.  Make it a good one.

Much love,

SHW Signature