Tag Archives: Australia

Wise Words: Standing Up.

Source.

 

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

~ Japanese Proverb


With everything that has been going on in our world recently, flooding, hurricanes, volcanoes, and now the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, it’s easy to fall. It’s easy fall, and it’s even easier to stay down.

A good thing about being a westerner in China is that I don’t watch television. I don’t see the news, the sensationalism, the fear based headlines or the warnings of armageddon.

I have a friend living in Japan at the moment, thankfully she is fine, but she is feeling a lot of  frustration with the sensationalism of the news being shown around the world, as it is only focussing on the worst case scenarios, causing her family so much worry and anxiety. Not to mention the fact that she herself doesn’t know what to believe, with conflicting stories and a lot of misinformation going around.

If I was back home in Australia while all this was going on, I would be sitting in front of the TV, frozen in fear and too overwhelmed to be of any use.

Even seeing all the tweets about what’s happening, and what people think of it, is way too much for me. All it does is bring me down. I can’t help anyone if I’m down.

My heart breaks for all the people who have lost their lives, and the survivors who have lost their homes and loved ones. I fear for my friends who live in Japan and for myself as I am so close to the destruction. I fear the future and what challenges mother nature will bring us next. I want to help as much as I can.

But focussing on the news, the pain, and the fear only serves to weaken us.

If we are going to get through this, we need to be strong. We need to be strong just as the people of Japan are being strong. They are showing us what we need to do.

They have fallen, but they are standing back up.

They are the people who are in the most danger, the people who are suffering the most, but they are also the people who are handling it the best. They are focussing on what’s most important, and they are getting things done.

Most of all, they aren’t losing hope. They are opening their hearts. And so are we.

I read an amazing post written by a woman named Anne, who is living in Sendai, a town that has been completely devastated. In this inspiring Letter From Sendai, Anne is full of love and gratitude for everything she has, and writes about the powerful change that is occurring in our world right now:

“Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide.

My brother asked me if I felt so small because of all that is happening. I don’t. Rather, I feel as part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.”

If Anne can be right in the middle of the destruction, and still see the good that is shining through the rubble, and even feel how the world is evolving as a result, then surely we can too.

Focussing on the love, the kindness and the compassion that is being shared during this time is the only way we can get through this, and become stronger, wiser, more awakened people in the process.

It’s time to stand up.


“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”

~ Ivy Baker Priest

 

Good News:

 

A four month old baby was found amongst the rubble, alive and well, 72 hours after the quake and tsunami hit. Source.

 

More Good News:

Daily Good: Human Spirit Rises to Meet Japan’s Tsunami

 

How You Can Help:

 

If you are able to donate, Jen Fromal and I have set up a donation page for the American Red Cross Earthquake Relief on our fundraising page for our 30DaysOfBeauty Project.


Here are some other ways you can help:

Tonic Blog: How You Can Help

Roots Of She: Sending Out Love To Japan

Lady Gaga has designed a prayer bracelet to support Japan, with all proceeds going to earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.

The image at the top of this post can be bought as a poster, with proceeds going to the Red Cross and Save The Children.

 

Stay safe, think peace, feel love.



Jen ♥


10 Things I Miss About Australia

 

Me at the beach in early 2010

To celebrate Australia Day, I decided to write a list of all the things I have missed the most about Australia while I’ve been living here in China.

I don’t mean to give a negative impression of China, because I love living here & there are many great things about this country, but I couldn’t write this list without pointing out some of the main differences between China & the country I grew up in, Australia.

I don’t mind these differences at all; they have taught me more about the world & made me more appreciative of where I’ve come from.

10 Things I Miss About Australia:

10. Cleanliness.

Streets that aren’t covered in spit, poo, wee, & rubbish. And the people, who don’t spit everywhere, cough or sneeze on you, use the footpath as a toilet, or throw their trash onto the street.

9. Manners.

Being able to stand in the line at the supermarket without someone pushing in front of you, or moving your groceries off the counter & putting their’s there instead. Being around people who don’t steal your seat on the train, push you, poke you or stare at you everywhere you go.

8. Western Toilets.

Public toilets that are more than just holes in the ground, & that already provide toilet paper so that you don’t have to carry it around with you every time you go out. Plumbing that is strong enough to handle flushing toilet paper, instead of having to put it in a bin.

7. Tight Arse Tuesday.

Tight arse Tuesday is cheap cinema ticket day back home. I miss the whole experience of going to the movies; deciding what to see, dinner beforehand, waiting in line for the tickets, getting popcorn, watching the previews… I miss not being able to do that whenever I like.

6. BBQs.

Hanging around the BBQ, chatting with friends, & enjoying the sunshine. Good food, good music, & good people.

5. Family & Friends.

I couldn’t write a list of what I miss about home without including my family & friends. They are the people that make life worth living & miss me just as much as I miss them.

4. Food.

Tim Tams. Twisties. Salt & vinegar chips. Potato cakes from the fish & chip shop. Vegetarian options pretty much everywhere you go. Luckily, we still have some vegemite left over from our last package from home 🙂

3. The Beaches.

All my life, I’ve always been only a short drive or a long tram ride away from the beach. Here, the closest beach is an overnight train away. I feel almost claustrophobic being so far away from the ocean. One of the first things I’m doing when I get home is heading to the beach to sit on the sand & watch the waves.

2. The Aussie Accent.

As I sit here listening to the Triple J Hottest 100, I’m enjoying listening to the hosts voices more than the music. I miss the accent, the slang, & the laid back ‘yeah nah yeah’s.

1. The Aussie Attitude.

The chilled out, laid back, & ‘she’ll be right, mate’ attitude that makes Australia such a relaxing place to live. Being always ready to have a laugh or help someone out, & the focus on the important things, like family, friends & enjoying life.

Happy Australia Day!

Check back tomorrow for a special Wise Words post!

Jen ♥

The Importance Of Self-Acceptance

“I highly recommend inviting the worst-case scenario into your life.”

~ Portia de Rossi in Unbearable Lightness


I love books that change my life, & I just finished reading ‘Unbearable Lightness – A Story Of Loss & Gain’, by Portia de Rossi, &  it has already had a profound affect on the way I see the world.

It is such an amazing book. I couldn’t put it down.

In this beautiful memoir, de Rossi describes her childhood, her early career as a model, & her rise to fame after being cast in the hit show of the 90s, Ally McBeal.

But this isn’t just a book about Hollywood or an autobiography detailing the fairytale life of a seemingly normal girl from Geelong (near my hometown of Melbourne), Australia.

It’s so much more than that.

It’s about a girl who grew up feeling as though she wasn’t pretty enough or worthy enough to be loved by anyone, including herself. It’s about a girl who feels lost, & overwhelmed by the pressure to look, think & act a certain way in order to gain the approval of others & ‘fit in’. But most of all, it’s about a girl who, after overcoming the hardest challenges of her life, learns to love & accept herself for who she really is.

Isn’t that something we can all relate to?

De Rossi describes in detail how the pressure of the media & her low self-esteem lead her to anorexia & bulimia, & how terrified she was of the world finding out about her sexuality.

Portia reveals all of her vulnerabilities, sharing every thought she had about herself & about food during that dark time, from her extreme exercise routines & weighing small portions of food to the paranoia & anxiety at the thought of fat cells growing on her body.

This book has really opened my eyes & helped me to gain some sort of understanding of what it is like to have an eating disorder; the thoughts, the perceptions, the anxiety, & the lying & maintenance that is required to keep up such a painful ritual.

I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book as heartbreakingly honest & authentic as Unbearable Lightness. There’s nothing I love more than someone who is brave enough to be their complete authentic self, imperfections & all.

This is a must read for anyone who has ever felt less than or has struggled with self-acceptance. I’ve even read a few opinions of the book from girls living with eating disorders, saying they really related to de Rossi’s story & found it comforting to know that they weren’t alone in their illness & that there really is hope for recovery.

As for me, this book has made me question how much I focus on the way I look, & the ending was so beautiful, truthful, & wise that I don’t think I will ever stress about food or weight or exercise ever again.

Unbearable Lightness has helped me to discover more about myself & accept myself more than I ever have before.

I am who I am, whether that be straight or bisexual. It doesn’t matter.

And I look the way I look, whether that be a size 8 or a size 14. It doesn’t matter.

All that matters is that I love & accept myself for exactly who I am.

And the same goes for you.

You are who you are, & who you are is AWESOME.

It doesn’t matter what your sexuality is, what colour your skin is, what language you speak, how much you weigh or anything like that. All that matters is that you can accept yourself for who you are, & love yourself, flaws & all.

I’ll finish with another quote:

“The hotness is not about age, looks, body type, race – it is about honesty, knowing who you are and being who you are, without trying to front like you are better than you are. It is about the deep down authenticity of self, then living it, loving it and looking it.”

~ Margaret Cho

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011! :D

“Cheers to a new year and another chance

for us to get it right.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

At the beginning of 2010, I had two major goals; sell one of my paintings; & travel overseas.

In April, I achieved & my first goal. In fact, not only did I sell a painting, ten of my original pieces were featured in my first ever art exhibit.

That whole experience was so much fun, from creating a theme that promoted women empowerment & self-love, & spending the first few months of the year doing nothing but painting every day, to sending out the invites & the excitement of opening day.

It was AWESOME & it felt so right that I know I will be doing it again in the future.

At my first art exhibit

Next to one of my paintings

Three months later, I achieved my second goal of 2010, when I moved overseas for a year. This goal wasn’t just a 2010 goal; it was a goal I had dreamt of achieving for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I still can’t believe that I’ve actually done it!

On our way to China!

Arriving at Beijing Airport

Exploring Daqing

Outside of a Buddhist temple in Hailar, Inner Mongolia

I’ve crossed off a few other things from my life goals list this year too; getting engaged; using my artistic skills to help raise money for charity; & experiencing a white Christmas.

Just after Mike proposed ♥

Nonprofit campaign promo I designed

My first 'snowing' experience!

White Christmas!

Then there’s just the bonus experiences & moments that were completely unplanned but will always be great achievements in themselves. Things like white water rafting in the mountains of far north China, walking through the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where I also explored underground Japanese tunnels from before WWII, & most recently, starting this blog & being published on Tiny Buddha.

Rafting

Inner Mongolian Grasslands

Underground Japanese tunnels

My Tiny Buddha Guest Post!

I am so grateful for everything I have accomplished, experienced, seen & learned this year. I know I have come a long way, & traveled on a path with many highs & lows & even some u-turns, but I couldn’t be happier with where it has all lead me.

So, I wave goodbye to 2010, with a big, cheesy smile & a heart full gratitude for everything it brought me.

Now, it’s time to say ‘Hello!’ to 2011, I welcome this new year with open arms & another big, cheesy smile.

My major goals for 2011 are:

  • Walk along the Great Wall of China
  • Go to the Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Return home to Melbourne
  • Marry the love of my life

Mike & I at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens

♥ Mikey & Me ♥

I have a few other goals that I’m already working on, such as finding more ways to use my blog & art to inspire others, collaborate with amazing women to make something awesome, & learn Mandarin.

Another goal of mine is to post to this blog at least once a week in 2011, so I signed up to do the WordPress Post Challenge. Part of signing up means I have to mention it in a blog, so:

‘I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.’

Most of all, I just want to take a lot of action in 2011. I’ve been trying to decide whether ACTION should be my word for 2011 (I mentioned this to someone who commented here recently), it’s either going to be ACTION or INSPIRE. Then there’s always the option of combining them to make INSPIRED ACTION. Yes, I think that’s it.

2011 is my year to take inspired action.

By the end of 2011, I want to be a better version of myself. I want to be stronger, wiser, much more confident & independent, & I want to have achieved a lot & have really made a positive impact on the world.

So, my goals are set, my hopes are high & I’m ready for the AWESOMENESS of 2011! 😀

As you say goodbye to 2010 & welcome 2011, think of how far you’ve come over the past twelve months.

Remember the good times & how much happiness you felt, & consider the not-so-good-times & the lessons they brought you.

Think of all those special moments that you will always treasure, & take note of all the things & people you are grateful for from 2010.

Now, imagine how amazing 2011 is going to be. Think of all those positive things & people that made 2010 so great, & imagine all of that & more being a part of 2011.

Last week I wrote a post about how we have the power to choose the kind of day we have; imagine the possibilities if we apply that knowledge & power to an entire year! As long as we remember to enjoy the great times & learn from the challenges we face, there’s no stopping us!

Let’s make this our best year yet!

Here’s to 2011! 😀

Jen ♥

Moments, Wonder & Letting Go.

Before I continue with the #reverb10 prompts, I just want to point out the little snowflakes you’re seeing floating down the screen – aren’t they awesome?!

It’s been snowing here in Daqing – something I had never experienced before coming here – & I’m in love with it. It’s so peaceful & playful, not to mention gorgeous! So I thought I would share it with all of you, especially those people reading this back home in Australia, enjoying the summer 🙂

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Two moments come to mind immediately.

#1: The night that Mike proposed to me.

It was on our four year anniversary, we spent the weekend in a beautiful cabin in Ocean Grove, a beachside town we love so much. We had dinner at a really cool Mexican restaurant. After dinner, we went to the beach. We sat on the sand for a while, looking out at the ocean & up at the cloudy night sky.

As we sat, Mike started this long speech about us, & how much he loves me. His words started to become a bit incoherent, like he wasn’t even concentrating on what he was saying, & I realized he was trying to distract me from the fact that he was fumbling around for something in his pocket. Next thing I knew, he was on one knee, holding open the engagement ring box & proposing.

I could hardly see the ring because it was so dark but I didn’t care, the love of my life & my best friend in the whole world was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him! It was awesome. I said yes (of course!) &, after Mike did a few victory laps along the beach, we spent some more time looking at the ocean & the stars, which had come out from behind the clouds to celebrate with us.

#2: Our first day in China.

This was both incredibly liberating & intensely terrifying.

The first thing I noticed was how hot it was, a surprising but nice change to the freezing Melbourne weather I was experiencing just the day before.

During the drive from the airport into Daqing, I remember thinking how beautiful it was; the sun was bright & the sky was a clear blue, & for most of the ride we only saw paddocks & lots of green empty land. But the closer we got to the city, the more daunting it all became.

I started to notice the hundreds of huge oilrigs all over the place, as well brick huts – falling apart but clearly still lived in – then they were replaced with huge buildings that looked completely abandoned. Out the window I saw a new Honda on one side of our van & a donkey pulling a cart on the other.

Then all of a sudden we were right in the middle of everything: surrounded by so many cars going in every direction; groups of men sitting shirtless on street corners; more donkey carts selling fruit; run-down shops & apartment buildings; & there were people everywhere! As the van pulled into a car park, I was praying that that wasn’t the neighbourhood we were going to be living in. (It was – & I grew to love it!)

Our first meal was in a dumpling restaurant, where I felt even more overwhelmed. Even more people, so much noise, people yelling over each other in a language I didn’t understand, the heat, men sitting at dinner tables with their shirts pulled half way up their chest to reveal their huge stomachs… And every single one of those people was staring at us. I remember sitting at our table, drinking the hugest bottle of beer I have ever seen, & being completely terrified. That night, I remember lying in bed, feeling exhausted, & wondering what the hell we had gotten ourselves into.

Of course, even though that was all just culture shock, most of you know that things didn’t really get better until they got much, much worse. But China isn’t scary to me anymore, you get used to all the differences & things that seem weird, gross, or scary, become quite normal. I love it here now!

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

This one is easy! Travel! Seeing places you’ve never seen (or even heard of!) before is an awesome way to bring a sense of wonder into our lives. Even if it’s just traveling to the other side of town for a day, or doing something you’ve never done before 🙂

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

I’ve let go of a lot of fears this year. Particularly fear of failure.

The day that I was fired, all I could think about was what others would think of me. I thought about my family being disappointed, my friends feeling sorry for me, & those few people from my past who would take pleasure from my failings & use it to boost their own egos.

I was humiliated, & didn’t want anyone to know what had happened, how I had failed so massively.

But now, literally thousands of people from all over the world know my story, you all know about my ‘crushed dream’. Everyone in my family knows, my friends know, & if things like facebook & twitter haven’t informed those people, who I let go of years ago, of my imperfections, then gossip sure has.

And I couldn’t be more comfortable with that.

Yes, my family knows everything; & they have never been more proud of me. My friends know everything; & they have never been more supportive. And to anyone who takes pride in counting my flaws; go ahead! First to 100 wins a lollipop 🙂

Not only has sharing my story with the world helped others; it’s helped me. I’ve let go of caring about what others think of me. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to be vulnerable sometimes; it’s a part of being human. And I’m over all the phoniness & the quest for perfection. It’s getting old fast.

I’m here to be real. Now.

I’ve seen people trip over their own feet, fall flat on their face & get up quickly, denying their faults & blaming someone else for tripping them up.

This year, I’ve learnt not to care about who sees me fall.

If I fall, I know I’m falling for a reason. I’ll stay down for a little while, feel the pain, learn what I need to, then get back up & start again. Maybe even have a chuckle at myself for losing my balance like that.

So, this year I have let go of my fear of failure. After all, as the Simpson’s character Lenny says:

“Eh, everyone makes mistakes. That’s why they put erasers on pencils.”

Jen ♥

Day 4: Photography!

Welcome to Day 4 of Art Every Day Month! I decided to go for a walk around my neighbourhood here in Daqing & take some photos as my creative task for the day.

Leeks hanging outside our building.

The street outside our gated complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in Heilongjiang province, which is the northern most province of China – in between Russia & North Korea. It’s funny to think that I’m living in the oil capital of China, a big city with a population of over 2 million people, when only a few months ago I was in Melbourne & had never even heard of Daqing. But now here I am, experiencing an amazingly different world than the one I grew up in.

Cropped photo of the entrance to one of the many apartment buildings.

Our graffiti covered front door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the biggest differences we are experiencing at the moment is the weather. Back home the southern hemisphere, we would usually be getting ready for summer right about now, but instead we are wearing huge winter jackets & even buying balaclavas for when winter really hits over the next couple of weeks. The temperature in winter often reaches -30°C, something I have certainly never experienced before! It has already snowed once & the rivers are starting to freeze…

The small river near our building, starting to freeze.

 

 

 

So, that’s my art for today! And now you also know a little bit more about me & my life 🙂

Keep Smiling! 🙂

Jen xo

An Introduction…

In this, my very first post on this blog, I am going to attempt to tell you who I am & what I’m doing here… Even though I don’t even know the answers to those questions myself just yet 🙂

So, I will be very brief. This is me in point form:

  • My name is Jen 🙂
  • I’m 23.
  • Originally from Melbourne, Australia but currently living in Daqing, Northern China for a year.
  • I’m an artist – I paint, draw, photograph, photoshop, print, write… I’m also a qualified Makeup Artist.
  • I’m engaged to an awesome, afro-haired, incurable optimist named Mike.

In this blog I will be writing about whatever I’m interested in at any one time, as well as things/people/places that inspire me, lessons I’ve learned, experiences I’ve had… as it says in the ‘About Me’ section; I’m addicted to learning new things & am constantly finding new thought-provoking quotes, books, websites, people, stories, places etc that inspire me & I wanted a place to put all these things together, as well as include my own experiences, thoughts & creations that may be able to inspire others.

Some topics I intend to cover include; art; philosophy; spirituality; health; music; books; tv/film; self-discovery; relationships; travel; career… & I’m sure many other subjects will pop up too. If people read my posts & find inspiration from them, then that’s awesome, if not that’s fine too 🙂

I’m on a quest to find more meaning & truth in my life & the world & I hope to use this blog as a way to document my findings.

I’ll leave it at that for now, it’s a very brief introduction I know, but seeing as this blog will be written by me & about me, there’s no doubt that much more will be revealed with every post.

Until then, Peace 🙂

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