Gratefully Imperfect

I was an organisation freak
So structured
So rigid
So uncreative
Stifling my own and others’ flow
With an eight sided To-Do List
And a review of the To-Dos every day
And no chance of ever getting it all To-Done

And then I broke
And then I got help

The lady said ….
“You seem to be a perfectionist?”
My head said ….
“That’s a good thing right?”
“That kinda sounds like a compliment in my ears?”

It wasn’t
It was a curse
It meant, when depressed
If I couldn’t do everything
I wouldn’t be able to do anything

It meant that ….

It meant I never created
It meant I put my work, and finishing that exact thing, exactly right
above everything else in my world
Above my own health
Above the health of my relationships
Above any fun whatsoever

And then in time ….

I am gradually fixing
Not fixed, but improved
Embracing imperfection
My quirks, my ‘Ducks-Don’t-Stand-In-Rows’ story, my pet peccadilloes
The cracks in my walls where the interesting plants grow

I now create
I am able to move, even just a little
To colour outside of the lines
Or even (God forbid!) draw new lines
Lines I just feel on the day
Whatever squiggle takes my fancy
No measuring or anything
Guided by what my heart says
When my head’s filter is not watching
What a bloody relief

No longer an eight sided To-Do List
Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t lost my mind completely!
I keep reminders. I stick hopeful intentions in a calendar
But if on any given day a To-Do doesn’t get done
I do not flay myself
I say “Yey me!” For the things I was able to do
The days I manage not to spend under a blanket
The days I do something, anything that moves me forward
Even if just for a few small hours
It is a few hours where I’m living not hiding

My name is Gratefully Imperfect
And I am a recovering perfectionist


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After



Australia On My Shoes

Open the cupboard in search of some such
And there they are, those walking shoes
With a film of light red wanderlust
I have Australia on my shoes
And I have powerful pangs
And I have itchy, naked feet
I have ‘Missing Melbourne’ melancholy
I have ‘Not In Australia’ blues

My mind once again in Federation Square
With coffee so strong it makes me drunk
Laptop turned away from the light
A brief sojourn, to watch, to write
Slightly too hot, slightly too tired
Food planning. Next stage of trip scanning
Absorbing the hubbub and bright effervescence
Contemplating smashed avocado
Soaking up our many blessings

A powerful urge to be by the sea
Gliding on bicycle
Shaded by tree
Ice-cream, more coffee
Bronzing limbs swinging free
Breeze sloughs weight from shoulders
Kite flight hair, flaps with glee

Careful footprints
Anticipating creatures
Unique features
Palette up to ten
Red rock and rainforest
Wild surf and storm
Crazy rain and scorched earth
I must be there again

In my cupboard upstairs
Hides a dust of a magical hue
Your energy shimmers inside me still
And I will come back to you


Copyright © 2017 · Words & Images · Forty and Everything After

But then Prince died …. An Anniversary

One year ago today, I arrived back in London after an incredible 5 weeks in Australia. One year ago today, I was in a taxi heading out for dinner with my mum and dad, when I heard some news over the radio I couldn’t believe ….
Prince was dead.

Only a handful of days later, my sorrow over the death of this inspirational creator was the catalyst (a.k.a. Kick Up The Ass) I needed to finally release some of my own words into the wild. The result being this here blog and the blog post below.Read More »

Tiny Perfect Moments – Last Chance Kangaroo

We were warned on arrival that it was still the back end of snake season, and so we should exercise caution as we made our way around the campsite and the surrounding area. Dawn and dusk were the times we should be most alert to the possibility of slithery visitors.

This was my final weekend in Australia. My last hurrah was to be spent at a beautiful woodland camp, invited by some very dear friends of mine, to enjoy three days of musical fun and frolics. Though music making, singing and socialising were the main goals of this jaunt, I had one other aspiration I hoped to fulfil. It was my last chance to see a wild kangaroo.

Though I had been in Australia for 5 whole weeks, and was thankful to have seen a number of wild creatures, including baby crocs, various spidery fellows (who I admit are my biggest fear), the most beautiful fishies and their seafaring friends at the Great Barrier Reef, and countless birds of every size, hue and volume, I had not seen either of the continent’s most iconic marsupials, the kangaroo and the koala. I had seen one kangaroo on my travels, but this was sadly in a cage and was not a happy sight to see. I hadn’t seen a koala bear at all (apart from one very large stuffed example in a shop window in St Kilda). I was hoping that this final journey into the wilderness might offer up some magic.Read More »

Fly Away, Flutter-Thoughts

Marauding branches grab at me
“Think about this thing!”
“Focus on that!”
Determined to undermine and attack
They tangle and they trip
As I wrestle and I ache
I must resist these disturbing limbs
For my peace of mind’s sweet sake

And then ….
One simple step forward
And the ground becomes clear
Those sinister bows, no longer near
Just the grass and the sky
A fallen log draws my eye
Just breathe
Soak it in
This is where we begin

But I sense still some creeping
Small prickles of mischievous intent
I reach for the log, I steady myself
I will not, I cannot, I Must Not! relent
This clearing is my saviour
The dark limbs, where dread still lies
I sit and breathe, and breathe and then ….
I’m joined by butterflies

A gentle landing on my hand
Another by my side
I smile at the creature in my palm
Wings lift on my softening sigh
And the delicate beauty that sits with me
Rests briefly then flutters away
Another settles. Such vibrant hues
I admire, but it cannot stay

Gentle creatures, as you swoop and swirl
Know that I appreciate your worth
But I will not come fly with you right now
I must rest here on this earth
In this place, at this time, upon this log
Where you settle, then silently leave
Dear flutter-thoughts, I’ll join you soon
But for now I must just simply breathe.


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After

Meditation Doesn’t Just Happen In The Meditation Room

Guest post originally written for BayArt.Org

I recently started going to a meditation group. Having attended an 8-week Mindfulness Course in the past, and then subsequently sought out a weekly Mindful Yoga group at my local Buddhist Centre, I knew that these activities had the potential to have me floating around in the world (at least for an afternoon) in a serene, compassionate and appreciative state. I was very disappointed when my Mindful Yoga class was discontinued, as I knew it did me good. And, at a time when I was recovering from depression, it was helpful to have this positive space in my week that I felt motivated enough to get out from under the blanket for.Read More »

Please Listen To Me When I Say “Leave It Be!”

My soul cries out to me in pain
My God, dear girl! You are at it again!
You’re trying to force the path ahead
Could you not, just once, pay heed instead?
To the wisdom and guidance I try to convey
It’s for your own good at the end of the day

Today you created a marvellous mess
In attempts to resolve your immediate stress
I did gently try to say this was so
But your mind was made up. You did not want to know
A cock-up ensued, which I tried to foretell
But you wouldn’t be told, and things did not go well

You got it all wrong, ended up in a haimes
I so wish you would listen. I’m not here to play games
Offering you my wise counsel is my primary role
So I’m pained by your sobs that I can’t then console
I did try yelling “Leave it!”. And what’s worse is you knew!
When you finally crumpled, I hoped then I’d got through

And this morning you see it, with a clarity so bright
When I asked you to leave it, perhaps I was right?
I love and respect you, say such things for your good
So if I’m screaming “Please leave it!?”, please consider you should
We make such a great combo when we work as a team
Could create our own gold-dust, if you’d just heed my screams

Love, Soul 


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After