When Life Gives You Lemons

When Life Gives You Lemons

Fifteen years ago I became a mum. I left the workforce and became a full time stay at home parent. Still wanting to keep my mind active I studied to become a swimming teacher but ended up paying more out in childcare fees than my actual wage. When my second baby arrived I decided to put my work life on hold until he was a little more independent. That was 11 years ago. When my youngest was heading off to four year old kindergarten I thought great, now I can get back into work and start contributing to the household finances, then I was diagnosed with cancer. That was 7 years ago.

Over the last seven years I have worked a casual job which ended rather abruptly after I had a dumping episode. Unfortunately a side effect of living without a stomach and a boss who was not willing to compromise. I’ve also done contract work but the pay and the hour and 20 minute round trip wasn’t even covering my petrol.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of pluses.  I get to stay at home, attend children’s events at school, dont have to compromise my boss if any of the kids are home sick, volunteer my time to the school community, eat when I want, rest when I want, go out when I want and work on my art portfolio. Its like being on one big holiday only there is no sightseeing or spending money and you have to motivate yourself to get out of bed every single day.

Sacrificing all the things that come with working full time and being able to up skill in the creative sense has been the most selfish and fulfilling part of being at home. Launching a website and Page on Facebook, doing commissioned art pieces for people all over the world. Pushing myself on a daily basis to be better, to be more visible, to extend my experiences into meditation classes, art classes, craft workshops. Advertising, daily posts, sticking flyers up around local shops. Expand, expand, expand, doing what I love in the hope that I can not only help others but give my family the financial freedom we so desire.  Here I am nearly eight years down the track and I feel like a bit of a failure. I am so tired. So tired of trying to balance my health, my family, my support page and my business. So tired of feeling guilty for not being able to financially contribute to the family income, so tired of feeling I am not where I thought I would be.  Watching others around me so motivated, meditating daily for blasts of inspiring feel good posts, feeling into the rhythm of the universe and working with the cycles of the moon, bla bla bla, plastering positivity all over their social media, watching friends who have their shit together and feeling I could be doing more,  I should be doing more, I need to be seeing and being more.  But I can’t because I am SO TIRED of trying and failing.  Seriously, there are only so many times you can pick yourself up before you have to stop and reevaluate your entire life and the current direction you are facing. And now a quiet pause…….

“Hey Spirit, here is your opportunity to send that big bolt of 
lightening I have been waiting for.” 

I can understand why so many amazing Artists simply give up trying to make a living from their Art. I really wanted to be the exception. After all I am a walking miracle and by all accounts I shouldn’t be alive right now. Should’nt that mean something? Didn’t God let me live so that I could see out a much greater purpose? I thought I’d been grasping life by the big kahunas to create the successful abundant life I deserve, but I haven’t succeeded and being granted a second chance at life doesn’t make me special, it just makes me extremely lucky.  My life holds no more value than anyone else’s. My experiences certainly make me look at life with a different perspective and I always look for every possibility.  If I didn’t I could possibly be the most miserable person on the planet.  Here’s a depiction of me looking miserable with a pair of useless big kahunas.

Is there a part of me that has had a sense of entitlement that because I survived that makes me somehow special? Reality check …… I think there might have been.  My shadow just got a big slap in face and knows this is a complete fabrication to cover up any insecurities and fear around lack and acceptance. Getting through cancer doesn’t make me special, it makes me a liability.  Lets face it letting a few organs go is going to compromise a lot of things and those that say it was a small price to pay to survive, well lets just say that comment is not helpful. They have absolutely no comprehension what price I have had to pay and continue to pay for everyday of my life.  I simply do not have the capacity to work full time anymore. I don’t even know how I will cope part time. If I disclose the reasons for the gap in my of employment then I can almost guarantee that no matter how experienced I am or how much of a kind competent person I maybe, my resume will be cast aside quicker than yesterday’s newspaper.  Let’s just look at the term cast aside for a moment. Abandoned, unwanted, undervalued, overlooked, ignored, forgotten, unused, depreciated, declined, passed over. Ever fiber in my being fights these words every single day, consciously and unconsciously.  PTSD is very real in my world and it comes out in various ways, some of them extremely healing and creative and some not so constructive.

What does success look like anyway?
A large social media following? –  These people probably have no time for anything else or they have lots of people working for them so stop comparing.
A healthy bank account? –  Who doesn’t want an endless supply of cash but think about all of the things that are sacrificed in order to have this, including being with the most important people in your life.
A balanced body? –  This is hard work in every sense of the word.
A great job?  – Whats that? Unless you are extremely fortunate to love what you do or work for yourself in which case there are also big sacrifices.
Holidays? – That was nice for all of three seconds, now go chain yourself back to your desk in a job you hate with people you don’t really like but have to tolerate so you can save up for your next holiday.
Healthy relationships? –  Saying no, creating boundaries, letting toxic people go no matter how much it hurts – did I also mention hard work.
Lots of friends? – The more friends you have the more drama you are likely to be pulled into – keep your circle small.
Just the fact that you have somewhere soft and warm to sleep with food in your cupboards? – Some may call that gratitude others might call that living in survival energy. Either way it’s all a matter of perspective.

I am also under no illusion that what people post is what they want you to see.  Most people do not  want other people to see that they are not coping, that their marriage is falling apart, that they cant afford to feed themselves, there are bills on the fridge they cant pay, that their health is failing, that their job is taking a mental and physical toll on their well-being and that life can sometimes be really tough.  A beautiful made up face and cute baby photos do not equate to a good sleep and a well adjusted baby!  All the misconceptions and in-authenticity out there in social media land causes a ripple of self doubt and anxiety that we all should be more that what we are or what we are capable of achieving. One big Snap chat filter so the world never has to see the real us.  Even the most positive posts can be full of falseness and fishing for more likes or comments. Ive seen it happen in groups where people strategically reply over several days to comments on posts to bring their post back up to the top of the page for more exposure.  It happens and these people are sprinkling spirituality out of their calculating fingertips. Sometimes I cant work out if I admire their enterprising genius or despise their disingenuous.   Like it or not social media is such an integrated part of our daily lives that it plays a part in what I consider part of my success and some days like today I am just as messed up as the next person.

As I approach my eight year cancer free I am also contemplating what the future holds for me.  But for today I do nothing but write as my head hurts from projecting, my heart aches from my past failures, my body is completely and utterly exhausted and my soul is so so tired. I know this shall pass and when the waves of emotion retreat I will have found another spark of inspiration from God knows where and a renewed sense of hope for better more abundant days to come. If there is one thing I love about me its the fact that I can recognize when I need to stop, retreat and give myself the time to reinvent myself.  Kind of like Madonna but without her bank account!

When life gives you lemons, you say F?@k lemonade. Then google every single recipe you can using lemons!

Michelle <3

The Spiritual Journey Has Nothing To Do With Being Nice

The Spiritual Journey Has Nothing To Do With Being Nice

This quote came up on my news-feed on Facebook this morning and got me to thinking.  There is still the belief that people expect you to be a tree hugging hippie because you are living a ‘spiritual life’. It is like the shadow of religious dogma coming down on you again and people having the perception that because you believe in a higher consciousness that you should walk around being a ‘nice’ person. I’m not sure why they feel you should turn the other cheek and forgive unconditionally then diss you if you don’t.

From my experience, when you start to walk in your truth, when you decide to put boundaries in your life, when you start to honor your space first you may not appear to those around you like a nice person.  You may actually appear like a very selfish one. The reason this occurs is because you start to change and shift and people don’t like that.  They either have to change themselves to continue to be a reflection of you or you leave them behind, which in turn can bring up lots of negative feelings for them.   There are plenty of victims in life and when you shine the light on their bad behavior or no longer tolerate their dramas then they feel they have no other option than to deflect the responsibility of their actions and bad mouth you.  Its like being voted off the Island on the game of Survivor! You can loose entire friendship circles, family members, work colleges. It can sometimes feel like a purging by fire only you do not come out Daenerys Targaryen and you are not the Mother of Dragons!

Instead  you are left with a lightness which can feel like a void. What are you going to possibly do with all this time now you don’t have to sit there in drama?  You are going to get out and live the creative life you were born to live, that’s what you are going to do. Find your purpose, reconnect with your spirit, do things that make you happy and love those important people in your life that make your heart smile.  Embrace the shadow side of yourself, for there is no Yin without Yang. Learn how to read your negative thoughts and pull them apart piece by piece until you locate the real reason why you feel like you do.  Self truth is an incredibly confronting thing and it pushes you out of your comfort zone.  Not everyone is ready for that, and that is why not everyone is ready to go on a ‘spiritual journey’. I’m not going to lie, it can sometimes make you feel very alone especially around those special milestones when you realize that you no longer have enough genuine ‘friends and family’ to invite to fill a room to help you celebrate.

If being real has lost me friends, then I know the one’s I have gained since and continue to meet are the ones I allow to enter into my sacred space.  I still struggle and like all humans I have an inner craving to be accepted. The last six years of my life has seemed like a tidal wave, all the old was washed away and I am more confident with who I am and why I am here, and realize that I may not always appear to be ‘nice’, but I’m okay with that.

“Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.”

“Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.”

“Some old wounds never truly heal, and bleed again at the slightest word.” 
― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones 

We strive so hard as humans to be happy, spending so much time trying to fill the void.  We go to work, build our nests, take vacations.  It is almost impossible not to feel like a hamster going around a wheel sometimes. ‘Ground Hog Day’ for those that can remember that classic early 90’s film.  A year passes, two years pass then all of a sudden it’s ten. Time has a way of flying and before you know it you are standing there middle aged looking at your life. If you are lucky you may feel somewhat pleased at the job, house, car or family you have surrounded yourself with, but chances are you might be one of those people who are thinking “Well, this didn’t quite work out how I planned it”. 

Everyone has problems; I have never met a person without one.  The degree of those problems and how you handle them however is measured by the amount of personal shit you have had to endure. The type of person you become is molded by how you get through them.  I remember when my brother’s girlfriend was killed in a car accident. I was in my early 20’s and worked at a sports store at the time. I remember looking at customers who took hours pondering over a pair of shoes. I honestly couldn’t believe that someone could waste so much time and energy on something so trivial. It really shook me up and put my life into perspective.  

I have had people through my life that have made their problems their armour. Instead of walking through the fire and becoming an inspiration to others they have chosen to be victims and have spiralled downwards into alcoholic or drug induced depression. It really saddens me, when I see what has become of people I once called friends.  I feel like giving them a bloody good shake. For goodness sake they were the fastest sperm! Surely that has to mean something, but sadly not. And it’s not that I don’t feel for these people, they are simply no longer a reflection of me anymore.  To invite their drama and negativity into my life would tip the fine balance that I have to delicately tend and nurture so I stay a happy and healthy person. 

I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to keeping my life busy. I have lists, for lists. Life simply couldn’t go on without me and I have to fit as much into a day as humanly possible.  I will often forget that not so long ago I was a very sick person. After surgery I was barely able to walk to the car let alone race around a shopping center.  Slowly Ground Hog Day sucks you back into this illusionary world of material happiness and then you get news that slaps you right in the face.
A colleague and friend, someone I consider to be one of the support beams in my life has just been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. This has affected me on so many different levels that I could do nothing but cry for three days.  It is just awful to say that my genuinely upsetting photo on facebook reached a ridiculous 2,332 people. I was very touched by the people that left comments and contacted me personally to see if I was okay. The outpouring of support was comforting but I knew I didn’t need ‘to talk it out’. I needed a few days away and some journaling to help me work out my feelings in all of this. This hit to my heart feels like I have been thrown back into a place of fear and despair. 


 Sometimes the only thing that helps a hurting heart is a paint brush and some loud music. Hug your loved ones tonight peeps. Life can change in a heartbeat xox


My friend has looked after me like a sister and as the years have gone by, we have been able to share more personal experiences inviting each other into parts of our private lives that have forged an emotional sisterhood of sorts. She has seen the birth of my babies, the heartache of my cancer and my slow and steady recovery to wellness. I am so indebted to her and so grateful.  She has genuinely cared for me and my family, and now I feel so totally helpless. I am getting a sense of how people felt when they heard of my diagnosis. 
I have been of working through my cancer issues for four years now. Constantly and consciously looking inwards and working with the shadow side of myself. Committing to meditation and self awareness classes to release the cancer part of me and to help me become an enlightened version of myself. Dedicating my energy to my art and using that as a healing tool.  All the while staying as grounded as I can be with looming genetics and the constant vigil of medical appointments and intrusive procedures.  It is very hard for some people to comprehend the hard work and commitment it takes to stay true to your destiny path. 


A recent visit to the oncology gynaecologist , which at the moment is on my annual ‘to do’ list revealed that the ‘preventative surgery’ of a full hysterectomy should be done sooner rather than later.  My funky MLH1 gene makes way to an increased risk of cancer of the uterus by 60% and ovarian by %15.  Part of me wants to hang onto what I have left for as long as possible, if they take much more out I’ll be a walking tube. The other part never wants to put my family in a position of ‘helplessness’ ever again. Of course there is also the part of me that NEVER EVER wants to go through cancer ever again, and then there is the enlighten part that reassures me that my biography becomes by biology and I may never ever get a cancer again.  This bamboozle of thoughts and emotions is played out almost every day of my life. Hence the small circle of friendships I keep and the immediate rejection of anything toxic which might want to invade and play out in my life.
Emotional? Yes, I am after all a Cancerian.  Sense of humour? Most definitely. It is probably what has helped me get through as much as I have.  The security of the support team I had locked around me is starting to shift again and that is where the most fear has come from. It is embracing change and knowing that nothing in life is set in concrete. My heart however still needs to come to terms with what is to come, although my friend has been given the best of a worse case scenario. If I was to make an analogy of the situation it’s like this – most people think that I would be use to all the medical procedures by now, but infact it is quite the opposite. I know what is coming and that is what makes it even harder to deal with.



The Oversharer

The Oversharer

My personality traits tend to include over-sharing There has been numerous occasions when a little over-sharing has landed me into some warm steamy poop! I can’t help it if I’m the one that points out the elephant in the room.  My sense of humor and quick witted sarcasm usually has undertones of truth all over it! So in my caring over sharing way here’s how to recognize those toxic people in your life and how to get rid of them!
No Integrity – People who think it’s okay to treat you badly because they believe there are no consequences for their actions.  These people have a complete lack of perception about how what they say, or do, effect other people. If they are aware, then they just don’t give a fat rats and probably fit in the narcissistic personality disorder category. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder
Michelle’s over-sharing critique  These people are bought into our life to teach us what NOT to accept.  If their jealously, bitterness, insecurities or just plain nastiness doesn’t have you running for the door, then RUN FORREST RUN. You do not need these people in your life. You are only there to make them feel better about themselves, not the other way around. 
Non Sharers –  People who wont tell you where they bought that pretty scarf, give you a copy of a family recipe to chocolate brownies, how they managed a 5 star holiday on a 2 star budget, share business contacts bla bla bla and the list goes on.

Michelle’s over-sharing critique  These types of people tend to ask lots of questions and have no problems asking you for information, while their minds are constantly ticking away with their own agendas. They typically change the subject, dodge answering direct questions or give vague responses. ‘I bought it somewhere in the city I think, I can’t remember now’. They can be private, thrifty, people who seem to succeed ALOT.   They go on their overseas holiday every other year but won’t share the deals, websites or travel agencies they used. After all, who wouldn’t like to  plan a decent family holiday on a budget?  I don’t understand these people (that’s because I’m an over-sharer). Maybe they feel they have invested so much time and energy planning this for themselves that they have little desire to share the abundance with others. These people are here to teach us what we don’t want in relationships.  A friendship, relationship or partnership is about giving and receiving. There needs to be an equal exchange of energy or it upsets the balance.  Stop giving and see what happens.  I bet you find the relationship just slips away never to be seen again. 

Facebook Stalkers – They never ‘like’ anything. They never comment. They never post,  but they raise their ugly stalker heads if they accidentally drop something in conversation and you’re like ‘WTF? How did you know?’ (oh that’s right we’re FB friends).  Sometimes they don’t even use their own accounts to do it! “OMG” I hear you say. I know, unbelievable isn’t it!  They seem to know everything about you but you know very little if anything about whats going on in their life.   They collate information like mini computers and some even use you to start gossip and create drama in your life (gasp). These FB stalkers also THINK they know you.  FYI – No you don’t FB Stalkers, you see what I choose to share THAT IS ALL!
Michelle’s over-sharing critique Sometimes these people also fit in the NON SHARER category.  I know, scary to think they have a foot in both camps.  These people are here to teach us how to use Facebook! RESTRICTED ACCESS PEOPLE.  PUBLIC posts limit what you share with these types of people. Understandably sometimes you may use restricted status because you don’t want people at work or school encroaching into your personal life, other times its to just keep the busy bodies out! There is also a DE-FRIEND button. Don’t be afraid to use it. 

Last but not least 
Boundary breeches –  Moochers also fit under this category (Someone who always asks for things and favors constantly and will never leave you alone. They will ask for money, rides to places, for you to do simple tasks they could do easily but they think the whole world should cater to them, basically just a leech to everyone around them, a parasite to the community) . Warning – also watch out for the Non sharers and the No Integrity people. These people feel they have a sense of entitlement, take no personal responsibility for their choices or have no boundaries themselves.  All these types of people will encroach on your life taking advantage of your generous giving nature.  Sadly they are usually close friends and family who make the most of putting you in extremely uncomfortable situations where you may feel awkward or embarrassed to have to stand your ground and say NO! Just like that overseas relative who was supposed to crash on your couch for a couple of weeks and is still there three months later.
Michelle’s over-sharing critique The takers will continue to take as long as the givers keep on giving.  STOP DOING IT! You will be surprised at how the dynamics of this type of relationship will change when you do.  The Boundary Breeches may just be No Integrity, Narcissistic Personality Disorder types in ‘sheep’s’ clothing.

 Do yourself a favor and start to eliminate these toxic people from your life.  Take yourself off the SALE shelf and put up the price tag. You and your time are worth so more, so give it to those that truly value you.



How Much Is Too Much?

How Much Is Too Much?


Self prescribing vitamins.,  I’ve been doing it for years. After my stomach cancer and subsequent surgery, I was thrown into a world of supplements and nutritional deficiencies that carry lifelong consequences if I don’t keep on top on things.  Fortunately for me I have blood tests every three months so I can see how most levels are going.   To stay at my optimum every day I religiously down at least 20 vitamin tablets, ½ aspirin and an antibiotic and occasionally throw a few other things in depending on my blood test results.  I don’t do this willy nilly, I do a fair bit of  homework on what will work for me, what I’m already taking and speak to professionals in their field to gauge if my homework reflects their professional option.  This helps me make educated choices but even so I still don’t know if I’m getting it right. I can only go on how I look, feel and how my body is responding to life.  People in my situation are left in a very vulnerable position when it comes to wanting to take care of ourselves and we have to be wary of those who seek to take advantage of that. 

I am raising this topic today because I can’t help but feel really upset and angry at myself at a situation that happened to me earlier in the year.  It was recommended to me that I seek out the help of an Integrative Medical Naturopath.  This is a person who understands western medical practices and can incorporate both medical and naturopathic medicine for the best possible outcome.  As I am not about to leave the comfort of my own home to live naked,  eat organic and grow hairy armpits in the rainforests  of Brazil, I thought ‘Perfect  this is exactly what I have been looking for’.  This person was highly recommended to me by a couple of people so I sent an email entailing my situation and made an appointment. 

Let me start by saying, this person is AMAZING. She was extremely professional and certainly knows her stuff.  She was all about what I could do moving forward and being proactive with my health and how we could monitor my funky cancer genes.  She gave me a few things to try and this ended the consultation. I made a follow up appointment, go to pay and OUCH $270.30!!!  First consultation fees and very little back with my private health (not to mention a 35 minute drive from my house) made for a very expensive round trip.  
Second consult, just as good as the first one. I had handed over my supplement sheet, medical records and blood tests in my previous consult and she had gone away to do her analysis.  More encouraging outcomes and a prescription that needed to be filled by a Compounding Pharmacy. (Pharmacy compounding is an established tradition which allows a physician to prescribe a very specific medication, prepared by a pharmacist, for a patient’s individual needs.) End consultation, make follow up appointment, go to pay….still ouch $129.00 but not quite as bad this time.

A few weeks had gone by and I was following up the prescription with the Pharmacy, turns out one of the ingredients was obviously coming from the arse of a Lama which was sitting on the top of Mount Kanchenjunga in Nepal.  So I waited a few more days and then they called to tell me it was ready.  The conversation went something like this…. (names have been changed so I don’t get sued!)
Them – ‘Hello, this is Tina from ABC Pharmacy, I am calling to tell you your prescription is ready’
Me – ‘Oh, great how much is it?’

Them – ‘$379.40’

Me –


Me – ‘Sorry, was that $379.40 cents?’
Them – ‘Yes, extra if you want delivery’
Me – (nervous giggle) ‘Gee I hope that is a month’s supply’
Them – ‘No this is for one week’
Me –


Me – ‘Well I guess I have to pay for that (as you have already sent a small slave child up a big mountain to collect the droppings of a Lama) . I just want to tell you that I am extremely surprised and really disappointed that I have to pay this amount. We are a one income family and this is ridiculous. I should have been warned it was going to cost this much.’
Them – ‘Yes, some of the ingredients (mainly the stuff from the arse of that Lama ) in your prescription were very expensive. Best you speak to your naturopath.’
Me – ‘Yes, thanks I will do that’. (Reluctantly handed over Visa details and address)
I got off the phone and apart from being in absolute shock, I was totally devastated. How was I going to explain to my husband that this magic gold dust was going to do everything that I needed in order for me to stay cancer free and see my little boys turn into men.  I did indeed call and speak to my ‘Integrative Medical Naturopath’ and clearly explained our financial situation.  (Just for the record I already consume approximately $200 worth of vitamin and nutritional supplements a month, just add the gold dust of $379.40 a week, her consultation fee and seriously no one in their right mind could afford this, let alone a one income family) She apologized and said she wasn’t aware that it was going to cost that much.  As much as I wanted to believe her I figured if you do this every day and it is your profession I’m going to have to call ‘Bullshit’.


That night I sat and cried, a lot. There was a massive assumption that we could afford anything that was prescribed to me. There was no upfront explanation that some or all of my medication was extremely expensive. You almost get pushed into a corner and feel obligated that you must follow this path in order to live a healthy life.  Cost seemed to be an afterthought to them. Of course there was no way we could continue to do this and I felt let down, angry and frustrated with the entire situation. Here I am, wanting to take the best possible care of myself and in my opinion I had been manipulated. My question of cost during the consultation was met with ‘I’m not sure about that, but it will be around $150’. I’m not sure who I was more mad at,  me for feeling guilty that I couldn’t afford medication for my health and wellbeing, the government for not supporting and supplementing natural medicine, the naturopath for charging too much and under quoting my costs, the pharmacy for overcharging, or the Lama!   Mostly I was just sad because I felt this avenue was no longer an option for me because we weren’t in a financial position to pay for everything.
I continue to search for complementary medicine and do self development and spiritual work on a daily basis.  I understand that this body is my vehicle to get me through this lifetime, I need to take care of it the best way I can.  If there is one thing I have learned through this experience it is not to put all your eggs in one basket. I have a great team of medical and alternate support people around me. Don’t get discouraged by one set back, life is full of other opportunities you just have to make the choice to go out and look for them. I must say Brazil’s looking pretty good!