Green Apple is live!

Green Apple Founder – Sonya

Come and check out my new website and community forum – Green Apple

This project has been in development for many months so I am super excited to have it launch into the world!

This site combines all my life’s work and interests. With a focus on health and well-being  supporting local producers and suppliers, and providing helpful information to guide people to be more mindful of their purchases while supporting local small business – what’s not to love!

There are also several regular contributors to the site lined up.

We have Australia’s very own Eco-Mum, Personal Trainer Chris, Reiki Master and Organic Guru Gini, along with surprise posts from a range of inspiring people.

Check out the site, or visit our Facebook page here.

Feel the fear and do it anyway

I have ridden various forms of motorcycle for almost a decade now.

I have only had 1 accident and adding to the mix a part time job at a Scooter store and a full time job at a motorcycle store, my level of experience is above average.

However, there are still some elements of riding that triggers fear for me – one of which is taking my new Vespa GTV 300 on the motorway.

Vespa’s are not designed with speed in mind. Their body is about being nimble at low speeds. At high speeds on an open road the GTV can easily do the speeds required, it doesn’t hold to the road especially well. Any wind gust from passing vehicles or the weather has the GTV dancing all over the road.

Understandably, I do not find riding on motorways especially relaxing.

An opportunity arose for me to put the new GTV on the motorway for around an hour so I could visit a good friend. The night before butterflies emerged. I was fairly concerned that the windy weather was going to make the trip very challenging. This was also the first time I had hit the motorway with this particular Vespa. 

The line “Feel the fear and do it anyway” popped into my head and I tried to let the fear go while also praying to the weather gods that the wind would die down.

The weather gods came through. There was barely a breeze.

I hit the motorway tense and at times rather fearful as trucks flew past causing the Vespa to shudder.

I had set up small milestones in my mind. There was a service station about half way. As I rode past it I yelled out (in my helmet) a big WHOO HOO!

Then there was an overpass about 3/4’s of the way. Once I cleared the overpast I joyfully yelled out (again in my helmet) – I made it! Almost there!

Most of the trip I was telling myself “just relax, you are already doing it. You are fine. You are almost there” which would quell the fear bubbling away in my stomach.

Of course I made it there and back again and enjoyed a lovely afternoon sitting by the water with good coffee and great conversation.

But the experience was a reminder that sometimes you really just need to feel the fear and seriously do it anyway. Fear does not have to stop us from doing things and the sense of achievement you have afterwards is amazing!

And as a tip, try encouraging yourself, or as I did, setting up little milestones you can celebrate. For example, if you fear is time based maybe after the first day you can celebrate that time frame, then a week, a month and a year!

Or maybe you can celebrate the completion with some indulgence and pampering.

My MBA kicks off this coming weekend and as some of you know, I scheduled a trip to Bali for 1 week to celebrate the completion of my first term. No matter what happens during the first term I have Bali to look forward too at the end. It is hugely motivating!

Does something cause your stomach to go flip flop but inside you know you need to move forwards anyway?

C’mon and give it a go – Feel the fear, and do it anyway!

Image

 

Me (Sonya Madden) and a fellow scooter-chick Tish during a club ride, September 2012. Scooter chicks rule!

Overwhelm (full moon crazies!)

Ever have one of those days where you sit at your desk, one eye on your monitor, the other on the door as you secretly plot your escape?

You mind bounces from the idea of running away to putting sharp objects into a co-workers chair.

I had one of those days yesterday. It was energetically overwhelming. to say the least.

Part of me wants to chalk it up to “Full moon craziness” (full moon a few days ago in Australia), and the other part of me wanted to stand up in the middle of the office and scream very very loudly.

Of course professionally screaming may not be a wise move so I’ve put together 5 steps to get you through when presented with an equally challenging day.

1. “Now just one minute…”

Yep… just one. Take one little minute. Take one little minute to breath and let go. For me I even close my eyes, let out an exaggerated sigh, and feel a million times better. Just one minute.

2. Steer clear of the people who are triggering you.

For me that meant pretty much everyone else so I dug up some very consuming tasks, rolled up my sleeves and got on with them. Before I knew it hours had passed and I felt better because my time had been UBER productive.

3. Insure that when you leave the office, your work stays at work!

This may not be possible everyday, but on any days where it is all getting a bit too much and you are visualising a certain someone’s head exploding… well that is probably a day where you need to just have a night to yourself…. and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! If you can’t do all night… try for 1 hour.

4. Take your lunch break – take it I say!

Go for a wander. Enjoy eating your sambo under a tree in the park. Read a book. Listen to your ipod. Takes some chill time right in the middle of the day and enjoy. You deserve it.

5. Let it go

Come the end of the day, there will be some things you cannot change – no matter how much you recycle the thoughts in your mind – these things you just need to let go. Take a long hot bath and shift your thinking to the nice things from your day to stop the negative thought process. How was your lunch break? Was someone especially helpful today? Do you have some great plans for the weekend? Keep clear of the “If only…” thoughts – they will not serve you.

Do you have some tried and true dealing with overwhelm tips? Please add them in the comments area if you are happy to share.

Green Apple Magazine – get ready!

New site coming soon!

I am very excited to begin promoting my new project “Green Apple Magazine” which will be live very soon.

“Green Apple” will be a website and online publication focusing on Greener Living in the Modern World.  The site will also have contributions from some of Australia’s leading Eco-Friendly businesses, along with health and wellness professionals, therapists and practitioners.

The project has been brewing in the wings but I am so thrilled it is almost out in the world.

To keep up to date on progress and begin interacting with the team please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned for more updates!

http://www.greenapplemagazine.com/

Patong’s tragedy

My time in Thailand was amazing but we were lightly touched by tragedy during our time abroad which has given me a mighty big lesson in gratitude.

Thursday the  16th of August was the day our group set aside for our big night out in Patong. We were a large group – large enough to warrant a mini bus for the 45min journey to the bustling night club district.

Several of us had posted on facebook that Thursday night would be a night to remember.

Our group consisted of myself, my two younger brothers, my two younger male cousins (also brothers), the newly wed couple (my sister and her husband) and one of my sisters friends – total was 7. We arrived in Patong around 7pm, grabbed some dinner then headed down the main street which is home to a massive number of booming night clubs.

I cannot do this street justice with words – anyone who has been there at night will understand why. It is a surreal scene  chock full of tourists, locals, working girls, exotic animals, blasting music, disco lights, smells and heat.

We wandered a short distance before moving into one of the bigger bars where our night begun with large bucket sized cocktails, red bull, and performances by Go-Go dancers on the bar top.

Our night ended around 1am which was the time we had asked our mini-bus driver to return to collect our group. We were all smiles and laughing after some wild dancing and drinking –  we were oblivious to the drama playing out in Patong.

We met for breakfast the next morning to regroup after our evenning. The newly wed couple recieved a messsage from a friend explaining there had been a fire in Patong the night before and were we all okay. Further information came through indicating the fire was at a place called the Tiger Bar – which we had spent time in. A little shocked that we had not known about this we all set off to find out more information.

The information I have gathered is that the bar caught on fire sometime after 2am. The fire was caused by either lightening hitting a large transformer box outside the night club, or, water dripping onto exposed wires in the nightlclubs ceiling.

Four people died in that fire. All 4 had run into the toilets to escape the blaze and became trapped.

Many others were injured. Broken legs from people jumping out windows. Burns from those also caught in the blaze.

The event was heart breaking and shocking.

We travelled back to Patong the next day to see the bar that only 12 hours prior had been full of life. The entrance was now tapped off with police going back and forth. Tourists took photos. I silently thanked the universe that we had decided to move on before the fire broke out.

The event spooked me. It so easily could have been myself and my family caught in the blaze. So easy it really rattled me. Our whole group were fairly quiet about the event. Almost realising how fortunate we were to not be there at the same moment.

I felt so close to the drama and yet untouched.

If we had been in that particular nightclub, I know for fact the first thing we would have done is made sure we were all together. Being a group of 7 this may or may not have been wise. Witnesses said that the fire ignited rapidly causing a large fire ball type blaze to engulf the top floor of the bar within seconds.

I notified people via facebook that our group were safe. Family members indicated they had heard the news in Australia and were extremely happy to hear we were not involved.

I thought of the family members of those who were involved.

Perhaps they were like us. A group of tourists just out for one night of fun that turned sour.

I thanked the universe for encouraging our group to move on from that bar to another night club in the street.

Gratitude… filled to the brim with it at the moment and my heart goes out the friends and family of the 4 souls lost in the fire.

 

The work of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is something most people know they should practice – but essentially ignore.

Why we do not heed the warnings around the power of forgiveness?

I have read countless articles and books all covering the topic of forgiveness.

Examples of how dis-ease and unhappiness can follow when we do not forgive are common.

However what I have found lacking in most of the material is any sense of realism.

For me, forgiveness is not a switch I can just flick on or off. Forgiveness takes work – sometimes allot of work. Sometimes it will be instant, sometimes it will take years.

Last year was a big year of transformation for me and many around me.

Discovering the words “till death do us part” actually means “till someone new comes along”  is never easy for anyone to go through. Add to the mix girlfriends/boyfriends/children/families and you have a great concoction of emotion, resentment, blame and anger.

Some days, at any random moment, it would hit me like a boulder crushing my chest. So much anger. Resentment. Pain.

Each day I would contemplate or visualise in my mind a way to pass those emotions on to the other parties. Each day I had to work at  stopping this train of thought. Bitterness serves no one.

Sometimes acts of forgiveness are fairly easy. Perhaps enough time has past that you can forgive and move on never to think of it again. Sometimes the act was minor and you are happy to move forward.

Sometimes forgiveness requires daily effort to mentally stop, focus and think or say the words “I forgive you” to yourself or to those involved. Sometimes it may be someone you have never even met who may not be aware of what is playing out for you but you know you need to forgive.

Sometimes forgiveness never comes.

I do believe we are victims of situations of our own making.

I created what unfolded for me last year. I did not heed my instincts nor the warning signs. Once the cracks started to show, I unconsciously pried them wide open – that was the beginning of the end. Curiosity can kill the cat.

I have had to work at not only forgiving others but forgiving myself. 

Forgiving myself is something I find much much harder.

Logically I know I did what was right for me at the time. I did what my heart and soul called me to do. I do not regret my actions nor wish for a different outcome. But I have remorse for the pain caused to family and I still have anger and bitterness towards the other party.

This week I learnt that someone, who like me is in their 30s,  is beginning a battle against breast and lymphoma cancer.

We spoke of diet and lifestyle however the person was a vegan and also fairly active. I was baffled. To me, they were doing everything we are ‘told’ is the right thing to do.

This is not the first time cancer has crossed into my life in a way that defies all reasoning. When I was 28 I watched a person I knew who at the age of 30, did battle with a rare form of cancer which grew from nothing to life threatening in months. He was also fit and healthy and a new father at the time.

As cancer becomes more and more prevalent in younger members of society I cannot help but ask why?

What is it we are doing so wrong?

I once read that cancer has been attributed to emotions. It has been suggested cancer can be trigger by unexpressed anger and or resentment.

We may never know what is the key to unlocking the cure, but as I watch people around me falling ill to a life threatening disease I know we are missing something bigger, more important, and more crucial then just good diet and exercise.

So I suggest we no longer disregard the power of forgiveness – forgiveness of others and of ourselves.

I suggest that forgiveness may in fact save our lives and therefore I think it is certainly worth trying for a few minutes each day.