Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

Well, what an incredible two and a half weeks I've had since my last post.

Firstly, the Tour Down Under was AMAZING. Hosting a group of wonderful cyclists and enthusiastic cycling fans from around the country, and indeed the globe, was one of the best experiences I've had in a very long time. Not to mention staying at the Hilton Hotel, cycling central, and having several close encounters with cycling legends - too many to name.

The days were long, nights were short and there was barely enough time to go to the toilet, much less to keep up with my daily blogging. The sacrifice was rewarded with great feedback from the guests and as a result, may have opened doors to continue working in Europe. More on that later ;-)

Pat and I returned home last Tuesday to face yet another full week that started with an information evening at my local gym. I have put together a 6-week pilot project to create a nurturing community for women where we support and inspire each other to achieve both fitness and life goals. If the project is deemed successful by the participants, it will be an ongoing part of membership privileges. I have already bonded with several women and am really excited about what that will bring.

Following the delivery of my info session, I caught up with some friends for a barbecue where discussions led to my entering the New York marathon. I declared that despite it being a lottery, I was determined to do it no matter what - even if it meant running the course the night before the event. My friend's husband told me that I needn't go to such extremes and that there were certain charities that get allocated a certain number of guaranteed places and that if I were to align myself with one of them, I'd be in it. Naturally, that go my brain ticking.

I then continued onto Australia Day celebrations the following day at my parent's house by the sea. I was surrounded by family and friends, having a wonderful time. It was the perfect restoration before getting back to my life. My REAL life.

Thursday morning the trainers went on, and so too did my iPhone video camera. Several uploads to YouTube later, I was ready to take the next step - find myself that charity. So without further ado - I'll let you watch the video, which says it all (email subscribers click here).

Until tomorrow, take another step towards realising your dream.

Grace xx

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sunday Sentence #2

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in. 
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Out of office

My husband Pat and I received a call late last night and have been asked to step into the shoes of a Brisbane couple who have a bicycle tour scheduled to operate during Adelaide's Tour Downunder. We were informed that their house has been flooded and are consequently entrusting us to take their places while they pick up the pieces of their lives.

So today I attempted to compress 2-weeks worth of work into 24-hours before I board my flight early tomorrow morning. As all the details have yet to come through, I cannot be sure how much computer time I'll have while I'm on tour - so I'll say in advance, please excuse my potential lack of contact between from now till the 27th January.

If I sent you a personal email earlier today and are reading this blog - please excuse it's repetitiveness. In a bid to save time, I've cut and paste from a few sent items. Sometime you just have to do, what you just have to do.

Until next time (not sure when), do what you have to do to stay afloat.

Grace xx

ps. Our thoughts are with all those impacted by the floods in Queensland and other affected areas within Australia. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


There's a link between the Brisbane floods, the Tour Down Under and your's truly.

Way too tired to even type.

Just stay tuned and all will be revealed.

Until tomorrow, keep your head above water.

Grace xx

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New York, New York

On December 3rd, 2010 (precisely one month after turning 40), I mustered up the courage to enter my dream event and partially declared it on Project Grace 2010 in a post titled 'It's Official'. The next day, I started my training.

Despite having taken the first step towards my dream goal, I was very reluctant to name the event for three reasons:
  1. I was recovering from a rocky relationship of broken promises to myself, so I was very wary of avoiding old patterns and adding insult to injury.

  2. Though I had registered for the event, my participation was determined on whether or not my name was drawn from a lottery.

  3. I was just plain scared. 
Then after five and a half weeks of training six days a week, something magical happened this morning - I crossed over a threshold. I went from shuffling, to barely jogging into what I can honestly call running. Yes, I ran. By the end of my session, I had run the furthest distance in my set timeframe whilst remaining within my optimum aerobic heart rate zone. A huge milestone.

When I returned home I knew that no matter what, I had to run my dream event.

No. Matter. What.

Not only that, I had to tell the world - for how else would the cosmos conspire to align all the planets for me? So here is my public declaration, made on this day 11/01/11...

I am running the New York Marathon on 6th November 2011 (3 days after my 41st birthday).

Above is the inspirational poster I made over a month ago. I have placed it all around my house, and even have a landscape version my desktop. It's time to share it with the world.

Until tomorrow, be brave and declare your goals and dreams - even if you don't quite know how it'll all happen.

Grace xx 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The edge

My brother and his family are currently mixing pleasure with business in the USA. Every so often I will receive a photo or three with a brief rundown of their adventures, and I love it.

The last batch of happy snaps included one of my 6-year old nephew standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon (pictured above - with my head to a. protect his identity and b. add a bit of humour to this post).

My brother assured me that the photo was not a trick and my nephew was in fact standing on the edge. This immediately made my heart palpitate and a wave of anxiety came over me, followed by a sigh of relief - all in the matter of a nanosecond.

If you were to ask my husband Patrick, you would learn that such a reaction to being near an edge is not unusual for me. In fact in reality, I am afraid of most edges no matter how far off the ground they are. I become paralysed and require a great deal of self-coaching, combined with deep breathing, to overcome the situation. It's completely irrational, embarrassing and ridiculous. 

So what is it about standing on the edge that overwhelms me? Does it go deeper and impact other areas of my life? My guess is that it does. 

To me, an edge is a tipping point. Once you go over, there's no turning back. Standing on the edge means taking a risk, no matter how big or small. It's not the damage that scares me, it's the fact that you can't go back.

Right now I'm perched on the edge of making a real go of my life. I have big plans, set goals and am excited about what the future holds. Very excited. One of the actions I have to take in order to reach my goals is to make phone calls - a whole bunch of them. To me, that is like standing on a cliff face in the Grand Canyon - it completely terrifies me. 

My fear is so great that I have organised my house, got my administration in order, created an entirely new social media network and identity (Trailing Grace) and tomorrow night I am starting a women's support group at my local gym - all in the name of avoiding an edge dubbed 'I have to make those phone calls'.

Oh my goodness am I insane? Is there anyone else out there like me?

Before I descended on myself and beat myself up for being pathetic, I took a hold of myself. I went to the photo of my 6-year old nephew (the original picture, the one without my head) and looked at his expression. There was a wary alertness in his eyes as he wore a cheeky, joyful and playful smile. Perhaps that's how I ought to approach my next edge.

Until tomorrow, do not judge yourself and your fears. Instead, learn to understand them and find an alternative way to overcome them - with a wary glance and a cheerful smile.

Grace xx


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Sentence #1


Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
- Jawaharal Nehru

Saturday, January 8, 2011

All I wanna do is talk talk

Since embarking on Trailing Grace a week ago, there has been a noticeable shift in my desired method of communication - which I'm finding a little disconcerting.

Project Grace 2010 was primarily about writing - my arms had become an extension of my heart, eager to transfer words and feelings onto the keyboard via my fingers (well... on most days). However I'm noticing that I have a greater need to talk right now and typing has become quite difficult. There's a disconnection, which I hope is only temporary.

I had become familiar with PG2010. Comfortable, actually. So this new platform, new design and new direction is leaving me somewhat uncomfortable.  I hope that this is just a natural response to change and it won't be long before I return to my fully-expressed, writing self once more.

If truth be told, I feel a little uneasy in this new space. It's a bit like moving into a new house and instead of dining in your brand new kitchen, you opt to go outside and have a BBQ. I also wonder whether my old friends know that I've moved house... have they stopped popping over for our regular chat and a cup of coffee? Perhaps.

As I wait for my words to come back to my hands through my heart, I will leave you with my latest YouTube instalment. In this one, I delve into how to heal emotional injuries. It's worth noting that 'being heard' can be achieved in a number of ways - and it doesn't necessarily have to happen face to face. The incident that I was referring to (but didn't specify) was something that happened when I was around four or five. I wrote a blog post about it last April, titled Rising Star.

Until tomorrow, know that there are many ways of communicating, even though your preferred method may not possible.

Grace xx

ps. Email subscribers click here to view video

Friday, January 7, 2011

Parent vs Child = Head vs Heart?

The last week has been the busiest start to the year I've had in a very, very long time.

From launching Trailing Grace, to conducting a Thermomix demonstration in Ballarat, to launching a women's power group at my local gym - not to mention hosting Italian couch surfers, catching up with friends, going for a 3-hour mountain bike ride, training 6 out of 7 days for my dream event AND... posting a blog every day. I have not been to bed before midnight, in fact it's been a string of 3:30am finishes, with a 7:30am stint thrown in for good measure. Needless to say I am extremely tired tonight. I can barely string two words together and I have a goal of climbing into bed before I-turn-into-a-pumpkin-o'clock (aka midnight).

So I'd like to wish you a wonderful weekend, and leave you with an insight I had today regarding my recent conversation involving the inner child and parent within. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until tomorrow, remember that it's okay to keep things simple when you need to.

Grace xx

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My own Mt. Everest

In 1999, I met a most interesting man. He was a well travelled former TV star of a 60's BBC series, who had evolved into a tapestry-weaving, practicing Buddhist (among many other things). As I said, Garry was (and is) a most interesting man.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into Garry's home was a giant photo of snow covered mountains, with one that towered over the others. In the foreground there were a number of heavily robed men that looked like Sherpas. "Is that Mt. Everest?" I asked Garry. "Yes" he replied.

Garry continued to recount the tale of his trekking expedition to Everest Base Camp he had done some years earlier. I knew at that point that I wanted to see Mt. Everest with my own eyes. The seed was planted.

Fast forward 7 years and the seed sprouted. I found myself in Nepal, surrounded by the Himalayas and completely breathless - not only from the views, but from 50% less oxygen in the air. There was a point where I doubted my ability to complete the trek when my friend, and soul brother, Rakesh came to my aid. He instructed me to take in one breath with each step.

Slowly. One breath. One step.

After ten hours of breathing (and stepping), we had reached the day's destination - the site of one of the highest monasteries in the world. The views of Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha) were overwhelmingly stunning. I felt so close to her, the Nepali goddess of the sky.

The sense of achievement was greater than anything I had experienced previously. Despite altitude nausea, fatigue, lack of oxygen, recovering from food poisoning and enduring congested sinuses from a head cold, I had conquered my own Mt. Everest.

Until tomorrow, allow seeds to sprout and take steps towards your Mt. Everest - one breath at a time.

Grace xx

PS. Pictured from left to right is my soul brother Rakesh, me, my husband Patrick and our porter RajKumar. It was taken at Everest View hotel during our rest day in Namche Bazaar. Our trek to the monastery occurred the following day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Child Within

Many years ago, I received Reiki by a woman who was known for 'seeing things'. The kind of unexplainable things that would make great stories in the esoteric and new age categories of a bookstore - or an episode of Medium. She once told me that she saw a little five year old girl (that she believed to be the younger version of myself) skipping around saying "I don't want to, I don't want to". This made me laugh, for at the time I was having an inner battle with myself over whether or not to move house.

Over the years I would get a message from this woman (whose identity will remain concealed) saying that she'd seen the little skipping "I don't want to" girl, which incidentally was always during a time of major conflict. I began to notice this resistance. It was a strong feeling that came from within, and I began to wonder whether this was my inner child wanting to be heard.

I did not speak openly about this for many years for fear of sounding like a freak. Instead, I navigated through life in a constant battle with myself. Then, in March 2010, the time had come where I could no longer continue with this ongoing tug of war - it was exhausting. I felt like I was constantly in a muddy mess, spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. It was time to get traction.

By the time I created Project Grace 2010 in the lead up to my 40th birthday, I was grasping at straws. I gave myself permission to devote nine months towards the restoration of my mojo, a humorous alias for my self esteem. I wanted to rebuild a me that I wanted to be, and not settle for what I had turned into. In retrospect what I had done was stop and listen to the skipping little girl and in turn, she became the me who found her voice.

In my view, we have many facets that make us who we are. There can be no conflict within if we are only one dimensional. In my quest to heal and resolve my conflicting sides (that I dubbed the inner child and parent in me) there needed to be a truce. Project Grace 2010 turned out to be an act of stopping and listening to an inner voice that has been vying for my attention since I was officially labelled a 'grown up'. 

This reconciliation between the two sides has resulted in a deep sense of harmony. I am no longer fighting over myself over a bar of chocolate or whether or not I should go for a run. We share the same goals. We are a team. Now that I am no longer fighting myself, I have so much more energy to move forward. I'm almost scared to think of what could happen. But I won't think.... I'll just do. One step at a time.

Until tomorrow, takes steps in resolving your inner conflict and reconcile your opposing facets.

Grace xx


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Battle of the blogs

One thing I learned during Project Grace 2010 is that people have their preferred method of reading blogs. For example, some sign up to have them delivered into their inbox, others follow the link via Facebook and many will go directly to the blog site. This consequently affects how people interact. The email subscribers will reply directly to me, Facebookers will write on my wall and blog site visitors will comment below the post.

At the time of setting up Trailing Grace, my husband had been using Posterous, which I discovered could autopost to a vast array of popular social media sites. "Perfect!" I thought, "I can write one blog and have it posted in several places and thus increasing the chances of potential followers". My plans for world blog domination were coming into play. That is until I realised what a NIGHTMARE some of the sites can be.

I have spent a ludicrous amount of time fixing up messy, glitchy, buggy HTML code (I feel like I have adopted half a dozen cute puppies that ended up doing poop in every room of the house!). To the untrained ear, this might sound like I know what I'm doing - but I can assure you that I do not, hence the nightmare (I am referring to cleaning up the HTML code, not puppy poop).

In view of all of this and being several weeks (if not months) short of launching my official website, I invite you to follow, subscribe, or bookmark my most preferred blogging platform - Blogger. I created Project Grace 2010 on Blogger and found it very user friendly and relatively bug free. What you see is what you get, thus eliminating the frustration of trying to figure out why text, images and YouTube embedded videos become corrupted and refuse to look like what you saw when composing your work. It's enough to make you drink!

The other downside of having so many sites is that the comments are scattered like ashes - so it's difficult to get a community going... and I LOVE communities. So below I've made a brief statement of what I think of the blog site, as well as including some of your comments.

Blogspot (Bought out by Google some time ago and is very user friendly. It's my favourite):
"Congratulations Grace on the new journey! Loving the name of the blog/ project and the many interpretations and incarnations it allows. I haven't read 'eat pray love' yet, but am now inspired to do so. I actually read your 3 blogs backwards and have many thoughts spinning in my head... not only turning 40, but then the arrival of a new year has me once again full of questions, anxieties, self doubts and a sense of failure. Forever feeling you as the Ying to my Yang, I am jumping on board with you- well side saddle really- and following your trail (Hansel and Gretal style hoping there's a wonderful lolly house at the end and we can destroy the nasty witch!) as I try to work through what may just be the Universal Human Condition. Lots of love, Jaala xxxx"

Posterous (while it's clever that it can auto post to many sites, the blogging function is cumbersome with buggy code and the inability to preview your work before posting):
"welcome to the world TrailingGrace" - Pat
"i'm so excited & i just can't hide it! whoo hoo go you trail blazer you!" - Liza
"congrats" - Garrie 
"Congratulations on your new journey! I look forward to following you as it unfolds. I can relate to so many of your thoughts/feelings/ideas. Your spirit is inspiring!" - Kira
Wordpress (I found this to be the MOST frustrating. Very buggy. I'd make changes, click save and it would go back to what it was in the beginning. Despite following the instructions, I could NOT embed my YouTube video yesterday. Nearly drove me to drink!):
"Wow Grace. This is a fantastic extension of project Grace (which I was very sad to see the end of). I am definately along for the ride on this one. Count me in. x D"
"Fueled by Champagne. New T shirt coming soon. Will work for Champagne ;)"
Facebook (I LOVE Facebook, and use this to guide people to my blog. It is currently set to Wordpress but I plan to change that pronto!)
Jessica wrote: "I love it Grace! Love the name, the logo, the 'coincidences' - it's all positively inspired!! And while you said it was exactly 9 months, it was exactly 10 - which is a full term baby anyway!!!" xxx" 
Liza wrote: "Love the new blog title. I feel like i'm trailing/following your adventurous life along with you. I keep thinking why the hell isn't anybody publishing your work, you should be at the top of the best seller's list. Well, you are published to a audience of millions. The web. Its just a matter of time before your captive audience multiplies. I know i've said this many times before but you are such a talented writer. My heart sings and weeps with your words. Love it love it."   
Leeanne wrote: "I agree totally with Liza's comments. Your blog is part of my daily enjoyment. Always insightful, brutally honest and sometimes inspiring. Love your work Leeanne xx" 
I also use Xanga and Tumblr (I prefer the latter), however they have not had any comments (and I'm okay with that).

So before I get myself into a bloggy big tangled mess, I will spend some time consolidating.

Until tomorrow, be bold and nip things in the bud before they get out of hand.

Grace xx

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes

Patrick surprised me with a bag of assorted new gym clothes this afternoon, which I must declare I just LOVE. I was quick to put a set on and go outside to do today's training - iPhone in hand. 

It wasn't long before the virtual film was rolling and I shot a YouTube video announcing my delight over this fabulous gift.  During my session, I felt I needed to say more (me? really?) and shot a second video that explores self worth and how it drives my decisions to purchase cheap, crappy gym gear.

Two videos was obviously not enough for one day, so I hit record again to capture something that has taken me aback. I explore the depths of self abuse and speak openly about my own battle with beating myself up. It's probably my most honest account about this subject and the act of speaking so openly about it has me feeling free. The video I am referring to is embedded on this page below (email subscribers, please click here).

If you or anyone you know suffers from persistent self abuse, I hope this video shows you that you're not alone. It's horrible pattern that needs to be healed I hope that by trailing grace, we can all reach a state of peace.

Until tomorrow, if you're feeling itchy - don't stop scratching till you've got the spot (that'll only make sense after watching the video below, so go on - click play).

Grace xx 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Eat Pray Love and the genesis of Trailing Grace

When was the last time you wrote an email or blog post and just as you were about to send it, you browser said "Aw Snap"?

AW SNAP MY AR$E! - I AM FURIOUS! (can you tell with all my caps and exclamation marks?).

My eyes are popping out of my head, so I'm just going to type it again in dot points:
  • Last night I worked around the clock building the foundations of a social media skyscraper, and retired to bed after 7am this morning
  • When I roused, I promptly went for my run and just as I'd finished I filmed this YouTube video below, which explains 1. how Eat Pray Love was the genesis of Trailing Grace and 2. why I'm wearing an ugly grey sweat tank top
  • I then spent most of the day weaving my social media tapestry and, just like all new handycrafts, I made more mistakes than taking steps forward
  • Grrrrrrrrr
  • I am in the midst of a steep learning curve, of which patience is one thing I'd better learn before anything else (if only I weren't so impatient about learning patience, then I wouldn't be so irritable)
It's after midnight and I'm absolutely certain that I heard my bed beckoning me. I have taken the last sip of my celebratory Champagne (the one that I traded for organic orange juice on New Year's Eve) and my shoulders are relaxed and eyelids feel like lead. So without further ado, I bid you adieu.

Until tomorrow, when you need to muster up some patience - start with a deep breath (and imagine bashing the crap out of the thing that pi$$ed you off. In my case it was Google Chrome - NOT HAPPY JAN!)

Grace xx

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year, a new decade, a new blog...

Project Grace 2010 was a sacred journey for me. My daily blogging practice had become an integral part of my day; an important ritual that had me feeling complete and worthy - something I had long strived for. My original plan was to end the project on November 3rd, my 40th birthday, however it seemed premature to conclude it then. Yesterday marked the end of 2010 and somehow, it felt sacrilegious to extend the project further. Therefore on this New Year's Day, 01/01/2011, I declared Project Grace 2010 complete.

What followed was a hollow emptiness. I felt the need to continue with my daily blogging by creating something that did not have a 'use by date'. Alas, Trailing Grace was born.

So where did Trailing Grace come from? I virtually hear you ask. Well, the seed was planted on September 30th when I was watching the 'Eat Pray Love' episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show (I loved the book and was interested in learning about the movie, especially as I was in Bali at the time of filming in 2009). Oprah was having a D&M (deep and meaningful conversation) with Julia Roberts and author Liz Gilbert that became particularly interesting when they talked about being true to yourself and finding your life's purpose (my perpetual quest).

Oprah came out with the words "we are all born into this world trailing grace" and my mouth dropped. It was one of those 'Twilight Zone' moments complete with the 'de de de de, de de de de' theme running in my head. I felt that the universe had sent a message that was meant for me and only me, much like the time I read the Celestine Prophesy. The words resonated, speaking to me like no other. It's that metaphorical jigsaw puzzle piece that one stumbles on whilst vacuuming on top of the pelmet boxes - so totally unexpected, so totally thrilling. "Thank you Oprah" I whispered in my mind and before the show had finished, I had compulsively registered the domain name

Once registered, I questioned my sanity for I had no idea (or vision) of what it would become. All I knew is that I loved the name, it came from the mouth of one of my greatest inspirations (next to Gandhi) and it made me chuckle (I'm a dog in the Chinese horoscope and Trailing Grace was like an 'in' joke between me and the universe - let's just say it has something to do with me chasing my tail). For three months, I let the domain name just sit there completely untouched and without a clue about what I would do with it... that is, until today.

So... at this late hour, please excuse the emptiness of the website and the crudeness of the social media pages (Blogger, WordPress, Xanga, TumblR, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace, Picassa, FlickR, Facebook, and Posterous). As you can see, I have been busy - though some may argue that 'fanatical' is a more apt term. Whilst it may appear that I am positioning myself for world domination, I can assure you that it's only global propagation that I am interested in. Well, at this stage at least ;-)

Tomorrow I will commence the daunting task of weaving this all into one beautiful tapestry, which will somehow be the fabric of the official Trailing Grace website - how very exciting.

Until tomorrow, know that the sadness of an ending is consoled by the excitement of a new beginning - and not all impulsive purchases are bad.

Grace xx

PS. I could have interpreted the broad availability of 'Trailing Grace' to mean that it's a crap name. However I like to think that it really was a gift for me, and only me - sent by the universe and delivered by Oprah. I love a good story and that one suits me just fine.
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