Weird is awesome


On this lovely Sunday morning I'm relaxing on my couch feeling super inspired, thanks to the brilliance of TedX talks. I love watching TED talks because they're surprising, they offer the unexpected and they make me think. TED talks almost always lead to feelings of inspiration and leave me somehow changed.

Today I'm zeroing in on weirdness, who woulda thunk it? These talks naturally appeal to me, I'm already sold on the value of weird! The bonus is that they're funny, and if you're like me, you'll laugh out loud, for real.

'The most pervasive disease today is being normal, it affects about 90% of people and also has an impact on the other 10%.' This is just one of JP sears factual opinions he shares in his TedX talk. 

Today, I'm learning about why we should let our weirdness out. Anyone who's ever hung out with me will know that I'm pretty good at letting my weird out, I like playfulness, I dislike small talk and generally prefer not to conform to the regular social conventions.

Honestly, I usually can't help myself but to let my weird out, to say and do things that aren't expected. When it goes well, it makes people laugh or smile, when it doesn't go so well I kinda freak people out- they tend to keep their distance.I know who I'd rather connect with- the people with the sense of humour and a sense of playfulness.

My behaviour helps to attract the right people into my circle, the ones who enjoy my flavour of weird, who enjoy being surprised occasionally. At some point, they also become comfortable enough to share their weird with me; that's when things get really fun. 

It will come as no surprise then, that I enjoy spending time with kids. One of my favourite parts of my role as an educational social worker is having sessions with kids. A lot of the kids I meet haven't yet learned to hide their particular brand of weird, and if they have, they soon feel comfortable sharing it with me. In the safety of our bubble, the time we have when it's just us, we can simply let loose and be ourselves. 

Not so long ago, following a weekend of enjoying comedy shows, I returned to work on Monday in full swing with my amateur jokes. In a humorous mood, I sat with a young person who I'd known for a while and found myself letting loose with spontaneous 'jokes'. After a while I asked him if he was getting sick of my amateur jokes, because I knew they weren't that great- he said 'I could get never get bored of you'. Well, wasn't that music to my ears, particularly when I knew that I was the only one in the room who was feeling amused.

Whilst I probably wasn't very funny at all, this boy was most likely enjoying the experience of an adult being a bit silly and playful.

So, remembering we all have an inner child, we therefore have an innate desire to be in the company of someone who is playful- and unapologetically lets their weird out.

Perhaps consider, could you share some of your brand of strange with others? Do you already offer this weirdness as a gift to the world?

Do you need convincing or an affirmation of why your weird is awesome? Watch these talks and there'll be no looking back towards normalcy, it'll be all onwards and upwards for your unique self.

Could this be why substances which cause us to become uninhibited are so popular? Hmmm.

Enjoy these clever & inspiring talks on letting your weird out. Share with a friend who you think has a healthy amount of weird, or who you'd like to see let loose a bit more!

This was so much fun to write, I've had a cheeky smile on my face the whole time, please do share your weird and wonderful thoughts in comments. 

Neuroplasticity simplified

Neuroplasticity Part II

Let's explore an incredible healing power that lies within us, the capacity to change our brain & physiology, aka Neuroplasticity. Stick with me, while I get technical for just a moment: 'Neuroplasticity, also called brain plasticity, is the process in which your brain's neural synapses and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioral, and neural changes.' Study.Com

Essentially, Neuroplasticity refers to the brain as ever-changing. It's an exciting science which has brought us a truck load of evidence proving that we can change our own brains, and therefore we can change our lives. The science is kind of mind blowing, the further I've explored, the more it's rocked my world and the more enthusiastic I've become to keep learning. 

So, let's get into my simple and super down to earth explanation of how this works, and what it could mean for you, and your loved ones. 

Consider a neural pathway a bit like a bush track, the track is there as a means to find your way from point A to point B, it serves a purpose. Neural pathways are the paths in our brains which allow us to think certain thoughts and perform certain functions. For example, you have neural pathways which know how to drive you home from work- these often become so strong that we can drive home on autopilot. 

Your neural pathways that know the way home from work, without thinking, are similar to a bush track that's been walked many many many times. The track (neural pathways) is well worn and clear and easy to follow, with very little effort or thought on your part. You might even arrive home and realise that you've been lost in thought the whole way, seemingly paying no attention to driving.

However, if you get a new job and need to drive a new route to work, you will initially need to pay a lot of attention to the direction you're taking. Driving this new route will take a significant conscious effort. If you don't pay enough attention and allow yourself to drift into autopilot, you might just end up at your old workplace, oops!

When we do something novel, a 'track' is not yet established in our brains. We must deliberately and consciously lay down a new pathway from point A to point B. We stop and have a good think about it, map it out and then pay attention to each step. This ensures we're focussed and on the right path.

Just like the bush track that is tread upon regularly, frequently used neural pathways strengthen and become easier to use. With repetition, the neural pathways become easier for your brain to use, it knows exactly what to do and how to do it. 

Wow, look at you, you're still reading! There's clearly something here that's got you intrigued...I totally get it, I find this incredibly fascinating and it honestly fills me with hope- hope for change, a different future, for healing and releasing stuckness. I'd like to share about all of that some more.

Watch this space for the next part of this 3 part series on Neuroplasticity, I'll share more about the issues we can heal through neuroplastic change.

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Neuroplasticity & the science of hope

For the past couple of years I've been learning about the impacts of trauma on the body and mind. I've also been learning about neuroplasticity, which is an incredible means to healing a lot of conditions and issues. The power to heal by changing our brain is so big, that I consider neuroscience to be a science of hope.

I've gained knowledge about the way our brains work, how they influence our entire being and the ways in which they can heal, which has helped me both personally and professionally. Driven by a desire to understand my own experiences of illness, as well as to know how to support myself and others towards healing, I've devoted a lot of time and thought to building my understanding of mind-body health. To know about mind-body healing, is to know about Neuroplasticity. 

Neuroplasticity is the concept that that the brain can change itself, that it is essentially 'plastic' and is therefore malleable. We used to believe that once the brain was fully developed, that was it, not much more change would take place; unless it was the decline that typically occurs with ageing. 

We now know that the power of neuroplasticity is incredible, we can change our brains, by choice, at any age. They are also changing, by default, throughout our lives, according to a process called 'neural pruning'. 

Our brains are complex, really really complex, so I'm not even going to try and get technical or detailed here, consider this a brief intro to neuroplasticity and if it gets you intrigued, go forth and explore the many resources available to learn more. 

Just like the widely accepted understanding that exercising and moving our bodies can strengthen them, and that we can target certain muscles to strengthen and or lengthen them, we can also create change in our brains based on the same concept. 

The old adage 'use it or lose it' is true for the brain also, because our brains are efficient, they only maintain the neural pathways that we use and allow the others to 'drop off' or weaken. Our brains naturally strengthen the neural pathways we use regularly, in the same way that repetitive physical exercise strengthens the body. 

Intrigued to learn more? Click to read Part II of this series 'Neuroplasticity Simplifed'

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments or questions, don't be shy!

Resources to dive deeper with the experts:

NB: I am not a neuroscientist, I have shared information to the best of my understanding, with the hope it might be spark your interest and support you to explore further. I encourage you to do your own learning & come to your own understanding of these topics. 

The life changing magic of Soul Call Cards

Since early last year I've been developing what I think is reasonable to call, a love affair. It's been a slow burn kind of love, so slow, that at first I mistakenly thought it may be just a simple case of curiosity.

It began in January 2016 when I discovered Amy Oscar's 'Soul Call Cards'. I highly value Amy's 'Soul Caller' work and for many years, I've enjoyed working with her. Amy has supported me to develop my ability to listen to my soul's calls. When Amy created the Soul Call cards, I knew I needed to have them. 

Since them I've completed the Soul Call Card Certification program and my relationship with the cards has grown stronger. I have so much appreciation for them and their incredible power to shine a light on our experiences, in a way which brings greater love, clarity and compassion to our lives. 

The Soul Call Cards are a means of connecting to the depths of who you really are and seeing the truth of situations beyond your conscious minds limited ideas and perspectives. 

On many occasions I have personally experienced the incredible clarity and peace, that comes with having a reading. Others who have had readings with me have loved the experience; and walked away feeling lighter and brighter. Not only have they felt great at the end of the reading, they've reported ongoing benefits of being able to offer themselves compassion and to see clearly. They've shared that the reading allowed them to take their next steps without the worry that was previously bothering them. All this after just a 45-60 minute session!

Here's some thoughts shared by women who have had a Soul Call Card reading. 

'There was so much mystery within the reading that turned into crystal clear clarity by the end. I woke up this morning feeling much more confident and on track!' - Laura

'I just can't find the words for how amazingly blissed out I feel each time I see Sarah.' - Jacqui

Would you love to get clarity about what your Soul desires? Would you like to understand why things are playing out the way they are, at this time? 

A Soul Call Card reading is the perfect answer to these questions.

Want to know more? Check out the Clarity page.

Booking is easy, click on a time below that suits and follow the prompts.

Please note, I have closed my private practice and am no longer seeing clients for counselling. This difficult decision was based on a desire to create some space in my life and see where life took me. This has led me to offering Soul Call Card readings which is now an option if you would like to have a session with me. 

Psychological Care following a traumatic experience

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Following the tragedy that occurred on the streets of Melbourne on Friday I have been saddened and shocked. 

I know that there are many people who have been directly affected by Fridays events. The ripple effects will have spread far and wide. If you are feeling the psychological effects of this particular event, or another traumatic experience, then this article is for you. 

This article will help you to take care of yourself and your loved ones following a shocking or traumatic incident. It's important to be mindful that events such as these can be a trigger for some, even if they were not directly involved. If you or someone you know are feeling triggered or have noticed a significant change in mental/emotional health, please follow up with a healthcare professional. 

It's essential to be able to de-brief after a traumatic incident in which your life or the life of someone you love has been threatened (or if you have witnessed this). Find a counsellor/pscyhologist/mental health social worker who specialises in trauma; they will be an important part of your recovery in the days, weeks and months following the incident. 

Here's a helpful Trauma Recovery web-site that provides a model for trauma recovery, it includes an overview of phases of recovery and the important elements that support healing. It also provides useful information for families and friends supporting someone who has experienced trauma.

Whilst a traumatic experience does not mean you will develop PTSD, it can lead to the development of PTSD. Seeking support for your mental health, as soon as possible, can reduce the likelihood of the development of longer term mental health issues.

There are many emotional and psychological changes which can occur following a shocking or traumatic experience. These are normal reactions to an abnormal event and include: shock, denial, disbelief, confusion, anger, irritability, sadness, feeling disconnected or numb. Physical signs and symptoms include fatigue, racing heartbeat, insomnia and aches and pains. If you're experiencing any of these, it is useful to be able to recognise them as normal. Even though they are normal responses, remember that they are occuring due to an abnormal event- it's worthwhile seeking professional support as soon as possible. 

 5 important steps to take following a traumatic or shocking experience:

1. Find a professional to speak to. You may wish to see your GP initially to seek a referral before you see a counsellor. If you have a GP who you have a good relationship with then visiting them is an excellent first step. 

2. Find a therapist/counsellor/psychologist/mental health social worker who has expertise in the field of trauma. (A google search will help and I have listed a few therapists whose web-sites say they have expertise in trauma below)

3. Take good care of yourself in the coming days and weeks, be gentle with yourself and ask for help from trusted friends and family.

4. At this time it is important to reach out, to talk to people you can trust and ask for support. If you notice yourself wanting to withdraw, reach out and seek professional support- there are 24 hour services available via phone.

5. Know the signs and symptoms of shock and trauma- click this link for information about normal responses to shocking and/or traumatic experiences. 

Some suggestions for support & information following a traumatic experience are:

Phoenix Australia Resources for Post Traumatic Health

Psychology Melbourne for Counselling

Donna Zander Counselling- Specialising in Trauma for children & adults

Moonyah Counselling Melbourne

Somatic Pyschotherapy Australia list of therapists in Victoria

Beyond Blue- Information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Emotional Freedom Technique Video to tap into feelings of Strength & Hope

Guide for coping with emotional and psychological trauma

You can also do your own search and find lots more ideas for help- this list is a good starting point.

For urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential 24/7 counselling and referrals.

Witnesses and victims of the Bourke Street incident requiring support can also call the Victim's Support Helpline on 1800 819 817.

Disclaimer: I have not personally had experience with the links I have provided above. I am not endorsing these organisations/approaches, rather I have listed them as suggestions for your own exploration. Please decide based on your own research and what feels right for you.