I walk in gratitude every day. By that I mean I am thankful for everything I have, do, create and experience. I don’t wait for greatness to happen before I’m grateful, I’m happy for the smallest things: sunshine, my morning chai, the way my legs move when I get out of bed, my family, hot water. You can see where I’m going with this.
Making the effort to frequently experience gratitude balances out negativity and cultivates awareness of what we want in our lives, not focusing on what we don’t want. I’m not saying that we should ignore problems or be superficial about the challenges of life, but our spirit is enriched by feelings of gratitude, and good memories are formed by focusing on what’s working and what we are grateful for.
Gratitude is an instant mood booster. When we consciously shift our attention to what’s thriving in our lives, our need for safety, satisfaction and connection is met. Activating gratitude tones down the alarm system of the brain (the amygdala) and reduces the stress response. Practising gratitude reduces levels of cortisol and adrenaline in the body and releases dopamine, the natural feel-good chemical in the brain, which supports more focused attention.
Slow everything down by walking in gratitude; appreciate your surroundings.
Soften towards your family, friends and colleagues.
Thank others for the smallest kindness.
Forgive yourself, be gentle on yourself.
Give people the benefit of the doubt; don’t take things personally.
Actively notice new things to feel grateful about.
The story of The Promise begins at a launch of my previous children’s book, The Flying Angel in 2021. It is my second book written about a nurse in WW2.
The Flying Angels tells the story of a group of RAAF nurses who were handpicked to rescue injured soldiers from the frontline of Papua New Guinea in WW2, and transport them safely back home to Australia. These nurses where known for their courage and compassion, and this story was inspired by the life of one of these remarkable nurse’s, Sister Marie Craig.
At the launch of The Flying Angels, I was seated next to Terry O’Neill, who during his 50 years of living and working in Papua New Guinea and the Asia Pacific, had the desire to support vulnerable communities which have been impacted by war and social disruption. He placed a silver Kina in my hand as a gentle reminder of the local Papua New Guinea people who also assisted, and helped our Australian soldiers in WW2. They were called the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
Immediately I thought of my father Henry George McGregor, who was stationed in PNG during WW2 in the Signals Corp. He told me that without the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels that he, and indeed I, would not be alive. With care and love, these PNG natives became the Australian soldiers’ unsung heroes, rescuing injured Australian soldiers and bringing them to safety.
Terry’s passion about these PNG’s unsung heroes, encouraged me to start my journey to find this amazing story about Maiogaru Taulebona. A Papua New Guinea Mission Nurse, who was one of those brave locals who took enormous risks to help injured Leading Aircraftsman, John Donegan, and with the risk of grave personal danger to herself, cared for his wounds and secured him away from the enemy.
Maiogaru Taulebona was awarded the loyalty medal by the Royal Australian Air Force. The Promise, is a celebration of the bond between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
This is the story of courage, resilience, kindness and hope. It is the first of a series of books I have been asked to write about Papua New Guinea heroes.
These are the words most spoken by teacher Byron Katie in her work with others.
About 28 years ago when I was struggling with a fractured relationship with my stepson, my friend Adrien asked me this question and three more: Can you absolutely know it’s true? How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? And, Who would you be without that thought?
A week doesn’t go by without me using the Byron Katie tools (wwwthework.com) to help me find some peace in everyday living. When I need to come back to myself and find the part of the problem that belongs to me, it’s Byron I turn to.
This morning I scrolled her website to glean some insight into something that’s been bothering me. I clicked onto a YouTube interview with her and Lewis Howes. Nearing the end of the interview, Lewis asks Byron if she had to take all of her work with her when she died and was only able to leave three messages behind, what they would be? Her answer: 1. All problems are imagined. 2. The Universe is friendly. 3. It’s obvious to anyone with an open mind to see. While I don’t profess to understand the depth of meaning to her three statements, I can marshal a small inkling to what those words mean to me.
This initiated me to question what I would leave behind. Easy to be flippant and say – drink great wine, laugh long and hard, and remember to clean your teeth. Truth in all of these, but my deeper answer for today is: 1. Find your talent. 2. Get off your arse. 3. Enjoy the ride.
People often tell me they don’t have a particular talent, so I ask them what gives them great pleasure? From there they are able to navigate their way back to their innate creativity. Creativity isn’t some lofty practice, if you are a problem solver, you’re already highly creative. Every time you come up with a new idea or solution to a problem, the creative process is activated.
Even though I have written thirty books, I don’t see myself as a highly talented writer. That’s where number two comes in: Get off your arse. Several years ago, at a screenwriting Summer School at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, I meet Steve a very talented writer. Where most of us struggled over the words we had chosen for our scenes, he seamlessly wrote great copy first go. It was a privilege to see such unbridled talent in action.
Over the coming years, a handful of us kept in contact. We sent each other our work, supporting and encouraging each other. Not long into our collective journey Steve dropped out of the group, said he didn’t have what it takes and slid into the hospitality industry. It was then I realised that everyone doesn’t have the drive and the determination to keep going.
I believe that if we have even the smallest talent for something, we have to champion this for ourselves every day. Some creatives are a bit precious saying, ‘I’m the artist, it’s not up to me to advocate my work.’ Really? If we don’t believe in it and strive to support it to find its home, then how can we expect others to?
Which brings me to number three: Enjoy the ride. When interviewed about his life view, actor Barry Humphries said, ‘I’m just looking forward to the next wonderful thing to happen.’ These words of hope have sustained me through many difficult periods in my life. Through applying our talent, big or small, we can learn, grow and move forward with greater strength, personal power and enjoyment.
I walk in gratitude every day for my creative spirt, for the ability to continue on my creative journey of writing, painting, learning and loving. By that I mean I am thankful for everything I create and experience. I don’t wait for greatness to happen to be grateful, I’m happy for the smallest things; sunshine, my morning chai, a paragraph written with ease or bother, this blog, the way my legs move when I get out of bed, my family, hot water; you can see where I’m going with this. (more…)
Success in writing has to start with writing every day. If you think you should write only when inspiration hits you, you’re never going to finish a book. Get into the habit of writing something every day. (more…)
How Can I Be More Creative?
People often tell me they aren’t creative, as if creativity is some lofty practice. If you are a problem solver, you’re already highly creative. Every time you come up with a new idea or solutions to a problem, the creative process is activated. (more…)