We tend to give ourselves targets to achieve life’s major milestones. Our motivation may be biologically driven, but can also be influenced by societal constructs. Expectations about buying a home, marriage, children, career and retirement buzz around in our heads. I must do this by then… Often, it’s subliminal. We may not even recognise the power of external pressures. If only we could let go of the need to compare our progress against another’s.

I have a clear memory of my Year 10 commerce class. I was sixteen years of age. Mr Berzins asked us to predict what our life…


It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was cupping my left hand around my exam papers in primary school. A makeshift shield to guard my answers from whoever was sitting next to me. I strangled my pen as I rapidly moved my right hand over the page — my heart beating heavy in my chest. Faster, faster. I kept encouraging myself. I had studied enough though. I was confident. Mrs Glasson’s voice sliced through the silence. ‘Okay everyone, finish up. Ten minutes to go.’ Even though my eyes were focused on the page, I trusted my peripheral vision to…


Up until now, I haven’t shared any direct quotes from my ‘almost ready for the world’ memoir — Where Have I Been All My Life. I suppose it’s about time (and fitting for this topic), to offer a few lines from the opening pages.

‘My story isn’t about an extraordinary life. It’s quite the opposite actually. It’s the story of an ordinary life. It’s a cautionary tale. A warning. An example of what not to do. It is a story for anyone who has ever felt stuck or has lost hope for the future.’

Ordinary by definition means ‘with no…


There were no reality shows like ‘Gogglebox’ when I was growing up in the eighties. Although my family did partake in a similar commentary while watching T.V. from the green, jungle inspired family room. We joked about people and scrutinised their appearance as if we were scoring them in a pageant. We were all guilty.

‘Oh, doesn’t she look older.’

‘Woah. Look at that hairstyle.’

‘Nice outfit… hehe.’

At its essence, judging is being critical of something in another person (thoughts, looks or behaviour) that we view as different from ourselves. …


Did I just say ‘wrote?’ The fact that I am using past tense to describe the book that I have been writing for over four years seems rather surreal. I’m not suggesting it’s ready for the shelves, but I have finally sent the draft to my editor. When I pressed ‘send,’ there was no marching band or fireworks, but inside there was a party going on. I relaxed my shoulders for the first time in weeks, and I gave my eyes a break from staring at the glowing screen of my computer.

Whenever we’re working on a mammoth task, we…


As a child, I remember pretending not to hear my parents when they called out my name from another room? I’d wait until their voice got a bit louder and respond with something vague like,

‘Huh?’ or ‘What did you say?’ as my eyes remained fixated on whatever toys or game I was playing with.

It wasn’t until the third or fourth request (when they became super cranky) that they’d get my full attention. I was smart enough not to ignore the scary voice.

In the same way, when the universe gives us hints, we only listen when we want…


You could say I’m a triple threat… to myself, that is. I’ve been labelled a perfectionist, a future thinker, and I have an overactive mind. Even though I’m working on breaking free of these identities, they may help explain my tendency to ruminate.

I procrastinate when I should be getting stuff done. Especially when I’m out of my comfort zone. I think of all the consequences of future events at a micro level, imagining everything that could happen. Then I strategize contingencies for the gazillion possibilities.

During a conversation with my accountability buddy last year, I was discussing my plans…


Are you more likely to be in control, or out of control? Do you have things under control, or are you someone who likes to lose control?

I grew up in a household where everything had its place and things always appeared to be in order. It’s no surprise that in subsequent years, control had positive connotations for me. I remember that ahhhhhh feeling at the end of the day when the bills were paid and all the housework was up-to-date. I had confused being organised with being in control.

The illusion of having control died when my dad did…


While cleaning up a few years ago, I found some notes in a journal that I’d written in my mid-twenties. I drew my open hand towards my heart as I read my concerns about having a baby.

‘How could I bring a tiny human into this scary and unpredictable world of chaos and disorder? How could I possibly be responsible for, and protect a precious life when so much could go wrong?’

It made no sense. Did I even write these words? I’d had a great life. A relatively sheltered one. I’d been loved by my family and friends. These…


By no means do I intend to downplay the devastation unfolding on multiple levels around the globe. When I dwell on the ‘what if’s,’ or contemplate the emotions of the human angels in the frontline, I become immobilised. I’m an empath so it’s debilitating for me to take on the heaviness of our current reality. Over the past few weeks, I have cried, worried, been anxious and felt overwhelmed, but I’m yet to find any useful purpose for catastrophic thinking. So, I choose to let go of the unproductive thoughts as much as possible. …

Lisa Benson

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