Are you a gongoozler in your life?

Valerie Khoo and Alison Tait (from the podcast “So you want to be a Writer”) issued a word of the week challenge the other day. Use “gongoozler” in a blog post somewhere.

So how does gongoozler fit into a blog on living a conscious, joyful life? Tips on life, loss and my literary dreams. It fits very easily. Gongoozler means an idle spectator. And if you know me, or have read any of my blogs, you know that I consciously gave up being a gongoozler a few years ago. I decided enough is enough, time to learn to feel and heal, no more letting someone else drive, or working myself to death for someone else’s dream. I made a choice to change, to be a fully committed participant in my own life, and to follow my own dreams of writing.

A writer’s dream

When I think of the dreams I have for myself in this life, writing is still way up there. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Fast forward five and a bit decades—and I am a published author. Yay! However, Book #1 took me about seven months (and twenty years) to write. This was Breathing While Drowning: One Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, my memoir of my return to a vibrant life after the death of my young daughter Jacqui Bree. Taking twenty years to write a book is not going to give me a writer’s life. It’s really only dipping my toe in the water. I need to put my participator in top gear and put the gongoozler firmly back on to her seat by the canal to watch the boats go by (this is where the word gongoozler originated by the way).

Some idle water watching

Book #2

So, next week, I’m going to write Book #2 in 4 days—seriously. What the? Yep, I’m heading to Turtle Bay in Hawaii with Strack and the other Veronica, and I’m going to write my second book, and maybe even start my third at a writing retreat. Exciting, ridiculous, and maybe a bit of both. We’re attending a Tom Bird Write your Book in a Weekend workshop. And I have no idea what I’m going to write, nor does Strack or the other Veronica, or anybody else attending. It all happens at the retreat, and we are in Tom’s safe hands.

So what’s it all about?

This workshop is part of my coaching program this year with the Groover’s Awaken Your Impact. We’ve been preparing by attending some of Tom Bird’s free writing workshops online, and reading his book Write to Heal which has a whole stack of exercises to do. The exercises help you move a whole lot of stuff out of your life to make space for the book(s). I’m all on board with de-cluttering my past rubbish, sort of like Marie Kondo for the heart and spirit. It should be no surprise to anyone that I had plenty more stuff to let go. So I should have stacks of space for writing now. I don’t think there will be a single gongoozler in sight.

Watch this space and I’ll keep you up to date with my writing progress. For those of you who know I am still a bit work focused, yes I will be spending the following week as a tourist, seeing more of Hawaii.

Not a gongoozler in sight

Now it’s time to ask yourself…

Are you a gongoozler in your own life?

If the answer is yes, what small step could you take to change and become a participant again? When was the last time you did something fun, just for you? Maybe it’s time to do that today.

And, by the by, if you do want to be a writer, Val and Al’s podcast is a must. And even if you don’t want to be a writer, they are hilarious and entertaining. I love that their banter is in Strine (that’s Australian English in case you didn’t know), and they talk about things and places I’m familiar with – though it does get a bit Sydney-centric naturally. They also have stacks of great information on the practicalities of writing and they interview some fabulous authors. So, head over to and have a listen. You may end up like I do, skipping other podcasts to get to Val & Al’s next episode.

Don’t just sit there now. Go and do something.

Thanks for reading.
And if you’d rather listen to me read the blog, head over to SoundCloud HERE.


If you’d like to read my first book, Breathing While Drowning: One Woman’s Quest for Wholeness, before the next one is released, gift yourself a copy HERE. And get cracking ‘cos the next one is coming soon.

What’s your bold potential?

When I read the campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day I thought, brilliant! Be bold for change – be bold for change and take action – take action for gender parity – forge a better working world – a more gender inclusive world.

Why do we still need this, haven’t we achieved gender equality? That’s a big no! At the rate we are going, the gender equity gap won’t close entirely until 2186 – another 169 years.

Progress is still too slow for realising the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

What is your potential to be bold?

What's your bold potential?

I believe we all have within us the potential to be bold, to make our difference, to make a positive impact in the world. I believe we all have the potential to be leaders. John Quincy Adams wrote:

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”

I believe that as leaders our job is to inspire, to instruct and to involve – to pay it forward if you like. I believe in compassionate leadership: to show up, step up, and give the person next to you a hand up.

Boldness starts within ourselves

It takes boldness to show up, and to show up as all of who we are. I work with remarkable leaders who want to make a powerful and compassionate impact in the world. All of these leaders struggle at times with being bold, with being seen, and heard, and making their impact. They sometimes feel the opposite of powerful. They feel powerless.

I know a lot about feeling powerless. Do I look powerless to you? As you read this blog – what do you see? A successful writer, speaker, coach, confident, out there, being bold, leading, making her difference.

I wasn’t always like this. I had it all, great job, great money, great family (they put up with me for a start) and great life, all the power I needed right? I had everything you are supposed to want—and it wasn’t enough. On the inside, I was empty. There was this big fat hole in my life that sucked all the feeling out, I felt powerless to fill it. The hole had begun with the death of my daughter Jacqui Bree in 1995 when she was 4 years old. Initially I tried to fill it with being busy, with work, but no amount of work could fill that hole, although I tried really, really hard, with lots and lots of work.

Eventually I had had enough.

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.  – J. P. Morgan

So I tried making physical changes, I lost weight, got fit, ran a triathlon, then a marathon. 42 kilometres which took me 7 months to train, and I ran it in 5 hours and 20 minutes (running into the MCG at the end was amazing), all good for discipline and resilience and achievement, but the hole was still there.

I tried mental challenges, learning philosophy and thinking my way to feeling fulfilled and happy. Interesting, but the hole was still there.

What was missing? Can you guess?

Yep, spiritual change, the connection to who I was, who I am and who I want to be: body and mind needed the soul.

body, mind and soul = YOU

A bold move for me was finally admitting to a couple of girlfriends that I wasn’t happy. And then, hearing that they weren’t content either. I was not alone, not this selfish freak I had imagined. We were all members of the Discontented Women’s Club. This is where my conscious quest for wholeness and a joyful life really began. This is when I committed to boldly go where I had not gone before—inside, to find what was missing in my life – to find my way home.

What do you think holds people back from those bold moments, what holds you back? What would happen if you were bold? If you took bold action now?

How can you begin to take bold action?

It helps if you know a little more about what you love and value; then it’s easier to choose differently, to change and be bold. An exercise that I love to give people is “I love, I value, I choose”. Your bold move today could be to download the exercise and gift yourself 20 minutes to complete it.  Here’s the link…

Remember we become new with each breath we take. So take a breath now…

Thanks for reading
(And if you would like to listen to or download an audio of this blog go to Soundcloud HERE)


If you’d like to read more about my quest for wholeness, gift yourself a copy of my book Breathing While Drowning, and see if my signposts can help you find your way home.

Getting better versus being good

As we madly set our goals for the year, could you consider choosing a getting better goal rather than a being good goal?

What I mean is, if you think about your goals in terms of getting better at something, rather than being good at it, then with every small change or action – whether we get it perfect, complete or not – we’re achieving our goal anyway – we’re getting better at it. Continue reading

Breathe in deeply, breathe out, repeat.…

So, I’m a published author, I made that dream a reality. What else is possible?

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

If I can write and publish a book after dreaming about it for decades, then I believe anyone can. If I can survive sharing with the world the deepest hurt of my life and how I found my way home—what else is possible?

That’s what I kept asking myself just before I fell into a big emotional puddle the other day. Up to my neck drowning; again. Tears close to the surface, fear and anxiety rising, the joy disappearing under a tidal wave of overwhelm.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Continue reading

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday this post was titled ” an ocean, a rowboat, and one paddle”. It was all about how if I’d know how traumatic it would be to publish a book, I might have changed my mind. You may never have got to read Breathing While Drowning: One Woman’s Quest for Wholeness.

It’s been almost a year since I finished the manuscript. The writing was an emotional roller coaster all on it’s own; reliving the 20-year-old journals I wrote to my daughter Jacqui Bree before and after her death at the age of four.

But if I thought that was tough…

Continue reading

Is it time to show up for your own story?

There’s something magical about telling a story, and my dream has always been to write stories. Until recently, story writing was just that, a dream. But it’s a dream no longer; my book is finished and it’s being published soon.

My story is Breathing While Drowning, a memoir of my life so far. My heroine’s journey into despair, trials, tribulation and my quest for healing and return to living a vibrant and remarkable life, a life worthy of my attention. Continue reading