Basically, yes, it is all about me. That is what this blog is intended for. For me to write, and write and write and write and post silly photos and phots I love and thoughts I have and ideas that come to me and what ever else takes my fancy. So if you are reading this and you are not me, then beware! There will be raw and unadulterated bits of my soul in here and rather than be offended by them, perhaps you could feel honoured that you are one of the few people who gets to know the real spark that conceived me, that is me, that allows me to live and breath in this rather pudgy human form.
I realised that I have given the last six and a half years of my life almost wholly to other people (mostly little people) and it really was okay to do a couple of things for myself, even if they didn't seem like things that would 'get me ahead', 'raise my profile' or 'advance my (non-existent) career'. Although as an adult I logically know that houses take a long time to renovate, books take a long time to write and children take their whole lives to learn, I think I really believed that if I didn't get started on all of those things immediately I got the chance then they wouldn't possibly ever come to fruition.
I do firmly believe there is a time for everything and if something 'just doesn't feel right' then it probably isn't. 'Giving myself a break', in every sense of the word, has really allowed me to put things into perspective and made me appreciate that I do understand the important things in life and among other things, I am important, and when the time is right those other things will become priorities.
Unfortunately I am yet to find anyone who thinks finding balance in family life is easy, but if they are out there somewhere I'd be happy to share a drink and a good long natter with them if they have time (which of course they would, wouldn't they??).
Well, I seem to have recuperated somewhat so I am ready to blog again, I promise to cover my Skype if I sneeze though, because you really don't want to catch this one - it will overflow your head with unwritten ideas and leave you with quite a nasty case of bloggers-block.
There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car
and shove it into gear
While it is true that you will achieve little if you do not take the time to put a good plan into place, you will achieve even less if you fail to act. That being said, I think I'll go pack the trunk and start the car (just after I check the map, make a cuppa in the travel mug and call Mum to feed the fish!)
My question to the Universe (and all those in it - who read this blog) is that if Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance what on earth Prevents Procrastination? Pretty Pennies Perhaps?
Today I was directed to this video and to say that it turned me into a quivering, teary mess would be putting it lightly. Now I appreciate if this does not have the same effect on you, perhaps you are one of the many talented and self-directed individuals who knew from the very beginning exactly what you wanted from life and dedicated yourself to achieving that end. I however, am not; well, at least not yet!
There are many, MANY things that hover on my radar, on the outskirts of my life, like a dream I always wake too early from, never to find out what actually happened, what it all meant and where it fitted in. Well, it's time to re-run a few of those dreams and open up my protective bubble. Watch Kelly's video then let me lie down on your couch and tell you all about it.
Kelly's words REALLY rang true for me. My biggest secret is 'what I really want to do with my life'. This secret is so big that I even seem to have kept it from myself. About a year ago I began searching for the combination to the lock on this vault and must have stumbled across a few important numbers because I actually got a little peek inside. What I glimpsed seemed to hold a world of opportunities, of freedom, of self-expression, of worthiness, appreciation and fulfillment and it felt GOOD!
In that space I wrote what follows. For me it was a way of making sense of my recent past and I hoped it might help me to gauge whether 'being a writer' was something I should bother following up on, or if it was just another fuzzy dream that meant I had spent too much time on the internet!
I realize this is a long post, so this would be a good point to go make yourself a cuppa or duck to the loo!
(a yet to be written compilation of lives lived less randomly)
It started out as a bit of a joke that I talked to some other mothers about – having some time out for myself, a night or two off – Oh, how we laughed! But the feeling just wouldn’t leave me alone. The more I tried not to think about it the more it crept into my thoughts. I rationalised it to within an inch of its life. My husband was a competent father and if truth be told could actually do with some one-on-one time with the kids; if only I hadn’t just spat the dummy about living in a partly renovated house, if only I’d helped more in the past nine months, we might have been finished by now and I could warrant taking some time away for myself.
Knowing these situations can lead to conflict but wanting to try my luck anyway I shared my Walkabout ‘joke’ with my husband. The stony silence quietened the desire for a day or so, but I found I just couldn’t silence it. By the third or fourth ‘joke’ I had made, my fantastically understanding man suggested I may do well taking a day out. As luck would have it my parents were out of town, so I headed to their clean, empty, quiet house with nothing more than my PJs, a bottle of wine and an old scrapbook. I ran a deep bath, filled my glass and melted into the water. My Walkabout had begun.
In this time I had a good long look at my life and tried to work out how I had gotten to this point and why the hell I felt so truly lost. Where did my optimism go? Had all of my organisational skills been left in the desk drawer on my last day of work before Maternity Leave? How could I have been so lax? And how had I not managed to teach my husband to use the washing machine – four years ago? Why did I shout at the children all the time? Hadn’t I learned all about the ‘Responsible Thinking Classroom’? Didn’t I remember the questions to ask them and the order in which they should be asked? How come they weren’t brimming with respect for me and using their impeccable manners in every conversation? Is two years old really too young to understand that Mummy just might lose the plot if they do that thing to their sister just one more time! And where has my waist gone? How come my belly button folds all the way in and for heaven’s sake, how much does a boob job really cost?
But most importantly; where was I? Not the mum who runs on auto pilot. The real me, the me with hopes and dreams and goals of her own. Where’s the woman I thought would be standing here now? The one with the fulfilling job who shares the care of her children with the man she chose to journey through life with? Where’s the mother that understands the needs of her children and the stages of life that they are at. The woman who knows that love and work and homes don’t run themselves, but need continual effort on the part of all family members. Where’s the powerful woman who used to stick up for herself at times like these. Where is that person I used to be? I know she’s in there somewhere but how come I can’t reach her? I’m sure she’s stretching her hand out to me, begging me to let her back into my life. Begging me to do whatever it is I have to to bring her out into the sunshine again.
Space. Space is what I knew I needed. Somewhere quiet I could sleep. Oh, sleep. How I remember your warm comfortable weight against my skin. How you allowed me to dream. To dream my own dreams, to solve the problems of the day and give me glimpses into the future. How I miss you. How can such a fundamental human need like sleep be so overlooked by so many people so willingly?! I want to shove a screaming baby into the arms of someone playing computer games all night – they’ll be up anyway and we all know there’s a mum out there that could really do with a rest.
On my Walkabout I did ‘find (part of) myself’ at my parents home. The more I thought about it the more I realised that that was where I left myself last. It was the last time I felt anywhere near good about myself or in control of my spiralling Mother Guilt and it was before falling pregnant with my second child. After two years the hard work and sacrifices I had made to raise my first born were starting to pay off. She was beginning to be more independent and so was I.
During this time my husband was working out of town for months on end and my parents were off spending my inheritance, so I spent a lot of time at their house ‘looking after the place’. It would appear that their house had just repaid the favour.
When my son was born we stayed with Mum and Dad to be close to our hospital of choice. In hindsight I can see now that the trauma of finally accepting I would be a mother of two (something I had quite talked myself out of ever doing) was just too much for my core being, so she simply stepped out somewhere she knew she would be safe. I guess she realised that if she raised her head while I went through the motions of learning to mother differently, my son may not have made it this far and my nuclear family may well have imploded!
Serendipitous fate lead me to a book a little while ago that I have used to find a bit more about my life’s purpose. In a few short pages it did what I have been struggling to do for several years now. A twenty minute exercise unearthed something that world travel, selling off possessions, moving house, renovating and belly button pondering had not managed. Although my knowledge of what I now need to do isn’t crystal clear, having some idea sure goes a long way to understanding myself, what I want in life and how to begin about going out and getting it.
If you feel that there is something missing deep within you, if you look at photographs of yourself and wonder where that person went, or just don’t recognize yourself anymore then Please, for your own sake and that of your families, take the time to go Walkabout and trust that the girl you thought you’d always be will find a way back to you when she knows it is time.
At the time I was lucky enough to be sitting in on a planning meeting for connect2mums. The ideas and inspirations being shared were palpable, as though you could see them zooming around the room. I sat down with my cuppa and gave it a stir and this beautiful heart appeared right before my eyes!
I believe it was the universe's way of making sure I acknowledged the love in the room and continued to be grateful for the wonderful position I found myself in. Thanks girls ;)
While I was slightly miffed my new-ish shirt now had a hole in it, I was pretty impressed with the shape and every time I wear it now I am reminded of how much I love that curly haired little scamp.
Speaking of curly haired little scamps, the two of them were on the front patio cracking macadamia nuts with their Dad, a hammer, and his newly made 'nut-holder-in placerer' when squealing and clapping echoed through the house. This was closely followed by racing footsteps and the excited shouts of 'MUUUUUUUUUUMM - look what we found for you!'.
And that is why this photo is the headline act for my blog. It reminds me of the reasons I find myself in this place at this time and to make sure I live my life in ways that are 'a little less random'.
These last two are souvenirs from my weekend trip to the Nation's Capital. I am just so grateful to have been able to go to the 'Masterpieces from Paris: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cezanne & beyond' exhibition. Not only did I get time away from my everyday life, but I got to spend it with two of my favourite people, doing some of the things I love most - traveling, taking photos, drinking coffee and absorbing up the inspiration that comes from seeing impressive original artwork.
Luckily my children are still quite malleable creatures and can deal with things turning up somewhere new - matter of fact I think they perfected the art! I try not to do the nagging mother routine too much after I have re-ordered our existence, you know, the 'put that back where it belongs' kind of whine, because the 'where it belongs' may have suddenly shifted in the space-time continuum, and they are only little after all.
You would think that after all these years though, the one person who (claims to) know me better than anyone else would be in sync with my re-energizing ways and be able to 'find stuff' quite easily, but no. I think that the minute something is not where it 'should be' (read - where it was put down last time), the man-eyes focus and no amount of spectacle wiping, brow furrowing or cranky expletives will provide any logical insight as to where that article could possibly be 'hiding'.
In my husband's defense I would have to say that he is not alone. Many a time I have heard my own father, friend's partners and countless teenage boys exclaim that things 'just seem to disappear around here'.
Well male folk, I am here to tell you that things DON'T 'just disappear', someone in your house actually takes the time to put those things 'where they belong' and if you can't use enough common sense to work out where that might logically be, then you don't deserve to have whatever it is. And if it happens to be in a different place than it was last time that is probably because the place it was last in wasn't working for who ever it is that puts your things away when you couldn't be bothered/were too busy/thought you'd use it again blah, blah, blah. That person (your wife, Mum, girlfriend, sister etc) probably got sick of looking at your 'stuff' and sick of asking YOU to put it away, so they made a new spot for it where perhaps the earth's energetic forces might allow 'it' to flow peacefully in and out of its resting place when ever necessary.
(PS - that bit about being in my husband's defense, it wasn't at all, but it did make it sound like I was sticking up for him because man-eyes or not, he did at one stage suggest putting castors on all of our furniture, Bless Him!)
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
To echo that are these words from a current multimillion dollar empire:
Just Do It
See - the sooner we realize that nothing is new, the sooner we will realize that all the answers are available to us (well, at least to those of us who know a good Buddhist or have Google!).
In my own space, feeling my own feelings, thinking my own thoughts, when I want to think them. Not ruled by the whimsy of small children, the nag of chores left undone or the press of a time-driven world. I ache to sit, to contemplate, to dwell, to engage my tortoise mind and to be creative.
I long to be self-less to myself (is that selfish, or just kind?).
Well, I have been hiding myself away in the ether for a bit and now I am (slowly) getting the hang of this new world, I guess the only thing left is to be brave about it ;)
So it is at this point I GO PUBLIC. not only am I baring my soul to myself, but to you dear reader as well. So here it is, the journal to the heart of me!
So everything from here on will be LESS. less chocolate missing from my refrigerator, less chores that have gone undone, less empty photostream on Flickr, less children awake - less often etc, etc, etc. Stay tuned as the theme of my blogs for a while is going to be fighting this scarcity mindset at it's own game - in the literal meaning of the words - I COULDN'T CARE LESS!
Along with being less random I am also trying to be a little less lazy. For instance, when I sweep the dirt off the floor into a little pile in the corner of the kitchen, I will then pick it up in the dust pan and put it in the bin - as opposed to just leaving it there to pick up later (which I always do).
I am very aware that if I don't do something properly the first time it takes up a lot of my head space to think of it again, and again, and again! Mum was right again hey - "Do it right the first time and then you wont have to keep going back until you get it right/done", truley words of wisdom from the wise!
There was, of course, an ulterior motive for such a trek into the hinterland. conveniently, Mum had an appointment there so I offered at once to chaperon her, as I am well aware of how intriguing some of that town’s little boutiques are and how in desperate need of a funky new handbag I am!
It was not all languishing in coffee shops and browsing accessories though. We had new lunch boxes to trial and two new parks to explore! Anouk and Oscar were in kid heaven at Mary Cairnscross park. Being school holidays and all there were plenty of little people to make friends with and a wonderful little playground to defy gravity from. The 5 or 6 minutes Anouk spent whirling around on the roundabout was enough to send me in the other direction to look for likely candidates for my photographic eye. I’m afraid just watching a swing these days makes me a little giddy – let alone swinging on one. And we wont even mention what horrors the monkey bars bring to mind. I’m sure I used to be so light and agile, where did the nimble, coördinated spring chicken I used to be go? Flew the coop when the kids made too much noise I expect!
I got so much enjoyment out of taking these few photos – maybe it was because, for a change, my subject was not twirling all over the viewfinder hiding their best side with a hat!
I even found a new setting on my camera that I explored. It gives a grainy B&W film look, which looked pretty amazing on the screen of the camera, but quite a few of the shots I thought were going to be crackers turned out a LOT grainier than they initially looked. Check out the difference between this shot of the dead leaf and the one taken on the ‘film-look’ setting.
This is one of the better examples of the setting!
Well, we had a great time exploring the town and its parks, but alas, no handbag! It was a lovely day out none the less and diverted the children’s attention from the fact that their Daddio was away from home once again. Nothing like a trip to a foreign park to keep your mind occupies – whether you are two, five or ….. 35!