My sad little suitcase…

My little suitcase looks sad and lonely at the bottom of the staircase.

 

And I guess I would have been too, if I hadn’t opened my mind and taken on board the messages yesterday to the possibility of flexibility.  I have been fluid like the seaweed in the strong currents and been bendy like the bamboo.

 

So rather than have supper with sister, I cooked a spicy chicken for my family.  And that was lovely too.  My stomach still nauseous, I wouldn’t have been able to have our usual Cosmopolitans, so our day in May gives me plenty of time to recover.. #theuniversehadmyback!!!

 

While I was looking forward to time on the train to focus on some work, with no distractions, I have ignored the piles of washing and sat in front of the fire, written a proposal, made the necessary tweaks to my basic website, caught up on lectures.

 

And tomorrow, rather than take a tour of Windsor Castle like we had planned and have supper with my Dad, I will get on top of our bathroom designs with a tour of the bathrooms showrooms and be a Mum and dish out pizza and popcorn for family movie night.

 

My suitcase.  Unpacked.  It may be empty, but I am not.  I remain full, happy, relaxed and ready for the next twist, turn or redirection.

 

let go

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… ripples…

The cat is purring loudly, the fire is roaring once again with Emma roaring outside the shuttered windows.  I am sat with a lovely box of chocolates and a set of drawings, visuals and plans for our bathrooms, dressing room and bedroom.

 

Now that is indulgence!

 

But I can’t concentrate on them.  As I pop a chocolate in my mouth, my mind is not on the plans, but thinking about some of the things I heard today, that resonated with me, that helped more cogs clunk into place. Emotional agility… flexibility… humility.

 

As I drove back from a snowy school run, I listened to radio 2 and a pause for thought that was explaining how humility can and should walk hand in hand with loving yourself.  She answered a riddle I hadn’t been able to. Humility, isn’t not about loving yourself, because that is allowed and should be embraced in order to look after yourself, so that you are at your best and brightest to be in service to others, to help others with your skills.  Click! And Clunk!

 

When I arrived back home, in amongst the stripping of beds, the preparations for 2 nights away, I flipped over one of my cards.  The topic was flexibility, how the rigid branch will break under a strong wind while flexible seaweed will survive a powerful ocean swell.  “Be so flexible so that no storm can uproot you.”  It was a reminder that I can stay strong to my values, myself and passions, but be open to new ideas, new compromises, new paths.  The storms and swells push you in directions you would never have dreamed of, but find you end up on the most beautiful of shores.  Click! And Clunk!

 

And to close the day, as I drove back to school, I started a new book on emotional agility.   I didn’t get much time to listen to very much of the first chapter, but what I did hear, helped me respond in the right way to conversations later on, earlier this evening.  Our emotions are human lighthouses, guiding us away from danger or towards safety:  fear to warn us away from harm, joy to bring us towards the light.  Check.  Got it.  Un-numbed my emotions are back in force.  Listen to my emotions, my gut feel, my intuition.  But then there is the mix of my emotions, that are clouding my judgements, based on past and painful memories.  My emotions have blinkered me from reality, but then have also made me see more than is really there.  Her answer to emotional agility, the ability to respond, rather than react is to process your feelings, experience your feelings, understand the intricacies of them and how you can use them to move forward…. Her answer to emotional agility, is journaling.

 

So in a conversation, hanging on to the bars of the aga, when we talk, as we do openly and with flagrant honesty, we discuss if we would have made the same choices 16 months ago.  Would I have continued to journal so publicly?  Faced with the consequences we both face because of both our actions, the ripples of all the many decisions, actions and words all intertwined, would I?

 

My answer, always, still the same. Yes.  Without journaling, I would be in a mental institution, wracked by the emotions that would have had me crashing on the rocks.  Without being totally and openly vulnerable, exposing myself, I wouldn’t have felt the support I have, given the strength I needed.  Without sharing, I would never have known that I am not alone, that others survived, that we are all strong in our own storms, our own swells and hurricanes.

 

And anyway, I am over playing the ‘what if’ game.  You can’t change the past.  You can only accept it.  Admire the ripples.  Ripples are beautiful, calming, perfect, eternal.  And when your ripples bounce off the ripples of others, they intertwine, making them even more awesome, mesmerising and stronger together.

 

ripples

 

The Beast from the East

The Beast from the East has been creating a whirlwind of crazy outside, while there has been a whirlwind of crazy inside.

 

Today, I have been car less, hot water less and heating less and therefore shower less.

 

Through my front door today, I have had a decorator, an emergency plumber, a couple of interior designers, a MacMillan sub-committee, a car delivery man, 2 small boys and the parent who kindly brought them home.

 

Add to that I have worn my many ‘joy’ hats;  breakfast maker, missing glove and coat finder, Mum and parent in a school meeting, health coach, coffee and tea maker, charity volunteer, IT geek, home owner / developer / designer, washer woman, student, Mrs Mop, pot washer, chef, friend on the end of a phone and supper time confidante.

 

All day, I wore my running kit, but never go to go out, thanks to ‘Emma’ blowing hot and cold, sunny and blizzarding.

 

And now I sit here, with my car safely back to battle the snow piles tomorrow, clean and washed from a hot water shower, with a full belly and a fire blazing and thinking how lucky I am at having had such a wonderful, full day doing all the things I love!

 

lucky

A year of ‘no’ to a year of ‘yes’

I have been loving listening to Shonda Rhimes’ book, ‘A Year of Yes’.  It is the story of her journey from being asleep to become alive, and beautiful and knowing that she is fully on her path to fulfilment.  Her version of fulfilment.  How she has shrugged off others’ opinion of wholeness and fairy tales and created her own.

 

Her year of saying ‘yes’ to things she once said ‘no’ transformed her life.

 

I am approaching the end of the book and she is dancing it out in a photo shoot on top of an apple box mountain where she says she can feel the sun on her face, the sun that she created.

 

Her year.

 

My year.

 

I have been ‘dancing it out’ a lot recently.   On the top of my mountain, that happens to be in my kitchen.  A year ago, I bought 3 flags from a market in Cape Town and hung them in places I would see them frequently.  One of them said ‘My Kitchen is for Dancing’ and it is now hung in our new kitchen.  And this is where I dance it out.  This is where I feel the sun of the world that I have created on my face.

 

It has been my year of following the words of the other 2 flags, ‘Follow your heart’ and believing that ‘amazing things are going to happen’.  I said yes to the flags.  Anything that didn’t fit the flags, didn’t fit in my life.  Anything or anyone that didn’t make me feel like dancing, that I wasn’t following my heart or wasn’t going to lead to anything amazing I said ‘no’ to.

 

My year of ‘no’ transformed my life so that I now say ‘yes’ to life again.  And i am dancing on my mountain top, with my face to the sun.

 

shonda

My body is a temple

Alcohol is not my friend.

Alcohol is my arch enemy, my nemesis.

I do not need much, in fact very little needs to pass my lips and I feel the effects almost immediately.

And I do not need much, only a few glasses and the consequences are colossal. My day ruined. My body Ruined. My health ruined.

Since mid January, i have been focussed on putting everything I am learning from my health coaching into practice. My body a temple. A healthy balance of 80/20 or perhaps even 90/10, feeling guilt free, learning to love my body and my body image. Thanks to Mel Wells I am treating my body and soul like the goddess it is, revering it and treating it well.

So a complete overload of toxins, my 10-20% all in the space of an intense 8 hours and very little sleep, and my temple had something to say! Most of it screamed down the big white telephone….

But hey. A waste of a day. But sometimes i need a big blow out to remind myself why I treat my body like a goddess, a temple.

Tomorrow is another day, first steps to recovery, first steps to health – water to flush away the toxins and restful sleep. Then self care mentally and nurturing externally … until then I will embrace the mess!

It’s too late

Oh my god. It’s too late.

It’s just too late.

And I am here. Understanding I am not alone. But that I Am the only one speaking out.and while some fine comfort and inspiration. Others want to shut me up.

Interesting. Always interesting.

It’s too late. I should have spoken out sooner.

An ambitious parent..

I had forgotten how tiring it was to have ambition and parent.  Or to parent had have ambition.

 

I had forgotten what it was like to have such a brilliant, productive and exciting day, only to to be screamed at by a small person, telling you that you have ruined their life.  Take it personally and it bursts your bubble, but really, it is just their tiredness, their hunger or their frustration at some small thing being projected at you.

 

As an ambitious parent, the art of deflection, sometimes absorption has to become second nature.  As an ambitious parent, you have to let the ticker tape of exciting plans in your mind go… let them fly into the wind like streamers, and give your soul, mind and full attention to an angry small person.  I have learnt compassion, eye level talks, a gentle touch work far better than the moments, you try to hold the ticker tape.  Holding the streamers, the ribbons that fly in your mind prevent you from giving yourself to them.  And they know it.  Holding on, you get caught in the trap of frustration of trying to focus on two things…. And that just ends badly.  Anger and frustration clashing all over the place just causes fireworks, tears, slammed doors.

 

But the reverse is also true.  You can have the most disappointing of days, the devastating of days and just the small act of a small hand slipping in to yours, the comforting little arms around your middle, soft lips, soft cheeks offered up to you, a giggle, a laugh and an invite to dance.  Those little magical moments can provide one big puff to blow back up that deflated balloon.  You are someone to somebody.  To someone, you are there world, their inspiration, their everything.  In those moments, life is put back in to perspective.  It is in those moments of letting go of the frustrations of ambition, clear air fills the balloon and creativity is regenerated.

 

I have learnt so many times over that the art of happiness is living in the one moment.  The one you are in.  A parent. An ambitious individual.  You can do and be both.  But in the same moment, the two tussle.  My unhappiness is always present in the tussle.  Happiness is just being one and at one with the moment and loving it.

 

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