MBT Menu Tabs JavaScript

Saturday, April 30, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemamma. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nourish Me:: Week Eight - I Spy

Warmth, light and beauty

My writing focus this week has been about clear-seeing. I find it amusing that it is nearly the weeks end and that I am only now really reading the material I should have started on Monday. Only now am I giving myself the gift of some time to focus on myself and my journey.

It's been a bit of a battle this week but then I think I'm still in the process of avoiding. It's interesting to note my resistance to something I chose for myself, that I longed for, looked forward to and am now finding reasons not to engage in. Clear seeing - what is that? Seeing in the moment or seeing the moments truthfully? I think I see all the negatives very clearly. I can see where I go wrong on a minute by minute basis. And sometimes it feels as if that's what I'm doing - judging myself by my failures minute after minute after minute. It's no wonder I get to the end of the day and feel exhausted and demoralised. 
Photo  via http://lipglosnletdown.tumblr.com/page/10
As you know, I decided a few months ago, to spend this year focusing on nourishing myself. I chose the word 'Nourish' as my word for the year - the word by which I would try to live and to which I would try to pay attention.  I found the first few weeks easy and could barely wait to have the next post ready to go. Then, after five weeks, the nourishment came less readily, in small bites, yet these were just as delightful in their unexpectedness. My clear seeing seems to be following this same pattern. Little moments of nourishment and little moments of awareness go hand in hand. Yet, now I am in this place of 'what do I write about?' How do I know what I am not seeing? What am I missing? How can I see those moments of nourishment in areas that may not come so easily to me. The ones that I may not even know about because I have never looked towards them? How does one train the eye (inner and outer) on that which one does not ordinarily see? I guess by paying more attention. By incorporating more pauses into my daily life. By giving myself permission to slow down and let go.

I know that in order to move to a much healthier place emotionally, my mind needs to be able to focus more on these moments of goodness, of grace, of success in my every day life - where I meet my expectations or at least get a little closer to them. I need to stop punishing myself for every little mistake and remember to focus on the things that I do and say that are right, intuitive, funny, patient and kind. My fire often gets in the way of clear seeing. It causes the world to narrow, my vision to tunnel and my actions and therefore the outcomes to remain the same - the very definition of madness. I can see all my faults so clearly as if punishing myself for them, somehow makes the mistakes easier to bear. As if by punishing myself, I won't be punished by others. By God.
Photo via http://silenceiswild.tumblr.com/ 
I have PND (post natal depression). I have talked about it many times. It's hard to see anything clearly through that. It is a filter through which my life and my mothering are scorched. PND does not really mean 'depressed' it is more of an anxiety that fills you up and jangles every stretched nerve. It keeps me in a constant state of 'simmer' so that every little bump in the road pushes me into anger. It is not easy to live with and neither am I. Part of the PND that is difficult to live with is that I get separation anxiety sometimes. When I am not with my children, and especially if I have had a few difficult days with them, as I have this week, I worry that 'God' will take them away from me. I fear their loss. It can be terrifying. It's interesting to me that I see God in this way. I was raised a catholic and I wonder if all that hellfire and brimstone has left this legacy behind? God as a judgmental, violent, jealous being who sees fit to punish those who falter, who lack sufficient faith. When I stop to really think about it, this is not how I see 'God'. It is only in those moments of fear when I strive to avert some anticipated, feared disaster. When I am bargaining. 
I am not a religious person. I class myself as spiritual I suppose. And yet, I see myself slipping into the martyr role so easily in times of struggle, begging God to forgive me for my sins. I think this ties into my uncomfortable feelings about faith. When I try to see my relationship with the Divine clearly, I cannot. It's as if I don't really know what it is that's 'out there'. I want to believe there is some divinity guiding us, but I am uncomfortable with the uncertainty. Again, I don't have that unshakeable faith that there is something, bigger and wiser than me, guiding and illuminating my path. It feels like falling to surrender to this not knowing. I am someone who needs certainty - control. Yet, in those moments I do surrender or am at peace with the not knowing, there is a sort of acceptance, a sense of peace that comes with it.
Photo from thenocturnalnest
I remember the surrender that birthed my boy into being just 10 short months ago. The day that he was born, I was 6 days overdue and had been feeling highly irritated and uncomfortable for months. That day I simply felt at peace with everything exactly as it was. I felt no stress despite my birthing assistant leaving the very next day for a three day retreat and my back-up assistant having bronchitis and not being available. It was all as it should be and I was totally comfortable with whatever happened. I didn't want to find a way to push the labour to happen. I didn't want to talk to the baby and convince it to come. I simply wanted to sit with everything, just as it was, and let it be. It was extraordinary, to say the least, for me (the giant stress-head) to be in this space and I savoured it. I truly did. I let the surrender wash over me and I was truly at peace. Just hours later I went into labour and birthed my boy into the world in a mere 8 hours, totally naturally. I remember just breathing my way through it all, trusting the process, my body, myself. Letting myself go into the waves of contractions until I could feel this power vibrating through my body. The birthing energy was so intense and so fierce and so concentrated. Yet still within it, I was surrendered to the process, breathing into it - journeying with it.  I was a proud birthing mamma - joined by some invisible thread to all the other birthing mammas that were with me on this journey, that had ever been and that ever would be.  I felt strong and indomitable and fearless. It was joyous and beautiful even in those moments of challenge that are a part of every birth. I relished every moment and still do. I have never been prouder of myself.
Photo via http://turnofthecentury.tumblr.com/
Now I find myself wondering if I could surrender to the rigours of an ordinary life in this way? To simply trust the journey to unfold without me trying to control, steer, interfere. Without standing in my own way and, most importantly, without beating myself up. Wouldn't my entire life be as joyous and as beautiful? Wouldn't I be present to the beauty of the world and even myself, if I simply allowed life to take me instead of me trying to take life and mould it into the shape I think it should be? Is it that easy to really let go? To surrender to the flow without knowing where it will take me? It was easy that day but can I surrender daily to the discomfort of not knowing and let it shape me, change me, bend me to it's will? Can I begin again without all that I think I am and all that I want to be getting in the way? And, more importantly, if I begin to do this - can I find my way back to this intention when the days are tough, the tempers are frayed and I have merely dark indentations where (my oft pushed) buttons once lived?

These are certainly things to ponder. I shall keep my eyes (and heart) open and really try to 'see' what unfolds.

And now, because I like doing this so much, I will share some more of my small nourishy bites with you:
:: watching :: myself and the world around me. Very closely.
There are fairies at the bottom of my garden
:: loving :: exploring my psyche and finding some answers. Kinda. Capturing sweet moments.

: longing :: for a break. Some time in a different environment to recharge. Some time to sleep whenever I feel like it.
found on http://perfectionturnsmeon.blogspot.com/
:: looking forward to :: finding some rhythm in my days with Beanie and Bear, to ease the tension and give us some focus for our days. My friends being within hugging distance for a while. Chai and good conversation and maybe a little knitting.

:: heading towards :: the next leg of my journey, one uncertain step at a time.

:: enjoying :: nature walks, the cold misty mornings, rain on a cold tin roof, the sense of slowing down and breathing easier now autumn is so present.

::making:: a rainbow dress for Beanie with beautiful, colourful Noro wool. Ravelry pattern here. Lots of lovely soups and hearty warm wintery food including my very first ever batch of chicken stock! I feel like such a homesteader!

:: surprising myself with :: how easy it is to make fresh stock. I may never buy it again! 

:: feeling :: a bit stormy but with patches of sunshine.

:: hoping for :: a change of programming in me 'ead, a chance to escape the rut I'm in with Beanie, a change of scene, some snow (fat chance!), someone to talk to.
found on http://weareinevitable.tumblr.com/
:: grateful for :: the beautiful photographs taken by my bestie Lausy of Warmth and Light photography. They all turned out so beautifully and she captured the essence of our family so well, it's going to be mighty hard to pick out the ones we want on the wall. And as if that wasn't enough, she gave me a back massage too. Oh that woman was sent by angels just for me.

Here's hoping that you are getting the nourishment you need. If you post about it, let me know.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Question of Faith

So, today I went to my first PND/Positive Parenting meeting and discovered that I am not the only one who is often ashamed, mortified, saddened and generally depressed about aspects of my mothering.

I discovered that I am not the only one who regrets her words the instant they leave her untamed mouth. Nor the only one who struggles under the weight of all this guilt. I discovered that I am not alone on this fiery path towards motherhood. And it was good.

Still, I found that even as I recognised myself in the other women present. Even as I felt that shiver of relief in our shared experiences, I felt set apart. Maybe we all did. Maybe, deep down, everyone was still thinking, 'Yes, I agree. But still, if you saw me when I (fill in the blank) you would see how bad/how hateful/how childish/how vengeful/how resentful/how evil... I really am and you would judge me.' Maybe everyone still thought that they were the 'worst' mother in the room. But not me. I'll admit that this is definitely what I normally think. But not today. Instead I felt blessed to be me. I felt blessed that my life was not as contaminated with sadness and anxiety as some of these other women's were. I saw their pain on their faces. I heard that tremble in their voices as the struggled to speak through all that self-anger and hopelessness they often felt. I felt myself reaching out to soothe, to offer words of support, words of comfort - even though I myself struggle with the self same issues that they do. I wanted them to feel better. I wanted them to know that just being there, in that group, offering the gift of their honesty despite the shame, put them streets ahead of other mothers. Being there was one big neon sign of love for our children. We want to change. We own our problems and we want to deal. We need to. I felt humbled and I wish these women could see what a gift their journey was to me.

I was beautifully reminded that despite my shortcomings, I have support. I don't have a husband who dismisses me, who comes home after work and offers nothing but criticism for those shortcomings. Or who spends all of his time belittling my struggles and pointing out everything that I am doing wrong. I was blessed by that reminder but I wished I could have hugged the mother whose story this is.

My empathy for other people's suffering runs fairly deep. (The one and only time I ever did coke, I spent the entire time weeping and crapping on about Tibet and the plight of the Dalai Lama!). This is not always a good thing. I can so easily put myself in someone else's shoes that it can be a bit of a burden. I get depressed/upset/angry for them. I want to fix everything - make everything better for them, which is really not my place. Still, the good effects outweigh the bad I think. Often it makes me realise, as it did today, that my struggles are not so bad. That my struggles don't have the bitter sharp edge that some of theirs do. It reminded me that if I can show compassion for their sufferings, their struggles, then it should be just as easy to show the same compassion for my own. After all, they are the same struggles for the most part! That was also comforting. It was like being given a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' card for my bad days. 

That's not to say that I won't still spend my time analysing, reflecting, and yes, often beating myself up, about those bad days. It's more that I can now draw on that  experience and try to remember to treat myself as I would treat any one of them, without hesitation. Which is kindly, respectfully, gently and with understanding. One of the women said her sister, who had also struggled with motherhood, had a badge made up that said 'Hello. I Am Trying My Best!' I think we would all wear one because we all want people to understand that we really are trying our hardest to deal. We are embarrassed and often ashamed of ourselves or our children's behaviours. We feel the eyes of judgment shifting in our direction and we feel more stressed as we try so hard to get it under control. What wouldn't we give for a knowing smile that says, "I've been there honey. I know how you feel," or "don't worry, this too shall pass!." It is so very rarely there though and this is a great shame. Motherhood seems to come with a lot of unnecessary judgment. Each one of us makes choices to raise our children to the best of our ability and with the best of intentions. It doesn't always run smooth. It doesn't always run at all! But the truth is everyone is doing their best. There are not many truly awful, careless, cruel mother's out there and so this is not so much of a sweeping statement as it is an acknowledgement that everyone, even those mother's who do things that make us take in a sharp breath every now and then, are doing their best. Or are trying to and maybe what they need most right now is a hug, or a kind smile or a compassionate comment rather than hostility and judgement. I know there are days when I feel like screaming. Days where Beanie seems to just have her compass set to 'naughty little minx' and turned all the way up to 11. I can hear my frazzled voice, my irritation, a feeling of wanting to just run away and leave her in the store whining about yet another Easter Egg and trying to sneakily pick away at the chocolate without me knowing. And all it takes is another mother to smile and say, 'they are cheeky at this age, aren't they?' and it allows me a pause in the moment to know that I am not alone. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes.

In all this struggle and particularly at the end of (very long) days like this, it's really all about finding my faith in myself as a mother. Trusting that the decisions I make (and agonise over) will be the right ones for my children. That if I can't go with my first choice, I can go with my gut. That I won't be making life-long, soul scarring mistakes if I choose wrongly occasionally. And that is hard for me. It's hard for me to make mistakes. It's hard for me to know that I am not perfect when I am a perfectionist. I actually think that many of the women in my group suffer from the same malaise and maybe that's another reason we are all there. We set the bar so high that we can never hope to attain it and then punish ourselves over each and every fail. It's hardly a recipe for good mental health, is it? So, how do I go about finding my faith in myself? How do I manage to stand in the midst of all the chaos (inner and outer), and still find the self-belief to know it will all be alright? To trust that there is a divine inner guidance operating and to allow that to lead the way? I honestly don't know. I do know that finding some inner, if not outer, quiet would be a start but then that's a subject for a whole other post.

I would love to hear how faith operates for you in your lives, as mother's and as people. Where do you go to find your own nourishment, the sustenance you need to continue to be a good mother, partner, wife, employee etc? What do you put your trust in? Or who?


Saturday, April 9, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemamma. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Nourish Me:: Week Seven - Moment by Moment

Natural Beauty

Ah, here I am again. There hasn't been any one big thing nourishing this parched soul this week. It has again come in small yummy bites and I think it has been all the more delicious and absorbable (is that a word?) for that. 

I noticed that I kept thinking to myself that I should have something more, I dunno, weighty maybe, to write about and I kept searching for the big thunderclap of nourishment to appear. Yet there wasn't one. Maybe there won't always be. It's funny, putting myself under pressure to produce something interesting to read and trying to find something important to write about, is so not what this whole series of posts is about. I think this is what these bite sized pieces of goodness have been teaching me. That it's ok to find our pleasures in small things. A five minute knitting break, a ten minute sit down with a good cuppa, a few seconds of deep breathing and steadying. It all adds up to so much more.

And so, I will once more share my sweet nourishy bites with you.

:: watching :: The trees starting to change colour as Autumn takes delicate hold around me; hilarious new US TV series 'The Modern Family' - pure genius; fantastic new US TV series 'Boardwalk Empire' about prohibition - very engaging; and of course True Blood - Series Three - again - so good!

:: loving :: my daughters new school (and it's not even Waldorf!) - can't believe my little Beanie will be at school next February - how fast the time goes!; the decadent delights of Connoisseur caramel, honey and macadamia nut ice cream..uh oh.

Autumn Nature Table 
:: longing :: for a massage. Oh dear God let it be soon; enough hours in the day to read all the wonderful books piling up on my struggling bedside shelves - God bless our local library for it soeth rocketh; some quality sleep - you know, for more than an hour at a time; 

:: looking forward to :: I'll say it again - Winter days at the beach; mulled wine; hot chocolate; open fires. Especially since I finally got my new order of organic hot chocolate mix. Best hot chocolate EVER! Oh and so excited about our forthcoming family photo shoot with the talented and lovely Lausie of Warmth and Light Photography. Any time with Laura is wonderful and I get the added bonus of some wall worthy photographs of our whole family at one time! 
:: heading towards :: Easter and some quality time with my man; the installing of our brand new, thrifted, $20 toilet; a little painting; my new online writing course (starts tomorrow!). It's called 'Writing Our Way Home' and you can find out all about it here.
:: enjoying :: just looking at all the books on my shelves and dreaming about the wisdom they hold and some time to read them; the last of the summer strawberries and raspberries before the season finishes; evening walks with my hubble and the kidlets - one in a backpack and the other on a thrifted $2 scooter. I don't know what I love more, the scooter or the fact that is was only $2!; the few moments in bed I get before the small and smaller squirmy people invade; finally sending off some of my craft swaps (very satisfying);

Easter Bunnies & The Bluebirds of Happiness

::making:: cute little peg people for my two Easter swaps. The little guys above are going to a new home through the Four Seasons craft exchange. The bluebirds were inspired by the lovely lady at We Bloom Here. Check out her gorgeous crafty blog. Whereas these little guys
Little Flower Children still sleeping in their leafy winter beds.

are going to someone lovely from the Bits of Goodness Easter Swap. This group does regular swaps on different themes, the last one was gardens. If you're feeling crafty, I recommend this group because they swap often and they are so creative. These babies were inspired by the wonderful Twig and Toadstool. Another absolute gem of creativity.

Ready for her close up.
:: surprising myself with :: how much I don't seem to care about what I eat. Bad Kitty, smack paws!; how much I enjoy handwork and all things crafty - still not bored with it even though I'm still not that good at it!

:: feeling :: up and down. Had some seriously 'bad mommy' moments this past week, followed by some much better, much happier days. But that guilt is a killer.

:: hoping :: for my mums parcels to arrive from the UK; my new books to arrive; some time to rearrange the laundry and all of our craft stuff; that my course will help me to connect with myself more deeply.
Hoot and Little Red - for Beanie

:: grateful for :: moments of peace in my daily life; moments of grace in my emotional life; you guys.
Bugs & Dirty Little Fingers = Happiness

What you all been up to? Are you bounding into Spring or slowing into Autumn? What's been nourishing you this week?
The Good Witch of the Green Woods


Friday, April 1, 2011

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemamma. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.