Mastering Your Mean Girl

How you ever read a book and been so inspired, so excited that you just have to tell everyone about it? That the principles written in the book resonate so deeply that you take action?

I have been tinkering around with a couple of blog posts in the last few days because I have read books that have inspired me. Before I stopped, gathered the inspiration and started writing, I had already moved on to the next one, thinking I’ll write it down later or I’d jot down some thoughts and think that should be enough to prompt me to remember. I read really fast but don’t seem to have a photographic memory.  Unfortunately that made it really hard for me to put heart into the posts and the information seemed disjointed and flat. So no blog posts were sent out.

Last night I went to a book launch of an author who’s book I read over Christmas. I was enthralled by this book and I love the author, Melissa Ambrosini. I’ve got her meditations, signed up to the Goddess Group sessions (I highly, highly recommend these) and have seen her before promoting more health-centred subjects than heart centred.

I find her authentic and truly someone who can kick my ass into gear. It was after one of her Goddess Group sessions that I truly believed that I could cultivate a morning routine. It has now been two months and not only am I still meditating every morning but I find I can also fit in at least fifteen minutes of yoga and some days even a bit of writing before getting the kids breakfast and ready for school. I’m not getting up any earlier, I am just using my time more productively and truly believe that I can fit it all in.

As I said, I read Mastering Your Mean girl over the Christmas break. I loved it. It combined all the principles she preaches but goes into them in more detail, with more real life examples. Also if you are thinking of buying it buy it in hard copy – it is a beautiful, beautiful book and an example of a publishing house really investing in the aesthetic of a book as well as the content and I find that it keeps me going back to the book because I keep it somewhere visible as a display.

After I finished reading it, it was New Year. I thought I’d get to writing about it but I was on holiday, out of routine and enjoying myself. It was quite easy to forget the principles of the book and move onto the next book for some more inspiration. I kept it out though as I wanted to go back to it and not only write about it but re-gather the feeling of excitement and potential change I could create from it.

Luckily for me Melissa did a book tour and last night I was lucky enough to be in the room with 130 other women for this sold out event. We were given a bliss ball (Peanut butter – so good!!) and a choice of cold-pressed juice.

Melissa entered dancing and asked everyone to stand up and dance. As an introvert (who loves dancing) but was not at all prepared for this, I felt a bit shy and self-conscious and weird. Obviously it was to loosen us up a bit and some people really got into it. Then she talked us through a meditation which felt more in my comfort zone.

The mood now mellowed and everyone was more in tune with each other and Melissa. She then went on to discuss her love over fear principal and talked about how we hold onto things that don’t serve us.

We tell ourselves stories and create realities that are not really realities at all. We take a moment in time, an event that occurred, or something someone said to us and play it over and over again in our heads, believing that because of this it confirms our suspicions that we are not worthy, we are not enough, we are never going to be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough.

She asked us to write these down, what stands out as pivotal moments in our lives, that we need to let go of. She then asked us to share. A lot of us shrunk down in our chairs, not wishing to share this intimate, life-altering information and the ones who did I found had some lighter stuff on the list that maybe wasn’t so intimate.

For some reason then I felt close to tears. Why did I hold onto this stuff? Why do our thoughts (mean girl) rake over the past looking for areas of hurt and just re-live them over and over again to keep us down? To keep us from moving forward with our greatest selves?

I saw one girl go to the bathroom and thought she might have been crying. These thoughts do not just affect the people in the room with us last night. They affect every single one of us because we believe that not only that we are our thoughts but that they are us. If we think it, it must be true.

The mood got lighter as Melissa dived into her mantra – her love over fear belief. That in any moment we can choose fear. Someone asked what if you felt you couldn’t do things with love like, “Raising your children” for example. Everyone laughed but it is a serious question. How can we choose to get up every morning, take them to school, make lunches, clean up after them, run ourselves into the ground – and still do it with love? Especially as Melissa was saying that we shouldn’t do things we don’t want to do – “If its not a hell yes than its a NO!”.

Because we love our children, because we will love the end result (an educated, well rounded, independent individual) and because we love all those moments in between – we can choose love in any of those situations. We can choose to embrace it or complain about it. We are not taking our children to school because we “should” we are taking them because we want them to learn, we want them to grow, to make friends and lets face it – because we need some “me time”.

My practice of trying to be happy in any situation is a good example of the choice of love or fear. My iPhone got wet the other day. It was not looking good for future communications from it. But instead of feeling guilty, devastated, unhappy, annoyed, angry. I got on with my day, doing everything I could for its recovery. We can get up everyday resenting that we have to take our children somewhere or we can be happy about it. The choice is ours.

Melissa also pointed out that if you are not doing things for yourself then it is easy to feel resentful. The more I make sure I am getting to yoga, practicing meditation, get out for a drink with my girlfriends, go on date nights, get my hair done and do things just for me, the more likely I am to be happy to do things for my children.

The opposite is also true, if you are taking your children to a million activities instead of getting to them yourself, if you are on the PTA and it chews up your free evenings, if you  spend your weekends ferrying around kids to birthday parties, instead of having some family time, then you need to start saying No.

It’s a great word and it’s there to be used when you know in your heart that you don’t want to do something. You know that sinking feeling? That’s the one that lets you know to say No I can’t go to that committee meeting, I won’t make it to swimming with the kids this term and I definitely can’t take the kids to three birthday parties on Saturday. No.

Another lady spoke about her elderly parents and all the “shoulds” that come with this territory, but ultimately, like your kids, you are performing these talks with love for your parents. So either say no (you do have a choice and if it came down to it you would probably find yourself choosing yes, even if you think its a no) or choose to do the tasks with love. And choose the ones that mean the most. You don’t have to do everything.

It was a beautiful evening and it was capped off by one of the most eerily poignant group exercises I have ever done. Melissa had us divide into two groups. The first (ours) stood in the middle and closed our eyes. Soft music was played and the other group were asked to whisper things in our ears that they wish they had been told when they were younger.

“You are perfect.” “You are enough.” “Follow your dreams.” “You don’t have to be like everyone else.”

These statements whispered quietly in my ear as I had my eyes closed seemed to sink into my brain like nothing I have ever experienced before.

Quite the grand finale.

It was such a beautiful evening and really worth going to these things to punctuate the importance of words in a book. I wish all great authors ran seminars like these – I got so much out of it.

Now its time for me to re-read the book, follow the meditations that compliment each chapter and take on this book as if I was studying for an exam. It is after all a better life that will be the outcome.

 

How To Rid Your Child Of That Childish Behaviour

Ï don’t like it. You haven’t tasted it. I don’t want to!

That’s my chair. I was sitting there. I need to use it. NOW. Fine! I won’t use it then ever again.

Can you take that photo of me now. No because you didn’t let me have a banana smoothie. That’s really rude. I’m not going to get you those rolls at the shops – so no hamburgers for dinner! (smirk).

The italics are my part of the conversation. Not all of these conversations happened between me and my children. Some of them were with my husband. These are not conversations from years ago before I understood things like awareness and love and truth. These are not conversations from before I meditated or did yoga.

These conversations happened yesterday.

So the question is – am I alone out here in my childish behaviour and will I ever grow up?

Parenthood and Marriage can be a minefield and you do find yourself regressing to lesser behaviour as you reach for something, anything to help you out in the situation.

My nos don’t mean no. Well they do at first but I am ground down by my second child’s vigilance in getting what he wants. Mostly food wise.

Bribery is rife amongst out family. My children regularly ask what they will get if they finish all their dinner. Even if that food is burger and chips. We don’t really do dessert but they’ll negotiate apples, grapes and sometimes a sliver of my raw chocolate. 

We threaten to take things away from them, sometimes things that we really need that we’d never cancel in a million years, like sleepovers at their grandparents. Then don’t follow through.

I use the silent treatment, albeit more often with my husband than the kids – kids don’t do silence well.

I threaten to smack.

When we are flailing for a semblance of control, or trying to keep them in line (because some part of us thinks that if we don’t they will end up in jail) we can play down right dirty.

So these behaviours, besides maybe a percentage of them that are inbuilt in children and instinctual, are actual a mirror of our behaviour.

Jesus.

Once again the responsibility lands squarely in our court and we have the ball.

Now that I have this awareness (and you do to if you are reading and identify) – what the hell do we do?

I know for sure I have a long way to go in this area but you begin the journey one step at a time:

Take responsibility – reflect on the situation that you weren’t happy with. Can you take any responsibility from it? Taking responsibility for at least some of it can allow you to see things more clearly and more “real” than when you believe you are wholly right.

Say your sorry (yes even to your children) – this teaches them how to behave and recognize that they are responsible for their own behaviour and not always right or “wronged”.

Stop trying to be right – everyone is working on a different reality. They are brought up differently, have different experiences, maybe they are a different sex.  Make yourself heard, get your views across calmly, then move on with the situation.

Let things go. Really. Sometimes  its your mood that caused the whole thing in the first place. So when those black clouds clear and you think – jeez I was stressed, touchy, defensive, whatever then say so. and try and have a normal conversation about what happened. Then let it go. Don’t rehash it with other people because it will hurt all over again and you will find yourself feeling righteous instead of happy.

Find a solution. Instead of taking control lets talk to our kids more. They are unhappy about not getting a banana smoothie from the shop or being taken away from their friends when they were playing. We can ask them to come up with a solution they are happy with by asking them, “What can we do about it?” Maybe they will come up with making a smoothie at home or getting one tomorrow or organising a playdate with a friend for a future date. Let’s teach them to compromise, negotiate and come up with a solution that makes both parties happy.

Fight Fairly. Don’t interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself. No name calling. Don’t make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you’re too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe, and calm down.

Now if only I could memorize these things, internalize them and make them habits instead of crazily reacting to my moods and situations.

Maybe I’ll re-read this blog before bed every night :) Baby-steps.

You can’t grow if you don’t know right?

 

 

 

 

Showing Up For Yourself

How many times have you thought to yourself – I’ll do this later? I’ll go tomorrow? I just have no energy for it today?

The irony being that these are the things that are giving you energy, clarifying your focus and nourishing your soul.

Too much cleaning to do? I’ll skip the gym.

Fridge bursting with fresh produce but cant be bothered cooking so you get take-out.

Don’t have time to meditate but just spent  good half an hour trawling social media?

Why are the very things we love last on our to do list?

For me I know now that it is 100% my state of mind causing me to back out, because when I show up I DO have the energy for that yoga class, I have the stamina to sit in the meditation practice I thought I wanted to skip and I absolutely have something to say when my fingers hit the keyboard.

So why do we convince ourselves not to do these things?

When I sit back and dream about my life it is full of kids, laughter, my husband smiling, lots of champagne with girlfriends, my family and friends around, daily yoga classes, an hour or two furiously typing out my thoughts on a computer, holding my own books in my hand and a lot of blissed out moments of meditation, travel, beaches and relaxation.

If that is the way I want my life to look then I have to ask myself, why do I spend so much time in the kitchen doling out requests for food, spending wasted time on social media, cleaning up mess after mess because we have too much stuff and chasing my tail on everything that I have to organise or follow up on?

Because I’m scared.

Because I don’t feel worthy of my dream life. I have a belief that things happen to other people, too many people have my dreams and have beat me to it. There will be better yoga teaches, authors, home decorators, minimalists and sometimes even better Mothers than me. So why don’t I give up right now?  

Cognitively and in my heart I know that I am worthy, I have my own unique voice and take on everything I want to create and put out into the world, I just need to start showing up.

But doubt, my inner critic and pure laziness makes me hold back.

A study was done to work out why some people are better than others at things. Despite predictions of who would come out on top, be most successful, earn the most money, looked the most naturally gifted or talented, the results surprised the hell out of the researchers.

When they drilled down to what mattered most, when it comes to people who are the top of the field, the answer was their own personal dedication.

The scientists found out that it was the hours spent alone, working on the things they weren’t good at, perfecting what they were good at, and their mental attitude that made the biggest difference.

It was the people that were showing up for themselves, not just when they were at work or in a class or during team practice, that were truly exceptional.

I want to be exceptional.

I’m sure you want to be exceptional.

But how do we make that happen?

This is how I interpret the data:

If I can’t make a yoga class, I show up on my mat at home. When the baby is sleeping I gather my thoughts and bang them out as quickly as I can. When the kids are eating their breakfast I go meditate.  I carve out time for date nights. I invite people over. I organise nights out with my girlfriends. I commit going through a drawer a day and throwing things out. I sit for five minutes and work out what needs to be done for the next day. I carve out reading time, dreaming time, watching inspirational video time. I smile as often as I can. I respect myself and my time, I respect what really matters to me and I am there for myself.

My dream life appears when I start showing up.

What else happens when my dream life starts happening?

My moods change, I have greater energy levels, other things start falling into place and people start treating me with respect because I know that I am worthy.

On an energetic level, even if they can’t put that thought into words, other people sense the change.

They see you sparkle and they respond.

How To Be Nicer To Your Children

Yes, I yell at my children. They scream, their behaviour’s abominable and some days I’m truly mortified to be near them.

But when I look back at those moments I realise that sometimes I start it…….

Over the years and directly related to the number of kids I’ve had, I feel less and less like I have time for anything.

There is no time in the morning. There is no time to do what I want to do. There is no time for anything!! No time!

When you take time and treat it as the enemy then everyone in the household gears up for battle.

From the moment we rise until we put our heads on the pillow – we start the daily race to beat the clock, as if time itself is evil.

There are lunches to be made, bodies to dress, teeth to brush, food to eat and all before some ungodly hour.

I tighten up, the pit of my stomach knots and I start the miserable tasks of putting together our day.  Children are playing, whining, fighting and I’m resentful.

Why can’t I do what I want to do in the morning?

Where’s my meditation practice? A few peaceful yoga moves? A walk on the beach? A quiet moment to sip my first and most needed coffee of the day? The serenity and peace I desire?

I am teaching my children that the implementation of these daily tasks is something to become stressed about.

Hurry up. Be quiet. Eat faster. Get dressed! Why don’t you have shoes on? Have you done your homework?

Because time is not going to let us get away with it.

The other day I realised that I was prioritising life administration and cleaning duties over things I loved like writing and yoga.

To feel fulfilled – to feel prosperous and abundant – I don’t need much. Ten minutes meditation, ten minutes yoga and ten minutes of writing mean that I am moving forward in my practices. I am more centred in my life and yet I throw them out the window the minute I feel like time is against me.

I read a book the other day, The Big Leap by Gay Anderson, that talked about Einstein time. He believed that we make our own time. We move our own days forward and if we believe that we have enough time then we will. By believing that we have a lack of time we prove ourselves right over and over again.

We get so stressed about getting out of the house that things take that much longer. We are so worked up we can’t find anything, the toast gets burnt and we have to start all over and we can never find anyone’s shoes or water bottle.

We teach our children to stress out, yell and we are constantly hurrying them up. They react. We react back and it’s not good. For anyone.

Ariana Huffington talks about time in her poignant memoir, Thrive, when she discusses her relationship with time, calling it a “time famine”.

“And when we’re living a life of perpetual time-famine, we rob ourselves of our ability to experience another key element….wonder, our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives.”

Sound familiar? It’s really hard to be in the moment – when in your head you are already behind at getting to the next thing.

 For the last few months I have worked on this theory.

I have found that there are many hours in the day and I have been able to complete the tasks that I have previously believed I didn’t have time for. I have been reminding the kids (gently) of their jobs to do and as they complete them giving them more. They have to get dressed, feed the dogs, eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, wash their faces and brush their hair. They also have to tidy any mess they leave behind them and we are ready to go.

But the important thing is (the one that makes me feel warm and fuzzy) that I am nicer to the kids and in turn they are nicer to me. I don’t forget their afternoon snacks before sport so they don’t get “hangry”, dinner is sorted, we have food in the house for breaky and with an ingenious ban on ipads there is less vicious fighting amongst the siblings. The fight over blocks they had this morning just seems to be more “kid-like” to me than the constant whining about the ipad not being charged, or a game not being downloaded on this one.

To look at time differently you must change your perception first. You must truly believe you have the time. Understand that there is plenty of time to do it all.  You must give your children instruction and some independence. Let them know what’s expected of them instead of telling them in the last ten minutes after they have happily played all morning to get a move on.

Everything gets done and sometimes slowing down means that the turtle really does win the race.

 

I’m Hearing Voices Inside My Head

Do you hear voices?

 
Is there someone in there with you or do you have no idea what I am talking about?

 
Have you ever heard a voice tell you that you must go to the gym? Then the same voice, just hours later starts whining about how you’re tired, that you don’t like the gym that you don’t think you’ll go today?

 
What about the voice that tells you that you are not thin enough, beautiful enough, organised enough?The voice that talks to you about other people? The one that judges, then later on scolds you for judging and being mean? The one who rehashes events, painful times in your life and tries to make sense of it all? The one that takes you out of the present moment.

 
For example you’re watching a movie. Your engrossed in it. Then someone walks into the theatre and you’re attention is disturbed. That person looks kind of like your ex-boyfriend, the one who cheated on you. Is he still with that girl? How could you let him treat you like that? Remember that dress you were wearing the day he dumped you? Where is that? Could you have left it at the dry cleaner? Maybe you should call them?
Suddenly the movie is over. You have been staring at the screen for the past half an hour but you could not recall the events of the movie if someone paid you a million dollars for the information.

 
You weren’t present. The voice inside your head had taken you on a journey. During that journey you experienced pain from the memory of the ex-boyfriend, bewilderment when you thought about the dress and then anxiety as you worked out a plan to locate it but all the time you were sitting in the movie theatre and nothing had changed except inside you.

 
You could be feeling fantastic, relaxed from the movie, thrilled at the plotline but instead you rush out of the theatre feeling worse than when you went in, when the voice inside your head was droning on about your terrible day, the traffic to get to the theatre and how hot it was.

 
Is that voice you?

 
You might say yes. These are my thoughts and that is who I am. Indecisive, anxious, paranoid with a severe inability to concentrate on anything for long periods of time. Ok let’s go with that theory.
Are you the person that said terrible things to the one you love the most during a fight – or are you the person that seconds later regretted saying them?Are you the one that justifies the ugly things said or are you the one that says maybe you stepped over the line? Are there two different people inside you? If you were not you during that fight then who are you?
Some people call that voice the ego. Some people the mean girl. Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, calls it ‘the voice inside your head” and he writes that this voice is not you. If it was then how would you be able to watch it talking?

Step back yourself for a minute and try to let your mind quieten. It won’t let you will it? Despite you telling it to be quiet there is an incessant chatter as it bounces from one topic to the next.

Try to breathe in for seven breaths and breathe out again. Can you even go that long without internal dialogue, commentary or a sudden pressing thing to do on your to do list? Were you watching the voice this time instead of identifying with it – instead of being swept away with its story you tried to tell it to be quiet. That person is you. Singer calls it The Witness.

In his beautiful book, that is written to help you really, truly find yourself and find peace, he writes about our hearts. He writes that every time something happens to us that we don’t like we close our hearts around it, instead of letting the experience pass through us we block it, therefore using the theory that everything is energy, we are blocking our energy. Our heart energy with its ability to love and feel joy, happiness and inspiration becomes blocked.

Take your mind back to when you fell in love, everything about them was amazing, you didn’t fight your heart was open and everything was a new learning experience. The first time you experience something you don’t like about them, instead of dealing with it or letting it pass through you, you block it. The next time the same thing happens it causes a reaction in your body, anger, frustration, annoyance. Your heart closes a little more.
After reading this book I understand why it takes a straw to break a camels back. Instead of letting these experiences go and moving on to the next moment we hoard these annoyances and build on them until we literally can’t take anymore. We become defensive, nasty and completely over the top about this situation.

We have closed our hearts and it is so damn hard to open them again. To get back to a time when we didn’t have these defence mechanisms.

He advises that when something triggers us we need to tell our heart to open, relax our shoulders and let it go. ‘Whatever it may be’.
That doesn’t mean just let people walk all over you, it means don’t let your past experiences cloud what is really happening. With the help of the voices inside your head you create your own version of reality that you truly believe. Yes. The psycho that tells you that you are not good enough, that you should drink coffee then straight after scolds you for having too many…. Is the one that creates your reality.

Is any of this sounding familiar to anyone else?

So many of the words in this book were lightning bolts for me.Yes I do that! Yes I can see that I observe this voice! I would love to get back to a time where I didn’t want to hit my husband every time he left underwear on the floor.

It’s just freaking underwear that I don’t have to pick up, yet it can change the mood of my whole day and start incessant stream of chatter from that annoying voice.

Singer asks if we want to be happy? If we truly want to commit to being happy? If when my husband leaves underwear on the floor and I see it, will I be happy?

And that’s when I realise. I choose every day to be unhappy.

I might be singing after leaving the house on a perfect morning where I have meditated, done a spot of yoga and am about to get the kids to school on time when I notice that overnight someone has hit my car.
Suddenly the clouds roll over and I allow myself to be unhappy. “Justifiably so” says the voice inside my head. “Of course this happened to me. Today of all days just when I was feeling so bloody good.”
But if I choose to see the dent and be happy anyway, my day goes on, I ring insurance and it all gets sorted – whether I am happy or unhappy.
This is my life and this book has opened my eyes to an amazing spiritual practice. To be happy anyway…to be happy despite….to be happy even when….

It may not work every day but each day when I get up I practice letting go, I practice opening my heart and I practice being happy.

Let’s see where life takes me with that.

I bet it’s an amazing place to be.

What Does Success Look Like?

This is the one thought-provoking sentence that keeps working itself over and over in my brain at the moment because those five words may actually hold the key to how I want to live my life.

People want to be successful. They strive for success, work long hours, sacrifice, and if they hit their most desired goal they may still feel empty. So they set bigger goals and when they hit them they feel exactly the same.

We have to ask ourselves why? Why are lotto winners wasting the realisation of their ultimate dream? Travellers pining for home? Big business owners crying into their beers?

Because to have a successful life you must enjoy living it.

Simple.

You must enjoy living your life to feel successful.

That means its more than just the realisation of a goal. It’s more than just money. It’s more than just getting a massive business deal or finishing that novel or getting to Macha Picchu.

To live a successful life, every night when you’re head hits the pillow, you must be satisfied with all you have done, with what you have experienced, with the person you have been.

Working eighty hour weeks to “be successful” sounds miserable if the reason you want to be successful is so you can travel, pay off the mortgage, kick back and play the guitar. Right? What if you never get there or what if the habit of working that eighty hour week makes you feel like you should be doing something – even when your ultimate goal was to chill out?

So I have been trying to set myself little milestones for my day:

  • Writing a little
  • Really enjoying my coffee
  • Reading
  • Kissing my boys and spending time with them
  • Giggling with my husband
  • Meditation and spending alone time
  • Being in nature
  • An early night with lots of promised sleep
  • Yoga
  • Healthy food which nourishes me – smoothies, salads, seafood, green juice
  • Being present
  • Slowing down
  • Reducing clutter in my house
  • Laughter
  • Silliness
  • A herbal tea before bed

Its the little things you do every day that give you the feeling of satisfaction, of really being truly happy. Of course there are days when things go wrong, or you don’t tick anything off your list but if in general, you are doing the things that make you happy every day you can count yourself a success.

A fabulous exercise to truly work out what you want out of life is to look at your perfect day.

How do you wake up?
What does your bed/house look like? How do you feel? What do you do first? What do you wear? What are you eating? How are you relating to the people in your life? What are you doing? What is your job? Are you rushing, meandering, wandering, smiling? Where do you end up? Who are you with?  Are you going to sleep with a smile on your face?

We tend to wander through life thinking we know what we want but if we truly stop and examine it you might end up surprising the hell out of yourself.

You have one life. Don’t use it to please other people. It won’t serve you in the end.

Do what makes you happy and the whole world will smile with you.

 

Weekend food-for-thought

I am always asking myself,

“Am I doing enough?” “

“What have I forgotten?”

“What am I supposed to be doing?”

Because free time in this society is such a rarity. It feel illicit.

I have every right to lie down on the couch in the middle of the day if that’s what I feel my body needs.

But it feels like if I got caught then there would be shame.

I’d be ashamed that the dishes hadn’t been done, yet here I was lounging.

Ashamed that there was washing to do, forms to fill out, notes to read, errands to be done, things to be bought.

But yet do you see how wrong that is?

My body is telling me to lie down. It is saying that this is what you need right now and the absolute kindest thing I can do for myself was to follow that intuition.

Everything else is done in the time-frame it needs to be done.

I do have the house tidy when my husband gets home. The dinner is cooked. The kids are often bathed and fresh and beautiful.

But it is not my husband judging.

I am judging myself. The “head of activities” in my mind doesn’t want to let me rest for even one minute.

Not one minute.

There is a voice judging me right now. Do I really want to post this? Do I want to let everyone know that during the day I often need to lie down for twenty minutes or so to recharge and refresh?

I’m on the verge of tears because my excuses are coming through:

Elijah is still not sleeping through the night

The kids are up so early all the time

I am on the move from the minute I wake up

I don’t get much me time

I’m on the verge of tears because do you see that we don’t need excuses? That we don’t need to be judged. That if we let everything be in our own mind then our life would be beautiful?

What I am trying to say is start to delve deeper into yourself because it helps.

Because knowing and understanding the way you and your mind works means that you can stop yourself being cruel. You can stop yourself judging because it is only a belief and you can let them go.

They are not truths.

They are not your truth.

The gorgeous feeling in your body that is telling you to lie down, enticing you with promises that it’s really ok and you’ll get everything done later is the right one.

Follow the positive vibes in your life and kick the negative ones out.

Oprah Helping Us To Find Ourselves

I am grateful.

Not blessed, not lucky but grateful. I have an incredible life with my beautiful children, amazing house and truly special husband. I don’t feel like I just landed here out of sheer luck, I feel like I’ve delivered this miracle from my own intentions.

That intention started with pure love for my partner, we used this love to fuel our hopes and dreams for the future, which then manifested into this life.

Like a lot of people, last night I went to see Oprah Winfrey and she agreed. She didn’t feel lucky – she felt like she had sown the seeds of her life through intention, that every bump along the way created her strength, her power.

This year hasn’t been the easiest for us, we were selling a house, had a baby who is still not sleeping through the night and renovating a sixty year old house – a tiny project that turned into something a lot bigger than our original intention (thank you universe).

So what did I do to combat the hardship? I let go of my regular yoga practice, dropped my writing and blogging, stopped actively promoting our book, How To Become One Healthy Mama, stopped planning social events during the week and went to ground – to work hard and get this done.

Instead of coming from a place of love – this year – came from my fear that it would all be too much. This thought manifested time and time again, my husband asking me to do a task would result in waves of overwhelm, procrastination, protests of, “I can’t do this I’ve got three kids to look after!” The actual task, taking five minutes to call somewhere or research something or pop into a shop with baby on my hip would turn out to take way less time than the moaning and groaning that I was doing.

I truly believe that the year behind me would have been different if I had intended it to be amazing. If I’d taken each thing in my stride, but we can only learn and moving forward into 2016 I will take this lesson with me.

I nearly didn’t see Oprah last night, but I listened to the voice that I got on Wednesday night (at an Ed Sheeran concert – that just said “Oprah”). For some reason that thought popped into my mind and the next day on Facebook a friend was asking if anyone wanted to go with her. Between us there were many opportunities to just let it go and miss out this time (wrong phone numbers, missing messages, confusion over tickets) but we booked tickets yesterday and I found myself seated amongst the incredibly excited (mostly women) audience. There was pre-Oprah dancing and a whole lot of whispering, “Do you think she’ll give away cars????” but no one was truly there for that.

We were there to find out how Oprah became Oprah. How do you live a life that large? How do go from being a barely-wanted little girl from a small town in Mississippi to a one-woman force of nature?

Oprah believes that it stems from listening to the voice inside. Not the one that chatters constantly, convinces you to go one way then changes its mind. And definitely not the one that likes to keep you down by criticising, cajoling and lying to you. She believes it stems from listening to the voice that says, “This is who I am.”

You know the one.

The one that loses hours in crafting projects or cooking or reading or writing because you are fuelled by the pure joy of the task. The task that someone else would deem soul-destroying or mind-numbing. Your unique voice.

The one that whispers and gets louder, waiting patiently until you have the strength to listen and to then do something about your situation.

Oprah talked a lot about building strength last night – the journey of life strengthening her each step of the way, each step a building block urging her to become more herself. To be more Oprah.

But how do I become more me? How do you become more you?

For me I one hundred per cent know that its more meditation, more yoga, more reading, more seeking, more writing, more family time, more love, less fear. Pushing my personal boundaries and not only dreaming big but learning to keep my heart open by letting go of the attachment I have of the way things should be.

When I lost my baby Sophia at 32 weeks it was not only her loss I felt but loss of control over my life. I had it all mapped out, I knew what it was going to look like and each unplanned step hurt like hell.

The truth being, and this is the lesson I chose to take from my experience, is that we have no control over our lives. The universe has a bigger, better, clearer picture for us of how things should be and the more we struggle against it, the harder it makes our lives. These learning obstacles are thrown in our path so we can get some clarity.

So what should we do instead of trying to control everything?

Surrender.

Be in the current moment,  take things day by day. By all means plan, dream and hope but when you try to control the outcome or believe that it should be unfolding a certain way, you are going to come up against road blocks. Oprah said they might start like pebbles but eventually you will get bricks thrown at you until one of them hits you on the head and wakes you up.

She told an incredible story about her intention to be in the movie, A Colour Purple. She had read the book, raved about it to her friends and believed that one of the characters so closely mirrored her own life, her story, that the role in the movie was destined to be hers. She prayed, dreamed and hoped until months later out of the blue the phone rang and she was asked to audition. She did so and it was months later when she called the person who had asked her to audition to see what was happening with the role. He told her that she called him and he wasn’t calling her so she should understand that she didn’t get the role! That real actresses had auditioned for the role. She hung up the phone and hung her self-esteem on that line.

She said to herself, “I didn’t get the part, of course I didn’t, a real actress would get it. Who did she think she was?”. Then her mind did what minds do – play on your biggest fears and insecurities.

She didn’t get it she realised….because she was fat. She told this quite hilariously and decided that she should go to a fat farm. When she was there she was running and as she heard her thighs slap together she gave up. She was crying and running and telling the world that she surrenders. She can’t do anything more and she was going to let go of everything that was bringing her down and this control she thought she had over the outcome of life.

And she swears that it was in that minute that someone came running out of the fat farm to the running track to tell her Steven Spielberg was on the line, telling her that he wanted her to have a screen test and if she lost one pound she may not be right for the part.

Surrender.

But the question is how do we surrender when we wind everything up so tight?

Yesterday I had another really great experience that reinforced I am truly on the right path. It also is a great example of surrender.

I was wound up tight. I had four hours, kid-free to do some Christmas shopping, fit in some yoga and check out some outdoor places for a few things we need for the new house. I started shopping and as I bought I felt a horrible pit of guilt and dread in my stomach. “I don’t think I’ve got enough money for this, will I be able to pay the cleaner and the babysitter with this money I have in this account?” I’m wandering around trying to choose gifts for people and these were my thoughts. Maybe I’ll do it another day? I could transfer some money maybe…” As I looked at my phone I saw it was dead. I had no chance of transferring money.

I went to yoga class, deflated that my Christmas present list wouldn’t be getting any smaller today.

The teacher told a story that she loved, an American Indian proverb – a Grandfather told his grandson that there are two wolves inside all of us – one is evil – it is greed, jealousy, hate, anger and darkness. The other one is good – it is love, laughter, happiness, forgiveness and light.  The grandson asks – “Which one wins?” and the Grandfather answers, “Whichever one you feed.”

As she spoke about this I realised how much I was feeding my fear. My thoughts were telling me something was wrong and as a result instead of kid-free bliss as I wandered around the shops I was tied up in knots and could not really relax in this class. We did a breathing exercise and I truly had panic-type breathing reactions. My thoughts told me this class was a waste of time if I couldn’t relax and these thoughts were continually being negative and fuelling my panic.

The teacher then got us to lie completely forward with our legs out straight, propping bolsters and blankets on our knees until our forehead could touch them. We lay like this for about five minutes and in that five minutes my panic, fear and negativity disappeared.

I don’t know if it was the technique, the teachings or the quiet but it was magnificent to be free of that anxiety. On the way out I passed the shops again and at each shop I found something I believe the people I am buying for will truly love. I bought them without fear of decline and each transaction went through smoothly. I had a small panic when I thought that I needed to get out cash for the babysitter and then I realised I had money, I’d been given some for the Oprah tickets that morning.

In fact I had money in my wallet the whole time. I had more than enough.

I had created an incredible stress reaction in my body from listening to the voice of fear.

But the Universe knows better and when I came to place of peace, a place of love, the ease in which everything else unfolded was incredible.

There are miracles in life everyday and we get to see them through gratitude, surrender and reflection. We are feeding the good wolf.

We lose our way when we become lost in the stream of thoughts and believe that these thoughts are reality. We stumble when we try to control outcomes in our life and it doesn’t happen. We tip overboard when we lose that inner voice. We become negative, angry, betrayed, destructive – we feed the bad wolf.

 

I am sure everyone that went and saw Oprah last night will have a different view on what she said was the most important thing, but for me it was surrender.

Dream, hope, love, laugh and surrender.

The Universe has bigger, better plans for you than you have for yourself, follow your true path and let each miracle unfold.

xx

We Only Ever Get To Borrow Our Children

It’s still dark and I am waiting for the world to wake up.

Well when I say I, obviously I mean we, my kids got me up before it was light this morning.

Again.

But I love the time before dawn when the silence mixes with the promise and possibilities of a new day.

Where the coffee is tantalising and I just feel blessed that I don’t have to rush.

It’s my favourite time and in these moments I see more clearly than I do when the day comes to clutter my vision.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the strength of motherhood and about needing the understanding and maturity to let go of your children.

Mine are still very little so the thought is terrifying but it is true, we never really possess our children.

We just get to borrow them for a time and give them their wings.

It’s a job and a project but you can get so blissed out with love that you can let them overtake your life and when you do that’s when Motherhood chips away at you.

When letting them take little independent steps can paralyse you…because what will be left of you when they go?

Right now my little Julian promises he will never leave me. When we talk of him getting older and living in his own place he looks horrified. He believes that he will always live with us and always want to live with us but everything he does right now, from brushing his teeth on his own to going to school and making his own friends, is paving the way for him to be able to take an open road. To wherever he wants it to lead.

Knowing that Mum will have his back but not his hand.

But I will be ok. And so will you.

For ultimately growing and releasing beautiful children to the world is just one part of the amazing tapestry that is our lives.

Motherhood can help you find out what lies beyond because suddenly life (your life) gets smaller. Your me time is where the answers lie. Let the swell of love for your children give you buoyancy and the clarity that is needed to understand why you have been put here on this earth.

What creates the most joy for you?

Before we had children our possibilities were endless – creation of our lives was a blank canvas.

I think I was overwhelmed with these possibilites and looked to those who had taken paths before me and just got on theirs. When it didn’t work out I tried another, and another.

But no one elses path will take you to where you need to go.

I find that Motherhood has showed me the way.

By reducing the amount of time I had to focus on myself it suddenly became clear where I wanted to spend my time.

The moments I had to write became precious.

The various exercise classes I was doing boiled down to one – yoga – because I didn’t enjoy anything else as much.

 Reading – widely and without boundaries – became a serious hobby

Travelling with limited time urges you to pick only the best possible places you can imagine and I find that I am turning more to adventurous holidays because it is missing in my day to day life. 

Meditation became essential because it makes me calm, it makes me think clearly and it re-centres me if I lose my balance. 

I hope you have begun to discover what your passions are and have taken steps to make your own path – I truly believe that is the only way our children are going to be able to have the courage and strength it takes to forge their own way in the world. With their lights on high beam.  

We Are Mothers

We become Mothers

and enter a wilderness,

where thoughts,

opinions and life or death action

yield dire consequences

We lose ourselves in

the repetition of drear-dom

and say

‘we never thought

it would be like this’

But Motherhood doesn’t lose you

it shines a spotlight on who you are

Me-time becomes

“this is who I am time” and

we shine brighter

our light pushing through our barriers

When looking into startling blue eyes

makes time disappear

we understand what “home” really means

The drear-dom becomes

organisation

it becomes habit

it becomes our burden to bear

For the reward of the forever-love

that we are given

and bountifully receive.

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