Dreams

A snail’s pace of change, winds its way through the world

Time never demanding anything from anyone

The world waits as mind’s open up, receptive

We talk but we don’t hear

We laugh but we don’t connect

We eat but we don’t taste

Wanting

To feel as if we did when we were children

Present

Alive

Possibilities abounding

We can be whoever we want to be

And yet we aren’t them

So we read and we laugh and we we eat and we cry

Waiting

For the world to tap us on the shoulder and make us change

Our inaction, causing refraction across the Universe

As nothing happens

But the light comes back to us

Again and again,

Hopeful.

Childhood Freedom

My kids need time amongst the trees.
To hear the wind whispering to them, the leaves enticing them and the grass supporting their growth.
Too much of this world has been created to move them out of their essence.
To designate safety over exploration.
Security over freedom.
Fear over love.
We need to give them back to the mysteries of this world that created them.
Stop defining and assessing who they are and where they will go.
Trying to guess who they will be.
Control the outcome.
They are as free as we are restricted.
They see clearer than us.
They delight in the smallest of wonders and we move them on.
Tell them of its unimportance, and though incredulous, they start to believe us.
We turn them into the adults we are.
Not the ones we could be. 

 

 

 

The Story I Am Telling Myself Is….

Have you ever been reality checked?

Have you ever been hell bent on your version of an event and then found out you were wrong?

How did that make you feel?
Silly. Stupid. Small?

You know what? We make up stories more than we’d like to think. And you shouldn’t feel silly, stupid, small because everyone is just doing the best they can with the knowledge they have.

I was under my covers last night, with my iPad. My two year old had his feet on my back and even though it was just him an I, I had about an inch of the bed. My back and neck have been killing me this week because of an egoic yoga injury (I pushed myself to do more than I could) and I am paying for it. I was uncomfortable, a little bit cold and slightly resentful that he was there again.

But I couldn’t move because I was gripped by the book I was reading, Brene Brown’s Rising Strong. In particular, a sentence that she references as life-changing, mind-altering and love-giving.

In a vulnerable moment with her husband, Brene took a deep breath and said (and I paraphrase) , “The story I am telling myself is that you brushed me off because of the way I look in my speedos and because I can’t swim like I used to, I’m getting old.”

There was no reassurance from her husband who was battling his own insecurities and struggling to tell her what he was really thinking, which was, and again paraphrasing, “Later when we take the kids out on the water with the boat I don’t know if I am strong enough to save them all if we get into trouble and you will think I am weak for believing that.”

Mars VS Venus right?

But that story I am telling myself line really resonated with me because I see it played out constantly in my marriage. My amazing husband often looks at me incredulously when I tell him what I am really, really thinking. I am ripped open and vulnerable as reams of self-doubt, insecurity and feelings of not being enough come to the surface.

And he’ll say something like, “But I was thinking about work the whole time. I didn’t realise that because I was so off-hand this morning, you thought that it meant our marriage was over, had been weighing the benefits of counselling vs divorce all day and that only three glasses of wine could help you off that ledge.”

And then the story changes.

“He thinks I’m an alcoholic, neurotic, nutbag – obviously.”

But no, that is the story I am telling myself because I am not letting my heart crack open wide enough to let his love in. Because in this moment the ultimate story I am telling myself is that I am not worthy of love.

That depth of understanding is horrifying because I will immediately start criticizing myself, “Who am I, with my great family, amazing friends and loving husband to think that I am unlovable?” when what I need for myself, right at that moment, is intense self-compassion. I need to give her a giant hug and figure out what is I need or has been depleted in me to be feeling this way.

Do you see?

We are doing this to ourselves. All these stories we are telling ourselves are trying to protect us from the ultimate vulnerability of saying what we really think, what we really mean and come back to our own worthiness.

What are we not giving ourselves that we really, really need? Other people can’t give this to us.

 

Do you need to set boundaries? No I won’t be on that committee because I will sit there the whole time resenting the time it takes away from my family, fun stuff and you. No I can’t do the dishes tonight, again, because I will sit there and seeth that you should have done them. Yes I will be going to yoga, I understand that that inconveniences you and I am sorry, but we need to start wanting allow each other to do these things, without resentment, for our own happiness.

Do you need a little more self-care? Are you feeling unlovable because you haven’t spent any time on yourself? Not got your hair done, bought any new clothes or made an effort? Haven’t exercised, spent time alone or gone out on a girls night?

Do you need some perspective? When we tell ourselves these stories, the scariest, most vulnerable thing you can do is tell another person the story you are making up and get their take on things. When you start a sentence with, “The Story I am Making Up is….” it gives other people permission to see the other side and talk it through with you. If you tell them what you think then they feel that they have to be either with you or against you.

Cracking ourselves open is intensely frightening work but the reward is happiness, openess, and a new understanding about life.

The question, “The story I am making up…” gives us permission to be free from the constraints of our mind and get some real awareness about who we are.

It also lets us get to the crux of what is hurt within us, what is wounded, what needs to be addressed so that we can move forward.

Stronger than ever.

 

 

F*#K. We Are Parenting Wrong.

We are parenting our children out of fear of failure.

We don’t want to be the parents that f*#k up. The ones who have children who are bullys, addicts, no-hopers, depressive and anxious. 

We want our children to be our most glorious representation of who we are. We want to show the world we have an A+ in parenting skills by producing a smart, extra-curriculared, popular child. An athlete, a math whizz, a literary genius.

We want our children reading from two, we want them wielding a golf stick by three, we want them counting, singing, tap-dancing, scoring goals, playing scales, play-dating, behaving with impeccable manners to show off who we are.

Because we are scared that if we don’t. We fail.

We are media scarred and success-focused.

Two problems with this:

1 – the media scarring is because we let what it says affect our sense of protection over our children which then effects our parenting.

2 – the success that we are focused on is only because we don’t want to fail.

So we parent. We parent hard.

Parenting of our generation believes boosting self esteem comes from constant praise and winning competitions.

We are helicopters. Tigers. Fiercely protective and always there. We are authoritarian, permissive, authoritative.

All in one day sometimes.

We get on the ground with them and push so that they don’t know what it feels like to lose.

We spend thousands of hours making sure they practice everything they are interested in so we don’t miss recognising and developing their talent.

We play-date like speed dates so that they don’t miss out on having friends.

We all just want our kids to be happy right?

Happiness relies on their ability to be able to pick themselves up after they have fallen. 

Life gets messy and we can’t shield them from that. The ones who victor are those who have resilience, who can stand in their own two feet who have connections and independence, the ones that are taught about their emotions, self and are given tools to move through the tougher emotions like disappointment, shame, embarrassment and anger.

Our first instinct is to protect and if we see someone reading better, playing better, or scoring higher than our kids, we went to right that wrong. Because we think the blame is on ourselves. We think that our child might get hurt by recognising that the other child is achieving more.

If they don’t lose sometimes now when the stakes are small, if we always protect them from it, then they are going to fall apart when life hits them with it’s full force. 

We are so terrified of letting something go wrong that we analyse, assess and categorise our children.

We are teaching them to compare but comparison is one of the most fear-inducing and anger-producing analytical skill you can give to anyone. People judge because they are scared. Scared to fail, scared to be less than, scared that they are not enough. So they need to look at others and see their failures to make themselves feel better, and that is where bullying comes in.

And this is what we are doing wrong.

So how do we make it right?

How many of us ask our kids how kind our kid was that day? What did they do to help someone? To make someone smile? What did they learn that could benefit someone else? What were they most interested in?

Let’s stop asking them who they played with, what they learned because we are asking out of fear. Fear that we may uncover a hurt that we can’t make better. Let’s ask them instead what lit them up that day ? Their favourite moment? What they are grateful for.

What would happen if our children stopped being told by us to always focus on themselves? 

Our ego-centric society would start to change. People would start looking out for one an another. Using their talents to help rather than to provide them with status points.

It starts with us.

The other day I learned that my son had been giving one of the kids the “cold shoulder”. One of his mates and a good friend of mine’s little boy. A couple of weeks before that the boy had accidentally hit him with a stick when they were playing in the park. I saw this little boy apologise profusely to my son who was dragging the drama out a little. I thought it was all over but apparently not. My son had been telling him that they were no longer friends. When my son got hurt in the playground, this little boy ran over to see if he was ok and once again he was told by my son they were not friends.

I didn’t know any of this until after and when I learned this I was embarrased, furious and upset. I told my son that he was being unkind,to apologise and to think of how he would feel if that had happened to him. I invited the boy over for a playdate that afternoon expecting drama but all was fine. I remembered being an unforgiving child and I knew this was my fault.

I was reacting to an incident and I hadn’t been proactive in teaching him understanding, empathy, kindness and putting any kind of value on it.

The way we value things are shown in the questions we are asking our children.

Who did you play with? for me translates to “please don’t have been left alone on the playground and be hurt and lonely” and my other questions like, “how many points did you score” “what did you learn” are all gauges to tell if he is doing ok. If there are areas I need to practice with him so that even if he is not the star, he is not the kid that can’t kick the ball or recite that passage in the book.

Fear.

So I’m changing my questions. I believe that knowing yourself, being kind and of service to others is one of the greatest gifts ever given. In kindness and service you find pleasure and satisfaction – what you give out to the world you receive back. In knowing yourself you understand what you, as a unique human being, can give.

Let’s start asking our children:

What are you grateful for?
What really made you happy today?
Who were you kind to? Who could you be more kind to? Do you think anyone you know is sad or having a hard time? If you see someone alone on the playground, do you ask them to play with your group?

What was your favourite moment?

We need to start parenting out of love. Forgetting the media, forgetting the comparisons, forgetting the judgement, looking outside of ourselves and teaching our children the same thing.

The world is bigger than just our potential super-star. The world needs more love, more protection, more kindness and more people to be of service to others. 

And we need to start parenting that way.

 

 

 

 

How To Simplify Your Life

I was at the supermarket this morning and I was speaking to my bread guy, Bruce. Bruce is great. He is probably in his 60’s and does yoga outside, he knows about earthing and even has earthing mats for his bed.

When I went to grab the bread I wanted I had a sudden indecisive moment where I looked at the bread and didn’t recognise it. Was this the bread I usually bought? He tried to steer me in the direction of  another brand and I said, “Oh no, I need this brand, the rest have preservatives.”

He said, “How do you know?”

I said, “Because they have numbers on the ingredients list and this brand doesn’t.”

He said, “I have the book. Do you have the preservatives book?”

I said no I don’t need the book. He was shocked, “But then how do you know?”

Because to simplify my life I don’t need to categorize preservatives or look them up in the book, what I do is just don’t buy items with numbers in the ingredients.

Simple.

If you go to buy a lasagna in the supermarket, all you need to do is compare brands just once to see that some have ingredients that you assume it would have in there, flour, eggs, mince etc and some have that and a whole lot more stuff with a list of numbers in brackets. Just don’t buy that one.

This year has been a bit of a dream run for me. We are in the new house which is totally designed to let the kids run around, we can walk the kids to school, we have a park close by and I keep Mondays free.

Because Monday’s are my reset days. I’m not trying to do activities. I have enjoyed the weekend and now I can prepare for the week. Today I will be washing clothes, cleaning floors and tidying up the house but I kind of love it because I have made space for it in my life.

I can grocery shop a little bit, if I want to, snooze, write, study, meditate, read. Mondays are beautiful. The boys have yoga in the afternoon and when I drop them i can pop into the shops for anything else I need.

Simple.

My boys aren’t doing swimming again until the next summer term because when things are hard, life is hard. So even though I got lessons at the same time and Elijah liked having his own swim. I found that getting three boys out of the pool, dressed and dried at the same time too hard, plus we got home late and then dinner had to be made and kids needed to be bathed as they were freezing. I had started to dread Tuesdays.

Maybe you say, suck it up that’s the way life is.

Or maybe you say, its my life and my choices and if you can make your life beautiful by simplifying then you should do it. 

Do you see empty space and fill up the calendar? I don’t. I need that blank space to embrace the opportunities that life is going to give me this week. Maybe a beautiful spontaneous playdate, time to do my assignment, practice my presentation, give thought and time to any activities we might undertake.

Because when I say yes, I really want to do them. I am committed and present and I show up as my best self.

So to simplify you need to:

Look at where your life is easy : What do you love doing? When does life flow effortlessly for you?

What do you not like doing? What makes life hard? Can you simplify it?

For example if you really don’t like cooking then don’t put pressure on yourself to make really complicated meals. Sometimes an omlette is perfection! With a little cucumber, tomato and cubed cheese on the side its a whole meal. Steak and a salad or steamed veges.

Life is for living.

You make your own choices. You are that powerful.

Use your power wisely.

 

 

 

Why Mums Shouldn’t Get Hangovers

I woke up this morning certain that I’d been hit in the head last night. With a hammer.

Throbbing.

Painful.

My neck which last night I’d thought had been miraculously cured, can no longer turn. It wasn’t sore cause I was feeling no pain.

I put the pillow over my head and wish that there was some way to take nurofen without leaving the position I was in. Later I’m grateful to that pillow for shielding my husband from the sight that is me today.

Glowing skin from that fab moisturiser I’ve been using all week? Gone.

The mascara I’d so carefully double layered last night is smeared around my eyes.

The bags under my eyes from Elijah’s 2:30am wake up time (he didn’t go back to sleep) last week, had nearly unpacked themselves but now they’ve doubled in size.

My skin is whiter than sheets I’m sleeping on, making the pimples on my face stand out more.

A kebab, chips and some sort of cocktail with marshmallow on top? Seemed like a great combo at the time.

How many bottles of wine?

To fix it all there is really going to have to be a burger in my day today. Definitely buckets of coffee.

Yoga is out the window. My couch will be the only place I stretch on today.

I mean this is all ok. I can handle it. I did the crime I can do the time but….

I’m a MOTHER.

Meaning that when my husband is feeling delicate I close the door to the room, tiptoe out of there and keep the kids away from him. I make him breakfast, put his coffee, water and two nurofen by the bed.

Seeing my behaviour the kids copy, tiptoeing around Daddy whilst he snoozes on the couch for most of the day.

My day goes a little something like this:

Children screaming

Children hungry

“Sssssh let Mummy sleep. JULIAN!!!!! GET YOUR CLOTHES ON FOR FOOTY NOW.”

Oh God, that’s never going to work. Give him his clothes I pray. Give him his clothes Daniel.

Tears. Missing shorts. That’s the wrong top. More tears.

MUMMMY!!!

God my head hurts.

“I’ll take Leo so you will get quiet time honey.”

Meltdowns. Screaming.More tears. I crawled out of bed to the coffee machine and to referee.  No one made it to footy.

There was no quiet time for Mummy.

There never is.

So what I think is this:

I need to go back to my sparkly self last night and tell her that all those witty conversations she is going to have?

She won’t remember them.

I might need to tell her to wear a watch because 3am is going to give her less than five hours sleep and that is no fun for anyone.

I definitely need to remind her that anymore than three glasses of wine is going to poison her.

But  even though Mummy’s really shouldn’t get hangovers her heart will be full of love for her girlfriends, her legs wobbly from all the high-heeled dancing and her face sore from all the laughing.

And I’ll tell her  it’s worth every ounce of pain today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Boost Your Kid’s Self-Esteem

I’ve got three boys.

One of them is an “I can’t’ child.

One of them is an “I’m awesome” child.

One of them can’t yet speak in full sentences so I’m not going to categorize him:)

Which one do you think I’m most worried about?

I know that isn’t the be all, end all of things but I believe that naturally optimistic people are overall more happy with how life turns out and can roll with the punches better.

And the scary thing is that even if you are born optimistic and determined life can throw you some curve balls can’t it?

I was naturally optimistic and even though introverted, exuded a quiet confidence (according to my Mother and teachers). But somewhere along the way, in adolescence, I lost the ability to connect back in with myself.

As you grow up and you have freedom of decisions, you can look outside yourself for the answer.

What are my friends doing? What does the TV say? These days there is the internet (!), social media. What are my teachers saying, my parents?

At a certain age your peer group influences more than your parents and our opinions (gulp) become less important to our children.

So what can we teach them now that gives them that sense of self? That lets them know that no matter what, they need to listen to that gut instinct, their intuition, that their heart is there to guide them?

Believe me when I say I have been looking into this. Researching it. Could probably write a PhD on it.

Because it matters.

Because I truly believe that if I can just teach him to believe in himself. To know himself. To be independent but supported. Then his gifts, of which there are so many, will be gifted to the world.

But if not then he just might keep them to his self. Like so many people do. Because they are afraid.

I write things that sometimes I think I shouldn’t. But I do it anyway because it’s my gift and it might be a present to someone. It might help.

I do yoga for myself now but when I believe that I will be of service to the world then I start to share it. No matter how scared I am.

I had coaching this week, with the beautiful Kirri White http://kirriwhitecoaching.com/. I asked her to speak with me about speaking and presenting skills because you know what? When it comes to saying my words out loud I’m freaked out.

So we all understand what it is like to be scared. To want to say I can’t. But the audio on the fear and the “I can’t’s” seem to get softer when you know yourself. When you connect to you and know that it is needed to journey on your path.

So where do we start with our kids? How do we help them?

  1. Gratitude – Every night I get the kids to say three things they are grateful for. This is sometimes hard as they reel off members of our family to get it over with. I encourage them to think about things other than people that they are grateful for when they do this. I then ask them what their favourite moment is. Gratitude has been proven to reduce comparison with others and therefore improve self-esteem.
  2. Discussing emotions and feelings. The book by Goldie Hawn, Ten Mindful Minutes, discussing her Mind Up program that is in American schools, has some really great terminology for naming areas of the brain and feelings. The pre-frontal cortex, in charge of thinking and making good choices, is the wise old owl, the amygdala is the Guard Dog that barks when it sees something scary but the problem is that the Guard Dog sometimes barks for no good reason and can make us feel angry, want to cry etc. It’s a way of explaining to them (and to ourselves) how our brains work and how they regulate emotions.
  3. Deep breathing – continuing on from the education on why they are feeling this way is what to do about it. Encouraging some deep mindful breaths, start with just three when they feel scared or angry. Even if they don’t do it at the time, if you are consistent they will remember you saying and modelling it and will begin to do it on their own.
  4. Kindness to ourselves and others – We need to start encouraging our children to talk nicely to themselves. We need to let them know that mistakes are ok, everyone makes them. Start asking them to think of nice things they can do for others and start actioning them. When we think of others, we lose those self-obsessive cycle of thoughts, and it gives us a real boost to think we have helped someone.
  5. Teach them that thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. What we think is not always right and it can be very self-limiting. We need to teach our children that we are not our thoughts, that reality is not what we think, we in fact shape our reality by thinking. We are the awareness behind our thoughts and the constant chatter in our mind is not actually who we are.
  6. Meditation – My kids are little. 6,4 and 2 but they go to yoga class and I’ve now started a very informal meditation practice with them at home. It goes like this…. if they come out of their beds at night then I’ll go in and do a meditation with them. It is definitely one way to get them asking to do it! Otherwise they don’t really want me to do it. In the mornings when they get up I am usually meditating and they will come and sit on my lap for some quiet time before joining their brothers in the playroom. Meditation gets them to practice slowing down their thoughts and encourages focus of the mind, which are helpful tools to getting rid of the negative thoughts and feeling better about ourselves.

There are sooo many amazing free resources on the internet if you just google mindfulness activities for kids. Below are just a few of them that I think are pretty cool.

http://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/mindfulness-for-children

Cool Down and Draw Worksheet - Part of Mindful Practices' newest book 'Cooling Down Your Classroom':

 

 

 

 

How To Get Happy

The world is changing.

Technological advances, new discoveries, new ways of living.

Pressure. Stress. Busyness.

Debt. Materialism. Iphonitis.

In my generation we were expected to go to school, after school, to go on to further study.

These days you need a doctorate of that further study to be picked out of a line up for jobs.

Adolescence becomes the breeding ground for anxiety, stress, alcoholism, drug addiction, dangerous sex and breakdowns because we are forever looking forwards.

And the future, the big unknown, is freaking scary.

There is a myriad of things you can do with your life but we pressure adolescents to think that their choices now are their future. We try to tell them that doing good in school is the only way to success. How many people have been held back by fear? Have stopped doing what they love because someone says that there is more security in another field? Where does that lost potential go?

We need to stop looking so far out into the horizon. 

When you get a boyfriend, people ask you when you are going to get married?

When you get married people ask you when are you having kids?

When you have your first baby, people ask if you are having more?

Keep your eye on the prize people.

When’s the promotion? When’s the pay rise? When’s the next holiday?

We are so used to looking forward that the majority of us are never present.

How many of you remember people’s names when you are introduced? If you do then you are one of the few who are actually present, in the present.

How many of you enjoy the prize when you get there?

The holiday wasn’t up to expectations- of course it wasn’t because you were friggin there for the last month in your head and God, your imagination did not include a bout of gastro and a pool closure.

We have lost the ability to be in the moment.

This job sux. Did you think it would be ace? Did you think that all it takes to be satisfied in a job was money and status? No. You actually need to have a passion for what you do to love it, an avid interest, or maybe just a really happy disposition.

When you get that pay rise, the one that will solve all your problems, you need another one because you spent that money just as fast as it came in.

We are forever looking forward but yet tomorrow never comes

We complain about people instead of celebrating them.

We talk about the bad weather, the awful crime, what is coming up next but we never get to know each other the way we could know each other.

There is not time to look at the good when we are always looking at the bad.

And so it goes on.

Until one day you decide that today is the day I will be happy.

That day is a good day.

That day is the day you decide that yes, all of this has not made me happy, and I get just one life.

One life to wake up and do the things I want to do.

Wake up and cuddle my children, because even though I have been complaining about them, I am so glad they are here in my home.

Wake up and look over at my husband and realise what an amazing man he is. For all that he does for us. To stop looking at all he is not.

To wake up and say that what I have now, in my closet, in my pantry, in my home, in my life, is enough. To be thankful for what is, instead of what isn’t.

One life to read those books on my shelf, one life to visit the places I want to see, one life to talk to people about the things I am passionate about, one life to change things.

One life to make today about me. To ask what it is that I need right now. To be happy.

Kids Don’t Need a Perfect Mama

My creativity is all about the written word and movement as far as I can tell.

Crafts or certain things I have to do that require me to have some inherent sensibility and perfectionism, frankly, fill me with fear.

So you can imagine how pleased I was on learning that my son would be a mouse for his upcoming assembly.

I whipped out the phone and started googling mouse costumes. I showed him the ones I thought would ship it the fastest and thought we were done.

Julian: No. I want you to make it.

Me: Oh no.

Julian: Please. Everyone else’s Mums do it.

Me: But it won’t look any good.

Julian: I want you to make it.

Damn it, I just can’t resist those big pleading eyes. So we scheduled in a visit to Spotlight for “crafty items” I didn’t have,including glue and sticky tape.

Julian: I don’t want Elijah and Leo to come.

Me: Hmmmm….ok we can see if Nanna can look after them.

At this point I realised that he was vying for some of my time. We don’t often get time without the other two kids as Julian is at school full time, so it made me realise that this was less about the costume and more about my time.

Now I’m not guaranteeing he still won’t burst into tears when he’s ear falls off at assembly but what I’m saying is that we don’t need to be perfect for others. I don’t need to hide my faults and my failures. What I need to do is step up and be a good role model for my son.

Because even my dodgy craft skills are part of me and we shouldn’t shy away in shame from the world over anything, it’s not worth it.

IMG_9609

 

 

 

Why You Lose It

The kids are screaming. There is constant fighting. There are tears. Yours, theirs.

You lose it.

You scream. Yell. Do your best scary Mama impression. Maybe you grab them. Maybe you smack them.

Because it’s their fault right? They started it.

Your brain works furiously to reassure you in these moments that you did the right thing. Then the bastard thing changes its mind and tells you to say sorry, it floods your body with guilt by telling you to look at these innocent  little angels, new to the world and you should do better.

Be better.

The only way to do better?

To accept responsibility for the situation. To look on it as your problem to solve.

Because at other times the kids can be doing exactly the same thing but yet you will calmly tell them to chill out. You will calmly tell them to stay away from there siblings. Or you will distract them.

You see?

Now you have to work out what’s going on with you – without the side of guilt please.

Do you need a time out? Babe it’s really ok to go into your room and have a lie down or stick a meditation on.

Have you been stuck at home too much? Or out too much? What can you do to rectify that?

Do you need some girlfriend time?

A cup of tea? Coffee? Wine?

Do you need to plan a date night with hubby, resolve an issue with a friend, call your Mum?

What is it that you need to do so that you stay calm? So that you don’t become one big screaming, crying mess?

Put your lifejacket on darling because it’s you that needs rescuing here.

Be your own hero today and revel in the heroic acts to follow.

xxx

 

 

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