Feeling The Love

I woke up last night in fear of death. That death would take this man from me.

IMG_5969

I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t get peace.

A voice said to me, “ You will not lose him, for he is not lost. He is going home.” and so I cried.

I understood what it meant but when I think of my childhood, his home was my home. We went everyday after school and played at their place, on the roads and in the vacant block next door. We had a street gang, we rode our bikes, started a babysitting club and played road cricket. I remember him dancing and being so loud and betting on the horses. I remember him winning at cards at Christmas. I remember feeling special as he twirled me around, knowing that I was his granddaughter and he was proud of me.

Just recently he told me about his time fighting a war in Korea. How he hates war. How he spent three months in Japan because he was taken as a soldier but was too young too fight. How it was the best time of his life.

I didn’t receive a phone call last night. I got up after a couple of hours of sleep and walked on the beach with my best friend. I waited for the call but it didn’t come.

I went to see him as soon as I dropped the kids at school. He was small and shrunken and unhappy. He was awake and not in pain but weak and sick and tired of it all. I held back tears as I held his hand. I didn’t ask him the questions that I had thought I needed to ask him. The questions that kept me up during the night.

Like –  What is the meaning of life? and  Do you think Australia was a good decision? How do you think your life would have played out if you stayed in Scotland? Did you get enough joy from your life? Did you get enough love? Did we show you how much you mean to us? Did you feel valued?

Instead, what I did was I held onto him.

And he held on to me.

When I left, I said, “See you tomorrow!”, he said, “I’ll be in another place.”

And so I cried.

I hope he meant that he was moving hospital wards, which he was, but I didn’t know. I just felt his emptiness. The life being drained from him.

I went to yoga and when I checked my phone afterwards I feared the worst.

But it was good news. The Doctors have found a bug in his blood and are giving him treatment. The chemo is working and is shrinking his tumour. He lives to fight another day.

My husband took this shot tonight and I cried again. With relief. With happiness. With joy.

IMG_5996

It’s so often we do things that are meaningless. We tick off our to do lists and clean our houses and get angry about silly things but life shows up when you least expect it, to show you that what you actually need to do is give out more love.

You can even throw the list of questions and things you think you should ask out the window. You will never know all there is to know. But you can feel all there is to feel.

And make sure others know you are there.

You showing up is what matters.

Holding the hand.

Being there.

For the moment.

For the breath.

Feeling the love.

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.

 

 

 

 

Motherhood and Me

I believe Motherhood is one of the most amazing times in our lives.

Last night watching my sons pile on top of my husband in hysterical laughter, getting tickled and be in the moment was one of my life’s great joys.

Sitting on the sidelines and watching joy in action made me joyful because it filled my heart with love.

I believe that Motherhood is not hard work, what Motherhood is, is beautifully imperfect and once we realise that, once we let go of the control that we think we have, we can surrender to this beautiful imperfection.

The kind of imperfection that causes your beautiful, imperfect, but inherently worthy, two year old to freak out over a toy, to lay himself on the floor and kick his little legs to get food. Your three year old toilet trainer to pee on a chair at a restaurant (fabric) or Gymbus foam pit.Your six year old to become so highly dramatic about things that he would prefer you to make a mouse costume so he can be like everyone else instead of doing the sensible thing and letting you buy him one. Because it won’t turn out well. 

But these are the moments you will remember and unbelievably think back on with love.

I think that hard work is an indication that it is the wrong direction for whatever your doing.

I think if you look at Motherhood deeply enough, even at the “hard” bits, you will find the love and the joy in it.

The school runs, the lunches, the early mornings might not be fun for you but they are your dedication to the ones you love. Your version of honouring their little beings with food to nourish their bodies and education to nourish their minds.

It obviously also helps to have some space from honouring your loved ones and getting that very welcome six hour break before doing it all over again.

I believe that life is what you make it. My life is full. It’s filled with love, family, friends, chaos, dogs, kids, laughter, inspiration and stillness.

Has every dream I’ve ever had come true? Maybe not but I’m so grateful for everything that I have. From my eyesight to my toe nails to my ability to write this blog post and tell you what is in my heart.

What is the key to making the life you want?

Knowing yourself. Knowing what fills your cup. Then taking action.

The fruits of that action? Meh. Whatever.

You have to enjoy what you do everyday. Life is not the destination, it’s the journey.

I’m thinking of taking a gymnastics class, not to follow a dream of becoming a (very old) world class gymnast, but to tumble and flip and cartwheel like I used to love when I was a kid. To laugh and fail and have fun.

Yes you can put laugh and fail and fun in the same sentence but only if you remove two things. Shame and perfectionism.

The who-caresness of who I am (see how I don’t care that that’s not even a word), lets me walk through the world more unguarded than some.

You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even have to be a perfect Mother.

Your kids give you unconditional love. They let you yell, scream and be crazy and love you anyway.

The key to letting go of your perfectionism streak? Become happier with who you are. When you are being the best version of yourself, you don’t need your actions or gorgeous children to be your mouthpiece. Then that drops the pressure on your children.

You see?

If you don’t need to be the perfect Mum (thank god) then you can stop expecting them to be the perfect children (yay). 

I believe that Mothers shouldn’t let themselves become so depleted that the only reactions are yelling or crying (yes, I’ve been there and it sux), this means you :

Need more sleep (go to bed earlier and also lie down during the day – even just to meditate)

Need a meditation practice (if you are unsure please comment in the blogs and I will help you)

Need to honour yourself– I fit yoga and meditation in during my morning only because I get up early and my kids watch TV, I also know my kids won’t starve of love if I leave them with my husband or babysitter to get a massage, go out for dinner or on a much needed holiday.

I believe that Motherhood is one of the most amazing times of our life. I hope that one day, before it is too late and that time of our life is gone, that all Mother’s see this too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Be More You

Watching my toddlers interact with the world is an awe inspiring activity because before they are told how to behave, how to act, where to be quiet, where to tone it down, they are themselves.

But between our soft scoldings and their wide-eyed observations they come to the realisation that the real them won’t cut it in this world. The real them who longs to wear costumes all day, who wants to sing and shout in restaurants, who wants to laugh when they are “supposed” to be serious.

So they start to conform. Little by little they dull their sparkle. They look to others who are getting admiration (maybe an older sibling or someone at school) and they try to be like them. They ask to have their hair cut, wear a uniform, wear matching socks. They ask if “so and so” would do it this way, if so and so would like this and if so and so looks like this.

Because we are hard-wired for connection, we crave it above everything else. We are smart enough, even at 5,  to realise that we could manipulate the situation and get more likes and admiration from people if we layer ourselves. If we also pretend to like this toy, this show, want this haircut.

I thought it was a teenage phenomenon, a problem starting  with celebrities and magazines, where we think that who we are isn’t good enough, but it starts earlier.

A woman came up to me yesterday as I was putting the kids in the car and said to me, “They were just being kids.” Me, in a slightly bad mood, had just released my circus of monkeys into the shops and had lost control of them. Usually I am cool and they are cool but yesterday for some reason I was already slightly hysterical (it may have been due to their fighting and screaming in the car for the previous half an hour) and we went into the shops without my invisible force-field of control that keeps them at least in my vicinity while we were there.

She continued, “Society is not really set up for them.”

I nod, say “It’s been one of those days”, as a way of explaining that they are not usually like this in shops otherwise I wouldn’t have brought them.

So is pressing down on their personalities and what was actually just a bit of fun the right thing to do? Is yelling and screaming and being stricter in public the way to go about it?

We are continually losing pieces of ourselves and the pressure to conform and “be good” can eradicate who we are entirely. Because “being good” and “being kind or true to yourself” are not necessarily the same thing.

Supressing your voice in situations to “not make waves” is a result of “being good”. Not following your heart and instead getting a “proper job” to fall in with societies expectations is “being good” but not necessarily what you should be doing.

I’ve read articles that say that our education system, where we spend hours at our desk and on mats sitting still is not the right learning environment for boys because their energy and focus is not the same as girls. So maybe they are having to conform more and the change is even greater for them.

We are set up to believe that school, further schooling, then a 9-5 (or 7-midnight) job is what is going to make us a success. Get a car loan and a mortgage and you are living the Australian dream.

But are you being yourself?

My dream of being a published author is still out there in the Universe, waiting to be realised, because it is only now that I believe in myself enough to pursue it. Even though I knew from seven years old that it was what I wanted to do.

I’m 35 years old and being “good” hasn’t served my true purpose. Following societies rules and regulations resulted in large debt, obsession with material goods and a 9-5 job I hated but felt trapped because of previously mentioned debt and obsession with material goods.

We think that being harder on our children will make them better people but are we sure?

My beautiful middle child Leo often says to me something that I said to him, “You love me, even when I am naughty.” He says it like he can’t believe it’s true.  Like our discipline techniques are making them misunderstand our unconditional love. It’s important that our children know that we get grumpy, just as they get grumpy, but our love is always there for them.

So are we sure that keeping them in line is what is going to make them the future generation that will heal the world?

A generation of people who are at peace with who they are and understand what their true purpose in life is – and then make that their career. A generation of people who are not bitching and moaning and complaining about the situations they find themselves but are passionately advocating their own choices (without making others feel these were the choices that they should make).

A generation of people that say I am happy, I am at peace, I know that love is something that is found within and given. It is not something that you need to receive to be whole.

A generation that were told, “You can be whatever  you want to be.” but the difference with their generation and ours, is that we will mean it.

Our kids will invent jobs that we cannot even dream of right now because the world is changing at such a rapid pace. The movement of expanded consciousness allowing us to see things more differently (or more clearly) than we ever have.

A life is for living, people are different, there is no right and no wrong way to run your life.

Because it’s getting cool to be yourself. Because it is awesome to be “different”.

Our world of social media is letting us tailor what we see and are influenced by. I don’t know about your feed but my feed is filled with the positive, the inspiring, the delicious and people that promote contentment and joy. It’s filled with my interests – yoga, writing, healthy food, amazing fashion.

This new world and it’s tailoring to the individual is giving “permission” to be you like never before. If you needed that permission slip (and a lot of us do), then it is being written.

Maybe it’s motherhood, or maybe it is this new generation of consciousness allowed by technological advances, but my girlfriends are being more themselves than ever before. No longer do we like the same things, do the same hobbies or have to be with each other all the time. I adore seeing the creative ways they are expressing who they are and they are celebrating who I am.

Our differences are not tearing us apart like we feared they would when we were younger, so much so that we would hide who we are. Our differences are our common thread. We are the same because we are different. Our uniqueness is interesting, special.

So what do we do? Let our children run wild and hope for the best, experimenting with their well-being? Let our two year old dictate with their wants and desires?

Of course not.

It begins with breaking our cultural habit of no. When we notice the good and not the bad it reinforces the good behaviour, on their own terms. If they were kind without you asking, praise their good qualities, if they tidied up or cleaned up after themselves notice.

Don’t you hate it yourself in life where you can do so much good but it’s not until you do something wrong that their is a discussion?

We can be like that with our children.

We can also be like that with our partners. Have you ever told them how to behave? Implied that they, as they are, are not good enough and to change? How many times in that situation had you told them the positive of what they had been doing? Sometimes that behaviour comes out of a lack of love and kindness, not out of “badness”.

In Return To Love, by Marianne Williamson, she says, “There is an old cliché, “You can see the glass half empty, or you can see it half full.” You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right. But whatever you focus on, you’re going to get more of. Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack, and you get lack. Think abundance, and you get more.”

So let’s focus on the good. My children are beautiful. They play for hours by themselves, they are loving, kind, creative and totally amazing. I can take them to restaurants and I can take them to shops and most people adore the fact there is three of them and they are just so happy. There are not there meekly waiting till I make my decisions and leave they are offering input and commentary and taking the natural joy they have of life.

I don’t want to change that, I don’t want to see their laugh till they cry attitudes being turned around so that they follow me, not daring to misstep. So I need to start learning how to praise them better.

Everyday, for myself and for my children, I want to be better, do better.

So how do you become more you?

Meditate

The Dalai Lama has said, If every 8 year old in the world was taught meditation, we would eliminate violence in one generation.”

But to teach our children we need to model this for them. Peace begins with you. If the only change you made in your whole life was to sit for fifteen minutes and be with yourself, in turn teaching your children, it would change the world.

Meditation is also the singular most effective tool to calm your mind and slow your thoughts. I sometimes refer to it as thought download. Its a space in my day where I hit the send/receive button. I’m refreshing and at the same time receiving inspiration from the gap in the thoughts.

Do what you love: Let them see you crafting, baking, cooking, going to exercise class, writing in your journal, playing board games, taking walks in nature, swimming in the ocean, skiing, reading. Don’t shut them out, let them be a part of it. Every morning when I am meditating the kids wake-up and come in, usually one by one. They come over to me without a word and sit on my lap. I give them a cuddle, whisper good morning and sometimes they stay and sometimes they don’t but they see me commit to what I love and I think that is a beautiful thing. They also see me sitting at the computer furiously typing, they see me heading out of the house with my yoga mat, chatting to people in the organic store about healthy food and fresh produce. I bring them in and make them a part of what I love so that they know it’s ok to do what you love.

Be positive: It’s great to be empathetic. We commiserate with each other a lot and it can make us feel less alone but if on the whole we are more negative than positive then that is what we are going to attract into our life. We keep asking for it. I know I often say I’m tired. I don’t think that is a great mantra to have. I don’t actually want to be tired. So I’m waking up now saying to myself, “I have so much energy!” . When people ask how I am I say that I am great. It’s easy to relate our negative experiences to each other, it’s become custom in our society but lets change that.

Praise everyone: Who doesn’t like compliments and positive word?  Let’s practice it with not only our children and our partners but everyone we meet. Find a genuine compliment and make someone’s day. For selfish reasons of course, because this is going to make you feel good.

Love: Love yourself, love your body, love your laugh lines, the bags under your eyes, your position in life, your bank account, the person that cut you off on the road. Just send out love. The more love we have the more love enters our life. Fill your heart up, open it up again and send that love out into the world.

I think it is amazing that by working on ourselves we can change others. That by being the light we can light the flames of other people.

I know I need to burn brighter and so do you.

Let’s set the world on fire.


 

 

..

 

.

.

The Spiritual Practice of Motherhood

Motherhood has challenged me, elated me, frustrated me, lifted me up and made me truly believe that I have a true purpose in life.

My three little boys are my sunshine. They are beautiful little people with massive hearts, unique thoughts and loving natures.

They are perfect just the way they are and so am I. As a Mother and a person. Because right now I am doing the best I can with what I know now. So are they.

So are you.

You ARE a perfect mother. A prefect parent. A perfect human being.

There is no right or wrong, only love and a willingness to move forward, improving every day.

I believe our children are put here on earth, at the right time for us in our lives, and show us the way.

They are here to make us understand that we are completely limited in perspective and it gives us such a glimpse of how little we actually know.

Motherhood takes a life that seems complicated and shows you what complicated is.

Motherhood takes your sleep, down-time and me-time, and asks you to keep on working.

Motherhood takes your understanding of people with kids to another level (anyone ever think that stay at home mums had the life of leisure???), but also shows us that we never know what another person is going through because we can never walk in their shoes.

When you are with your newborn you think its hard and your life is full to bursting point…and then you have two children and you reminisce on how easy it could have been with just the one!

Perspective.

We are so limited and it’s only when you realise that you have limited perspective, knowledge, understanding that you become compassionate, non-judgemental and aware.

What a beautiful thing that our children have given us.

This gift of the heart.

 

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.

 

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.