You are enough.

‎One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do…in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I was talking to my uncle the other day – my mother’s brother. This side of my family are oddly isolated. Each family member and their little family operates much like a satellite – spinning around in the atmosphere, occasionally bumping into each other and then bouncing off again on their solo journey. Even more oddly, many of us live in the same neighbourhood. I am no different – I love to bump satellites with them, but rarely go to the trouble of organising a proper get together. A shame really, because I really like them, this eclectic bunch of healers and artists.

So my uncle and I bumped satellites at a function I helped organise for the area’s complementary therapists; my grandmother, uncle and mother have been practicing complementary medicine (chiropractor, osteopath, homeopath, naturopath, herbalist) in this little valley for more than 30 years. When they started, the country folk around here had never seen such things before, although some of them still used home remedies that their mothers and grandmothers used. After initial mutterings of quacks and witch craft, my family settled in and have been in constant demand ever since.

Have you found that sometimes you start telling one story only to end up telling another? Here I am telling you the story of my family, and I still haven’t told you about the conversation that sparked this post!

So, anyway, here I am at this function and my uncle and I are chatting, as you do. I ask him how his daughters, my cousins were going – they are about 10 years younger than me and off doing young women’s things in the big city, much like I did when I was their age. He replied that they are growing up beautifully, and that he didn’t need to worry after all :). So we started talking about the fears that we have as parents, the worry and the hope, all mixed up in this unruly package of love. I made a joke:

first-40-years-of-parenthood-are-always-the-hardest-funny-poster-print

And then my uncle said:

You know, our children choose us because they need what we have. The most important thing in being a parent is to just be yourself and love them, because that’s what they need from us.

I let his words percolate and settle within me, and felt a great sense of peace and relief (a sure sign that I have come across a truth). This wisdom has revisited me quite a few times over the past few days. One of the roads of thought it has taken me down is a reaffirmation that my style of mothering is perfect for my children – they chose me, they need me to be who I really am.

I am feisty, strict, demanding – and I will play board games and read stories for hours. I yearn for freedom, space and solitude – and I am reliable, I keep promises, turn up on time and know all their friends’ names. I am not sporty, crafty or good at dancing – but I play backyard cricket whenever my son wants me to, I make sure my kids always have art supplies and a place to create; and music, books, good food and beauty are always present in my home. Sometimes I shout, yell and curse, feel disappointed and am just plain old bad tempered – but I never blame anyone else for my moods and I apologise if I step too far out of line. I can be distracted and irritable – but I am always there when my kids really need me.

I am that I am and it is enough.

The other road I have travelled down when thinking about this wisdom is how women torment themselves because they do not fit into our society’s ideal mother image. Newsflash – no one does. This is not an image, it is a caricature, grossly deformed and completely unattainable. I see women quietening their loud voices, strapping down their wildness and modulating their laughter to squeeze themselves into an illusion. It breaks my heart, it really does.

None of it is real. The only thing that is real is you, the real you. Where do I find this real me? Look for it in your favourite places – and it doesn’t have to be the kitchen (although I like to cook, not everyone does and not everyone should). Look for it in your favourite things to do – and it doesn’t have to involve your family. Look for it in your favourite books, movies, music and art. What is it about these things that you like?

Your work then, is to uncover the real you (the clues are everywhere, always) and be true to her (or him). It’s called integrity. You may know it as being real, having a strong moral compass or being true to yourself. It’s the most important task you are to do here, and your children are here to help you.

And the Great Mother said:
Come my child and give me all that you are.
I am not afraid of your strength and darkness, of your fear and pain.
Give me your tears. They will be my rushing rivers and roaring oceans.
Give me your rage. It will
erupt into my molten volcanoes and rolling thunder.
Give me your tired spirit. I will lay it to rest in my soft meadows.
Give me your hopes and dreams. I will plant a field of sunflowers and arch rainbows in the sky.
You are not too much for me. My arms and heart welcome your true fullness.
There is room in my world for all of you, all that you are.
I will cradle you in the boughs of my ancient redwoods and the valleys of my gentle rolling hills.
My soft winds will sing you lullabies and soothe your burdened heart.
Release your deep pain.
You are not alone and you have never been alone.

~Linda Reuther, from Homecoming (via ShamanTube)

Structure and discipline. What?

So, as many of you will know, both of my children are at school this year for the very first time. I had big plans and expectations (damn you expectations!) as to how this year would look, mostly along the lines of massively increased productivity and freedom.

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Yeeeessssss.

I am not sure how or why, but for some reason I am less productive than when the Fairy Queen was at home – or if not less productive, then certainly nowhere near as effective. I haven’t even been able to fit in a daily yoga practice!

I have been becoming more and more frustrated with how my days seem to be evaporating with nothing to show for them – unless you count a flourishing facebook conversation and a clean feng shui’d house! Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things…but.

My inner boss gave me an absolute pasting the other day. You need to be more disciplined and structured. Resistance! I want to be free and unrestricted! But you don’t get anything done! Hmmmm you have a point…but I still want to be able to flow with the day rather than putting rigid restrictions and timetables on my day – I have had to train myself out of that! Well, you need to find a middle way. Get on it. 

:)

The more I thought about it, the more I went around in circles, getting nowhere. So I decided to stop thinking about it, and hand my problem over to the Divine (as Tosha Silver talks about in her amazing book Outrageous Opennessor God, or the Angels or your guides or the universe or your higher self or whatever you want to call it . That night as I lay down in bed, I told the Divine (or whoever was listening) my problem, and asked for help in solving it. Clearly, I saw an image of myself getting up early (like I normally do), going over to the cottage (like I normally do) and then not turning on the computer :). Instead, I lit some candles and an incense stick, sat down on my cushion and began to breathe.  That’s it. Just breathe. I needed to get in touch with myself and the flow of the day and let that connected, grounded self plan my day. And then I needed to ask myself, what do you want to do next?

That first day, what my connected, grounded self wanted to do next was yoga. After that, I switched on the computer – but I had a completely different head space! I got the kids ready for school, whizzed around the house, hung some washing out – and then did more on my assessment in one morning than I had done in the previous 2 weeks. I had to go over to the school that afternoon to listen to the children read in the afternoon, but I had gotten a whole day’s work done in the morning, so it didn’t matter!

The second day, today, my connected grounded self wanted to do yoga, and then start writing this blog. By 2 pm I have managed to finish my assignment and send it in, do a bit of work for an event I am helping to plan, write and publish this blog, as well as do the housework, plan dinner and play on facebook – and there is still plenty of day left.

Was it starting the day with yoga? Was it starting the day grounded and connected? Was it all of the above?   I don’t know, but I can tell you this:

  1. Some problems cannot be thought through with the mind because they are caused by the mind.  

einstein

2. We get into ruts, all of us and we fool ourselves into thinking that these ruts are helping us. They are not.

3. There is a lot to be said about our morning routines and rituals and how they contribute to our whole day.

Have you ever had this problem? What did you do about it?

This post was inspired by this article.

Rainy day pleasures.

Well folks, it’s still raining. It hasn’t really stopped since I last wrote, although it slowed down enough for the river to come down, the roads to become passable, the kids to go back to school and the electricity, phone and internet to come back on. Steady on though – the rain’s come back in with renewed determination this weekend, and it’s flooding again. Sigh.

If there is one thing that I have learned though, it is that it is completely and utterly pointless to resist and complain about what is happening. It’s raining, and there is nothing I can do about it! The only thing I can control is how I feel about it :).

So, what to do when it does nothing but rain?

  • Bake. Today I made apple crumble – do you want a recipe? Oh alright then :)

4-5 large apples, peeled and sliced and put straight into an oven-proof dish. Squeeze half a lemon over the top and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of sugar; mix well. To make the crumble mix mix 1/2 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of rolled oats, 3/4 cup of desiccated coconut and 75g of softened butter. Combine with fingertips until crumbly and scatter over the apple. Pop your delicious crumble into the oven and bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and apple is soft. We like our crumble with plain yogurt, but vanilla ice cream is also exceptionally yummy. I even told the kids they could have it for breakfast and they were thrilled at the idea of having dessert in the morning!

paleo apple crumble

Apple Crumble (Photo credit: Amber Karnes)

  • Do yoga. I haven’t done yoga for nearly a week because I had some mystery illness that made all my joints stiff and swollen. I felt almost back to normal today and I wanted to try out this great yoga sequence that a friend had sent me for neck, shoulders and upper back. Bliss, I tell you, bliss! Bliss to be doing yoga again, and bliss the amount of space and movement I had in my upper body after this sequence. Thanks Michelle!
  •  Summer came early, sauteed, baked and fried us and has disappeared early in a trail of puddles. It is technically Autumn – we are in March – but summer usually takes its sweet time in leaving. Not this year. I took the opportunity to wear lots of clothes – black tights, maroon long sleeved shirt and a purple short sleeved knitted cowl neck top over it all that another friend had bought for me a couple of days ago. Thanks Jules! Don’t I have good friends?
  • Listen to music. Oh, I know this is an any day, everyday pleasure, but today was extra special, don’t ask me why. Yesterday I poked my head into my children’s classroom to find them singing John Lennon’s  ‘Imagine’. That was a moment, I can tell you. Not only is it one of my all time favourite songs, it was radical 40 years ago and it’s still enough to cause a revolution today. And the children at our school are learning it. Lucky? Are we lucky? You bet we are.  Today, this song by Jose Gonzalez took me places too: 
  • A little space: physically and metaphorically. Both the children were scooped up unexpectedly on separate play dates this morning – the Fairy Queen was invited over to do a little painting and have some morning tea with the twins up the road, and the Soccer star went up to his Godfather’s house to have a play on the farm. Space on a rainy day?  Yep :). Add to this my little cottage where I spent a good part of the day today and you have a recipe to kill off cabin fever.
  • Watch a movie. Yesterday I had a few hours to myself so I decided to spend some of them doing something I hardly ever do: watch a movie only I would like. So I downloaded The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and spent an intensely pleasurable 2 hours in India with seven old people who have taken a risk with their lives to find some joy. The Bear snorted in derision when he saw what I was watching – yeah, that’s just about your age group - but I don’t care, I’m not ageist, and  I felt good after that movie. I will tell you a secret – I only like feel good movies. For me, movies are a purely escapist pleasure, and I don’t count suffering (mine or anybody else’s) as a pleasure. Also, I love Judi Dench and she has inspired me to cut my hair short in a pixie cut again. I love changing my hair style :).
  • Be inspired by beautiful art and words:

Learn to forgive people and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time. ♥


This is so beautiful - i wish i knew whose work this was so I could credit them. Do you know?

Dancing The Lifes Web Star Gifter Does by Stephen Lucas

 What is your favourite thing to do on a rainy day?