Weekly Inspiration #46

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Those of us here in the southern hemisphere are slipping into winter. The wind blows starkly off distant snow-covered mountains, the chill startling for we soft coastal-dwellers. It snowed not far from here during the week. The other day while my son trained for soccer, my daughter rode her birthday bike along the riverside footpath heading straight into the antarctic breeze. The clouds, stripped of all softness, rode high and dark across the sky, sending our gaze skyward to check for rain. None came though – the air was too cold to rain. After watching my son and his mates run after a round ball for an hour, short sleeved in the frigid air, I bought them hot chips for the car trip home, hands and bellies warmed – and hearts too. A warm shower, a hot cocoa, a lit up fireplace – these are the little luxuries of winter. I like it 🙂

There are other processes at work at this time of the year – we begin the inner journey as the year winds down towards the winter solstice, and this is amplified in the dark moon period before a new moon – which this month will be in Taurus, always a eventful time in our family. Our gaze turns inwards at these times and we come face to face with ourselves. This can be confronting and disturbing, to say the least, even if you, like me, pay regular attention to the journey of the spirit. I came face to face with myself (again) this week, and I didn’t really like what I saw. I didn’t like the way that I keep putting myself and my own needs last, how I blame other people for treating me how I treat myself and how little I think I deserve.

I used to think my self esteem was strong, and it is, as long as I think I am being useful to other people. The ground starts to get shaky when I want to focus on things that are just for me – like yoga say, or writing, or even a long desired University degree. Over the past few years I have worked through the feelings of guilt I have about putting time aside for these activities. Mostly, to avoid feeling guilty, I do these things early in the morning, before anyone gets up and wants me. As I have gotten better at prioritising my time, I will even write in the middle of the day when the children are at school and I am not working, like today for instance. I worked in the morning and now the house needs cleaning, there is dirty washing in the washing basket and there is my son’s birthday dinner to be planned and prepared. But I have carved out this time on a Friday afternoon to write the first half of this blog, and I give that to myself, willingly.

However, last weekend I discovered that I have not conquered this feeling of undeserving within me, I just work around it, avoiding it if I can. Sometimes though, I have to face it head on, and I have to battle through the guilt and fear. If I choose to not do that, to go the path of least resistance, then I will have to battle through grief and anger and shame, which believe me, is worse. Last weekend, as you may know, was smack in the middle of the Festival of the Cow. My daughter had her birthday party after school on Friday, my son had his first soccer game of the season on Saturday, plus we needed to buy my daughter’s birthday present – her new bike. Sunday was Mother’s Day. In a separate but interlocking world, I also had a local writer’s gathering to attend. I had paid the small attendance fee, reserved my place in the workshops that I wanted to attend – but logistically, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to accomplish my family duties as well as go to this writer’s event. I also didn’t know how to ask for any of it, so I didn’t. I just sort of hoped that it would all work out.

By Saturday morning, it became clear that it wasn’t going to just work out – and in fact, I wouldn’t be going at all. At first, I was angry at the Bear. I wanted it to be his fault – he should have been more helpful, easier to approach, more supportive. And then, although I wanted to pass the blame I knew in my heart that it was actually my fault for not prioritising my own needs, for not believing that I deserved to go to this event that had collided with the needs of my family. Not only had I let myself down, but I had let down the members of my writers group. Intense shame and grief wrapped itself around me, curling its tendrils around my heart and stomach. I felt like I weighed a ton, but at the same time I felt so insubstantial that a child’s breath could have dissolved me.

I wondered, as I slogged through the emotional quicksand of this week, if I was perhaps not just carrying my own grief but that of the women who came before me who did not have the opportunities I have – but all of the thwarted desire. In some way, I have the opportunity to lift all of us up by honouring and prioritising the needs of my spirit alongside that of my wife/mother/daughter/community/work selves. I need to take not just one risk on myself, but many, and not just in the early morning before the kids wake up, or in stolen hours while they are at school. I need to show myself that I am worthy of the highest possible investment of time, energy and money. I need to not back down from what I need to do. I need to take full responsibility for my life and the way that I want it to unfold. I need to be clear on what matters and what doesn’t, and make my decisions accordingly. Because if I don’t, who will?

Have you taken full responsibility for your life yet? Or like me, do you often put your own needs aside for the sake of others? Let us not do this any more, my friends. Let us find the life we need to live, and then go and live that beautiful life with all of our heart and soul.

Best Short Read

Life’s GPS: The Connection Between Creativity, Purpose, & Soul by Julie Daley for Unabashedly Female

Creativity is alive. Purpose is alive. That which keeps us from being creative and purposeful is stuck and stagnant.

In this image, I can see so clearly how important trust is – the trust of both what lies within me and my ability to hear it and act from it, as well as the knowing that every other human being also is creative and also has a deep well of creativity within them.

I see how often my attempts to understand my purpose, my reason for being alive, have insidiously come from looking to others, or my own Voice of Judgment, for information, validation, or ideas on what this purpose might be. Looking out there isn’t the same as true mirroring from those who know you and really listen to you. Effective mirroring can be a source. But, ultimately, even mirroring must be checked against the knowing that comes from an alive and trusting relationship with one’s soul.

And, I see it is a choice. It is always a choice. Sometimes, I go unconscious in the choosing process, and choose out of fear of humiliation, abandonment, rejection…. like everyone else.  We are meant to be in relationship and community. Our minds can get squirrelly when we think we won’t be.

This image began appearing after beginning to engage in direct dialogue with my soul, which isn’t the easiest of tasks. But, I did hear her clearly, after asking the question, “How do I begin to follow your lead in my life?” Her response? “Don’t make anything more important than me!” (exclamation point mine!!!)

To read more, click here.

Best Laugh

What people without children do not understand…this had me cackling and grinning – a wonderful comedic ode to parenthood 🙂

Best Words

An aging master grew tired of his apprentice’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the apprentice returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the apprentice.

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”

“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.

“No,” said the young man. At this the master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,

“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”

Best Image

Art by Dallas Clayton.
Art by Dallas Clayton.

Best Listen

BB King passed away this week at 89. I’m not sad – he had a good long life and I’m sure he was ready to leave. I’m very grateful though, that he left us the legacy of his music. What a gift to the world.

So here we are at the end of the Festival of the Cow. I had my birthday this week, and I managed to lift myself out of my emotional quagmire and have an enjoyable day, helped up by my lovely family and friends. The kids gifted me a massage (which I was lucky enough to be able to have on my actual birthday), plus the Bear gave me tickets for the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival which is coming up soon. I had breakfast with a friend before she started work, a cuppa and a chat with another friend, that delicious massage and then home to a meal cooked by the Bear. Lucky huh?

My son turned 11 yesterday (what?). More than anything else, he wanted a new guitar…

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Have a beautiful week everyone ❤

PSSSTTTT

Twitter – follow me on Twitter to see all of my other best reads that don’t quite make it on this blog, but are still awesome – I love a chat too, so come visit 🙂. Facebook – I have a Practical Mystic Facebook page, where I share inspirational and thought provoking ideas, quotes and art. I would love to see you there 🙂

26 comments

  1. Your observations and insights of the processes and events of your week make for interesting topics for consideration especially as they often touch on stuff of my own, dynamics of communication and balance between we all navigate in the process of sharing our lives.
    That description and winter anecdote is wonderful. I enjoy summer’s balminess except for when it’s really hot and I stop functioning, but nurturing ourselves with warm things cold weather has an attraction all of it’s own… there’s nothing like sitting in front of the fire, or a hot satisfying meal.
    All the choices and priorities we make without consciously thinking about them, just getting through the day, week, month, years… cobbling together lives. Then looking at our creations which are often dented and bumpy like real fruit & veges, not the shiny perfect supermarket offerings… but still good enough, often better, for consumption not simply display.
    I get frustrated at times. Sometimes grumpy with the G.O. because I can’t do it all, make it all perfect with the time and materials to hand. But I think that’s my lesson, do the best with what I’ve got. Be happy with that. Then try for different, with a view to improvement even incremental. Look forward at the next step as another piece. But look back at how far we’ve come as a whole. And remember I’m not the only one doing it. The G.O. is doing it alongside me, in his own way. No better, no worse than me.
    And we often have those good idea at the time moments, where we’ve on taken too much on and have to admit we can’t do and be it all. Yet another balancing of life’s economy of scale.
    And you are so right about doing it for others as well as ourselves. Everything we accomplish and share is illumination of the whole. I have mental picture of us all with headlights, lighting up the landscape and the way somewhat.
    This morning, up early I was marveling at how many of us are, here in the blog world. We pack a lot into our days, and make ourselves available to share them as well in the virtual world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you thank you thank you 🙂
      And also – I love your analogy of a life cobbled together all bumpy and imperfect like real fruit and veggies rather than the smooth plastic offerings in the supermarket. I definitely get hung up on perfection. It’s kind of one of my bugbears, this desire for everything to be perfect.

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  2. Oh sister, such a beautiful bit of writing again – your writing is such a reflection of who you are, there is a different energy about it when your emotions are different. Which is just as it should be, I suppose, and how could it be any other way? Lovely to read all the different moods of your life so clearly.

    I very much related to your struggle to prioritise needs – it must be a rare mother indeed who hasn’t felt this to some degree but for some reason each one thinks they’re the only ones who have these needs and are being selfish trying to fulfil them. This morning I had a real struggle – my boy has just got back into soccer and there’s a game 45 min away and in my heart I know that I’m not really well enough to take him, so we didn’t go. But oh! the guilt. And oh! the bloody interminable internal debating! Was a real balm to read that I’m not alone.

    And that fabulous Michael McIntyre clip – I’ve shared it with my friends and it has caused such a wonderful reaction that I can only conclude that I must also not be the only mum who begins every (school) morning yelling about shoes! So wonderful!

    Thanks again for sharing your life. Very much appreciated here. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zoe ❤️
      I have made a conscious decision to be as emotionally honest about my life and my process as possible…which means that some weeks are harder and more fraught than others, and I want my writing to show that.
      Soccer! One of the biggest sources of guilt…my son played his second game of the season today, and I couldn’t go because I needed to help my mother. Cue: guilt plus a last minute argument with Alex as I walked out the door :/. Shoes! Socks! Jumpers! Omg 🙂
      I figured most women feel like I do at some stage and possibly men as well, although no doubt they have a different take on it. I feel like if I can share my process as openly and honestly as possible that it may help others…
      At any rate, I’m glad you feel a little less like you’re the only one today.
      Xo

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  3. Really loved reading this Sara, it is inspirational.  Sharing so honestly and openly triggers things within. Always a juggle to keep the balance between honouring yourself and children who are dependent.  When to sacrifice and when to not ??  Always big.!!   Great to share the journey. Much Love, Marlene  (Joyful Marlene) Marlene Joy Rutherford    0403 312237  “WHERE ARE YOU WITHOUT YOUR HEALTH”     

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Marlene ❤️
      I push myself to be as emotionally honest as I can in my writing, because I think we all experience similar things at different times. I feel like my writing in this way connects us to each other through shared experiences.
      Thank you for following my blog and reading what I write, it fills me with great joy, these kinds of interactions with like minded souls. See you in witch camp!

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  4. Very powerful post and though our situations aren’t the same, I can relate – especially the part about the women who came before us…having the opportunities they didn’t have and feeling like they’re part of our journey too, living through us. You’re a great writer and have so much self-awareness – and it’s clear that you touch many lives through this blog. I’m in the middle of workshop I’ve wanted to do for a long time but haven’t been able to, for various reasons. I have no doubt that your writers retreat is coming and when it does, it’ll be the most perfect timing. xo Aleya

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, so much. I very much appreciate your praise ❤️
      Although our situations are different, as women we share a common thread, which I hope to use to connect us all through my words, even if only in a small way.
      There will of course be other opportunities…but it is another reminder that I have to take those opportunities. I promise I will 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I face the guilty mom syndrome all the time. (Don’t all Moms?) But I made a decision last September to let go of one “mom chore” in particular that stressed me out –taking my son to soccer practice. He practices several times a week. The crosstown location is a pain to get to (always with traffic on the way) making it an unpleasant experience for all of us. So I hired a babysitter to do it, and freed myself up to do other things. This month, our sitter is on vacation for 3 weeks so I’m back to doing the soccer run, but my attitude is much better knowing I have options. Also my daily meditation practice may be a factor in handling the traffic with more ease 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Soccer! The source of all guilt 🙂 I know what you mean – soccer training is only once a week here, but with everything else it becomes quite a chore. We are very fortunate that there is a small crew of us who have sons in the same team, so we take turns. No doubt it’s different for you in the city, but I love that you thought outside the box and found something that worked for you.

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  6. This is indeed a wonderful post. Creativity and Purpose is such a powerful topic to dwell on and it has always been very close to me. I just cannot imagine myself without these two words. Creativity keeps me meaningfully engaged and Purpose is what keeps me on the go and I am in constant search for that cause which can accelerate my being what I am, and perhaps it is the writing that is the purpose. For all of us one thing that makes us feel satisfied and at ease with self is when we discover our true purpose of our living.
    Best words is a strong message, how we look at life and just by shifting our perspective how we can change the way we live and think….from a glass to a lake and how salt is the means to make the message meaningful and powerful.
    The quote in the image is what sums it all, should we wait for the right time to take up our passion and perhaps there is no right time and get lost in the grind of work…
    Have a nice Sunday.
    😀

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    • Yes Nihar, you are quite right – if we wait for the right time, the perfect time to follow our passion, it may never come, or it may be too late. And really, what else is there to talk about that matters other than creativity, passion and purpose? 🙂 They seem to be the building blocks of a good life, our life that we grasp with both hands. A friend was showing me some beautiful prints that she had painted the other day – she had taken a few days off her day job because she felt the strong urge to create. When I exclaimed in amazement at their beauty, she said Oh! they won’t pay the mortgage! :/ Maybe, maybe not, but we just can’t address art that way, you know?

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  7. I don’t always have time to read all the blogs in my reader – but I’m glad I took the time to read yours this week. Thank you for the reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sara, I don’t know if I should say you should put yourself forward more because you seem to be getting better and better at that. But you should now focus on feeling that you deserve to put yourself forward more. Absolutely beautiful writing. You have such a writing talent. You write so smoothly and effortlessly. Or it seems. Do you work hard at making it seem so effortless.

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    • David, you are quite right. Growing in maturity and getting to know yourself is like peeling the layers of the onion. First of all I had to learn how to put myself out there, and then when I get a hold of that, I need to learn that I deserve to have this writerly life. It’s never ending, this path of self discovery 🙂
      AS for my writing, well. Thank you so much. As you know, it is rare that something that looks smooth and effortless in writing (or anything) actually started out that way :). I do edit, delete and re write, although not fanatically. The thing is though, I really enjoy this type of writing, and it is definitely not a struggle for me (mostly). With personal writing such as this, sometimes my biggest struggle is what to say and what to leave out – because of course, I am writing about real live people, who don’t necessarily like to be written about 🙂

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  9. I love that opening quote. It is SO true. Find the burning ‘yes’ and all the little ‘no’s’ can be overcome. Before I started my 365 photo challenge (day 141) I made a list of the things I wanted to achieve, the burning yeses. I’ve probably gone back to that list about 130 times since then! It really helps. Self doubt plagues all of us, even the very most talented and brilliant. The everyday-ness wears us down. Just keep the ‘yes’ in front of you and you will get through it. Love your blog, inspiration and openness. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Ardys xo
      I found the magic of goal setting this year. The simple act of setting and reviewing goals…is so powerful. I’ve got a couple of friends who check in with me, and that’s powerful too. There’s lots of ways that we can prioritise our creative selves, thank goodness. 365 days of photography – that’s a big commitment…you’re a bit more than a third of the way through. Congratulations! I’m up to day 50 of a 90 day meditation challenge, which is the longest challenge for me so far!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sara you really are the best. I love reading your pages, they are always so damn on the money it’s not funny. You talk my language lady. Love that top quote, love that live at the Apollo bit and love Dallas Clayton, (although I suspect so does most of the world.) Love it all.

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  11. Really enjoyed this, Sara, as always.
    I love your sense of pursuing your passions not only for yourself, but for others who have gone before (and, others who will come after). I often think about that when I am making hard choices and trying to work through the guilt and fear (so as to avoid the grief, anger, and shame … and regret). I think about how I am trying to teach my daughter through my actions, to show her that each of us has to go after what we really want with commitment, ferocity, and also compassion. I want her to do that in her life, to not get bogged down with all the “shoulds.”

    I love all your picks this week – saving some (the videos) for later, but that Best Image is PERFECT!!

    And – happy belated birthday! So glad you had a lovely day & excited for you to attend that next workshop.

    xo
    Jamie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jamie ❤️ it’s lovely to have you visit here as always.
      I tell these stories because I know that it’s not just about me…we all of us process these issues in some way or another. Together we can do it!
      I booked my tickets for the talks and a workshop…and an overnight B&B stay with the Bear 😊 I’ve even arranged a babysitter 🙂 I have learned my lesson (again!)
      The birthday season is finally over thank goodness…rolling on! Enjoy your week, Jamie xo

      Like

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