Love what you have

Today I begin a new chapter. A complete change of pace. And I can’t wait!

For the last 9 months I’ve been travelling weekly with work. It’s had an impact on my kids. It’s had an impact on me. In both positive and negative ways. So, a short while ago, I decided (with the support of my incredible partner – have to say that, because he’s letting me do this… to be fair, he is actually incredible anyway) I digress, yet again…

I decided to take the summer off! Yep, you heard right. 6 weeks summer holiday! It’s like being back at school. The last time I had a 6 week summer break? 1996. That’s 21 years! (How was that 21 years ago? 50 years ago was 1950, right?!?)

6 weeks with my gorgeous babies. 

I’m imagining lots of laughter, hugs, family yoga, impeccable zen-like behaviour (all 3 of us ­čśť) and memories made in adventure after adventure!

You can bet that the reality will be very different! But as we grow and learn together, the memories we make, will light up my heart for years to come. 


And if all else fails, there’s always Grandma! ­čśé

The Port

6 months since my last post… and I’ll be honest with you, my most recent┬áposts have been few and far between.

It’s been a tough year for me. Love has been difficult. Love for my partner, love for life and love for myself. For 7 months I navigated tormenting waters; with a lot of support, both personal and professional. About a month ago I┬áreached a calm and sheltered port in my heart, from where I could (thankfully) plan the next part of my journey with openness, positivity and love.

But I haven’t done any planning. I haven’t moved forward one step from that place. At best, I’m still on the boat. I may have even started to float back out to sea.

Maybe I’m apathetic. Maybe I just feel like I need a break from the ‘thinking’, the ‘working’, the ‘navigating’. But that’s how I got into those waters in the first place. Being apathetic and/or refusing to ‘work’.

I made a commitment to my partner in that quiet, sunny, beautiful port. To ‘show up’ every day, to be on our Team and to always ‘do the hard work’. I haven’t kept my promises. I’ve let him down. I’ve let us down. I’ve let myself down.

I tell him often that he needs to look after himself, love himself, find his happiness so that we can look after each other, love each other and find happiness together as a couple and as a family. But I have not been ‘walking the walk’. I have focused on our relationship, on our family, and now on nothing. Forgetting about myself in the process.

I need to get out my oars (fresh air, meditation, avocados, creative endeavours and of course, yoga!), row my boat back to port and show-the-hell-up to my life.

 

Matsui Mix Tape

There are certain smells, sounds and tastes that can literally transport you back in time. For instance, when the weather is sunny but cold and the streets are quiet, it reminds me of home. Because home, to me, is a place my family moved to when I was 14 years old. We moved in December. It was cold, but dry and sunny (I previously lived in a place which was quite ‘dreich‘) and the streets where we lived were typically suburban, and a little quieter than I was used to.

Between the ages of 14 and 16, I was starting to think about boys, about life, about the future… I was given a Matsui Stereo System for Christmas. I had my own bedroom for the first time in my life and had chosen baby blue and white pin stripe wallpaper, white bed sheets (I still always have white bed sheets) and wooden floors with a white and blue IKEA rug (very matchy-matchy).

I would spend hours in my room staring out of the window, thinking, dreaming, self-analysing and having imaginary conversations with people (usually boys that I liked but who were in love with my friend). I often stayed up late to listen to the American Chart Show (my musical taste hasn’t always been eclectic – in my earlier years I was heavily influenced by time spent living near Detroit as a child… in fact, that influence reached far further than music… and still does to some extent).

I still happily participate in all of these behaviours when I have time on my hands ­čÖé

Anyway, back to the post in hand – feeling very nostalgic recently for those halcyon days of innocence, when the fate of my entire world depended on whether a boy would actually look at me or not, I made a mix tape! Well, it’s an iTunes playlist, but it would have been a mix tape if I still had my Matsui Stereo. And I thought, I’d share the first 3 songs with you, because they were (by a long stretch) the most played.

When I hear them, I close my eyes and I’m back in my room, looking out of the window. I can feel the floor beneath my feet, I can see the garden from my window, the weather looks cold but sunny. It is quiet (apart from the music), and my soul is smiling.

I hope you enjoy the mix as much as I do!

Matsui Mix Tape

  1. Tender Love – Force M.D.’s
  2. The Flame – Cheap Trick
  3. If You Were Here Tonight – Alexander O’Neal

The Value of Friends

137 days since my last post… Must do better.

I’m thinking about the value of good friends and good friendships as I travel home to my family this Sunday morning. I’ve just met my long time BFF for a whirlwind ‘me time’ break. She lives on the opposite side of the country. So, we meet in the middle.

She too is a working mum of two young kids and we know each other, on a level that only someone you have known for 30 years can. 

Her kids are a little older than mine so, I often look to her for validation and re-assurance. To be honest, I was doing that for many years before the kids came along. Mostly I look to her to tell me I’m not crazy, I’m not alone and we’re all in the same boat. Which she often does. And when she doesn’t, and tells me to get a grip, I know I really do need to. Because I totally trust her judgement.

But it’s not just the friends you make in your formative years that can be invaluable.

I think I’m lucky. I have a small number of close friends. Most of whom I don’t see or speak to often, but do get to catch up with once or twice a year. But, when we see each other, we pick up where we left off. And so, “I don’t need new any new besties” (as a friend of mine recently said). 

But in the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to meet a couple of new, really good friends. People who also validate that I’m not crazy, I’m not alone and we’re all in the same boat. And people who, if they told me to get a grip, I’d know I need to stop being a Drama Queen and do so.

My eldest started school this September, it was an up and down half term. She took longer to settle than we had all expected, her included. But she seems to be in a better place now. The process has been stressful, but has been eased considerably by the ladies in my life who I am luck to call my friends. Old and new.

Often times, in life, the hardest part of a problem is admitting it to yourself and to others. But, almost always, sharing the problem lightens the load.

Good friends are to be treasured. Value them. Talk to them. It helps. Always.

And there may be tears, there will very likely be some hugs. But, I guarantee you at some point, there will be laughter again.

  

Back on the wagon… again.

I’ve started meditating again. I’m 4 days into daily practice.

I’m craving yoga. I’m craving fresh air. I’m craving sunshine. I’m craving clean eating. I’m craving creativity. I’m craving balance.

This is not what’s supposed to happen, is it? Meditation is supposed to help us engage in the present. Be comfortable in our ‘now’.

In fairness though – I’ve been craving sunshine for a few weeks now. And my┬áregular mental and emotional ‘stock take’ in January, didn’t really happen this year (Mostly because we moved home just before Christmas and so, I was kept busy decorating, settling and enjoying ‘rooting’ us all down) So, maybe this is just my annual process catching up.

Or maybe, daily practice is already bringing about clarity. Clarity of what I need.

Work has been busy and stressful. I have been eating really badly for, I don’t know how long but, a long time. I haven’t┬ápracticed yoga since November. I sit at my desk all day with hardly any breaks. I rarely venture out from my home unless dropping the kids off at day care (I work from home). My life is pretty much the opposite of the things I crave…

But, at least daily meditation is a start. Fresh air is easy to get (tea break in the garden anyone?) and I can eat better with a bit of will power. Yoga practice is also within my own gift.

And so the cycle begins again. Onwards and upwards. One day, this will be a way of life and not a wagon I have to keep climbing back on to. But, I’m not going to beat myself up. I am grateful that each time I fall off, I recognise how to help myself a little sooner than the last time. And I am┬ágrateful that I am learning.

Namaste x

 

 

36 Hours in Madrid

It’s Monday morning. 7am. I’m on a train hurtling towards London. In 2 hours I’ll be in our Capital city. Work beckons.

Only 2 days ago, I was on a plane, similar time of day. 2 hours later I was in Spain’s Capital city. We got home at Midnight (7 hours ago) having spent 36 hours in Madrid.

If you haven’t been to Madrid (this was our first time), it is a beautiful, buzzy place. It is at once busy and laid back. So many people, meandering along the wide streets, talking at 100mph to their companions with animated arms and hands.

Crowded cafes where people squeeze in around tiny tables savouring wine, coffee, tapas and conversation for hours at a time.

We got sore feet from walking, we ate far too much, drank quite a bit and slept all night long until 9am on Sunday. (9am!! That is unheard of in our house, but you’ve probably guessed by now that it was a kid-free weekend – also very rare in our house)

Mostly though, we tried to soak up the atmosphere. We sat and watched. We talked. We tried to slow life down…

Things I will remember about Madrid;

1. There are a lot of antique coin shops (still not sure why)
2. There are also many many ham museums (Museo de Jamon – for eating rather than looking, but confusing at first)
3. The food is delicious
4. The city itself is aesthetically stunning
5. It is possible to slow down in one of the busiest cities in the world, and so it must be possible to slow down and be present in the rush of day-to-day life.

Namaste x

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Sweet Nostalgia

Continuing yesterday’s sweet nostalgic theme…

Take a walk with me down memory lane. To a time when I would stay awake into the wee small hours of the night to listen to Casey Kasem present the American Top 40 countdown from all the way across the pond, just to here this….

Blissful Daydreaming

During a long drive home from a work meeting yesterday, I heard a song on the radio that, with the first 6 notes, transported me back to my teenage years.

It was the most incredible feeling. Incredibly real. I could feel what it felt like to be teen aged me. I immediately saw my bedroom, pale blue & white striped wallpaper. My Matsui stereo system in the corner. This song was playing on the radio. I was probably about 14 or 15 at the time. I was daydreaming about a boy. Not sure which one… it would change every few months.

It was a time of beautiful innocence. I genuinely thought I was so very mature and that I knew it all. Looking back, I knew nothing. I especially did not know how lucky I was to be in that state of innocence, with my whole life, and all of its potential, ahead of me.

Click below to hear the song. May it transport you into a state of blissful daydreaming…

 

 

Limbo

Another few busy months have passed. We sold our home, and two weeks before the move date the people who we were buying from pulled out of the sale. So we had to find a rental. Quickly!

But the move itself went fairly smoothly and we’re temporarily set up in┬á a really lovely house with a huge garden (that our kids LOVE). But, I still feel like I’m in limbo.

As I was writing the sentence above, I suddenly wondered what Limbo meant. I had always thought it was just that you were waiting in a nothingness, where nothing was happening. Kind of floating in a sea of nothing.

Here’s what wikipedia says:

In the theology of the Catholic Church, Limbo (Latin limbus, edge or boundary, referring to the “edge” of Hell) is a speculative idea about the afterlife condition of those who die in Original Sin without being assigned to the Hell of the Damned.

Well… there you have it. Waiting, yes. Nothingness, not exactly. Not sure that I’m at the edge of actual ‘Hell’, but I do feel on edge and waiting for anything is my own personal hell. So, I guess “limbo” still fits.

(Just as an aside – does anyone recognise this language: “Kal─▒c─▒ Ba─člant─▒:” I just hit save and my screen is now in this language – sorry, I digress… as usual…)

So, back here in limbo land, I’m trying to figure out whether to take control and force a change or to let life take it’s course, enjoy the moments and accept whatever presents itself to me. I haven’t had this dilemma for a while. Before I had my kids I was a control freak. I would never have considered the second option. But, the biggest thing that my kids have taught me is how to go with flow. That is how I became interested in meditation and how I re-engaged my love of yoga (and no, before you ask, I’m STILL not practicing regularly… either of them).┬á (Argh! I wish I knew what save was in this new language, keep your fingers crossed I don’t lose everything I’m writing here!…digressing again, sorry)

I know I should be rolling out my mat, eating more cleanly, taking 20 minutes out per day to just… be. All of these things will bring me the calmness and clarity that will help me understand the crux of issue. I know there’s an issue because I want to go on holiday, I want to move to Australia or California, I want to buy a 50’s house and develop it into a modern mansion, I want to open a yoga studio, I want to be a stay at home mummy, I want to buy a grand old Victorian villa, I want to work in an actual office with other people and wear designer suits and killer heels… (and by the way, I don’t have the funds to do any of these things)… get the picture?

Grrrr! I’m my own worst enemy.

One day at a time… today I will make time to meditate (and maybe buy a lottery ticket!)