Ignite the light

‘Cause there’s a spark in you..

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

– Katy Perry

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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 regular 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 practiced 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 grateful that I am learning.

Namaste x

 

 

Out of the blue

Hello! It’s been a while again, hasn’t it? My bad. Lots going on, and I’ve been trying to prioritise correctly.

Thanks to the 3 Day Nanny and a reward chart, my toddlers behaviour has transformed itself in the last few weeks. And, I’m kind of ashamed to say, so has my own. Ashamed because that means admitting, that previously, my behaviour had been poor.

I can see, now, that I spent several months wallowing in despair. Having 2 toddlers is hard work and can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Instead of taking a deep breath and some positive steps to make things better, I was creating a cycle of sadness and stress. I was making myself and everyone around me, including my babies, downright miserable. No wonder there were daily tantrums. Life was no fun. No fun at all.

My Beloved and I spent a couple of months talking with a relationship specialist. The first few sessions were easy. And afterwards we tried to ensure we made some time for ‘us’. But, I wasn’t feeling any improvement at home. A few weeks ago, though, we had a tough session. We argued. There was genuine anger. But, I think it was a turning point. I think we were starting to get honest.

We continue to meet with our friend, though not so regularly. It turns out we’re not naturally good communicators (which is funny, given the jobs that we do!) and we needed someone to help us just talk to each other.

We’re better now, although still have a way to go. There is still anger some days, there is still frustration. There are still many misunderstandings. But, how we each react to a negative feeling in the other, is beginning to change and we are able to deal with most of these instances quite quickly and move on. (In the past, it would have dragged on for hours, maybe even days).

And I think that is how the ball began to roll…

Feeling more confident in our ability to feel, to express and to deal with emotion without the threat of Armageddon, we were able (I was able) to knock down the walls that were keeping happiness at bay.

And so we started having some fun.

We had my baby girls birthday party with all her little friends. We went on an Outdoors Adventure holiday. We searched for Goldilocks and the 3 bears in the woods. We’ve been swimming. We’ve been on bike rides. We’ve been to the park and fed the ducks. We’ve been to the safari park. We washed the car. The kids have loved it. And we have re-discovered our inner child.

We’re having fun!

And I noticed something.

When the kids are happy, their behaviour is better. Which makes family time less stressful. Which makes us happier. The cycle, is now on an upwards spiral. So, we decided to make the most of it.

We introduced a reward chart 2 weeks ago, some house rules (like Be Kind, Share, Use your manners and Safety 1st). And we’ve tried really hard to stop saying NO! and start following through on the consequences of bad behaviour. But, to be honest, with less ‘nay-saying’ and positive focus on the sticker chart, there’s actually less need for ‘going to your room’. Both kids even managed to give up their dummy’s with only 1 night of major complaints. (Particularly difficult for my 3 year old as we had enabled her to form a very strong dependency on her “dodi”)

So, here we are. Not in the proverbial rose garden. And not with children who behave perfectly 100% of the time. But, a happy family, who love and support each other and are all learning how to deal with the hard stuff, and move on from it, so that we can get back to doing the fun stuff, sooner than later.

We’re out of the blue, and into the sunshine.

Taking Ten

Once again, the mayhem of day to day life has led me from the path I wish to follow. Or should I say, I have used the mayhem as an excuse.

I haven’t blogged, I haven’t taken advantage of the wonderful sunshine we have been experiencing in the UK these last few weeks, I haven’t attended any yoga classes or generally taken any time for ‘path’ activities.

That’s not entirely true. I watched the Horizon programme (The Truth about Personality) and discovered Andy Puddicombe and Headspace. I was inspired. This guy (a former Buddhist monk) is helping people like me (too busy, too stressed, too unmotivated) a way to improve our lives, ourselves, for free! (well initially), with just 10 minutes per day.

I can manage that, I thought. I promptly downloaded the app and off we went on our short journey; 10 minutes for 10 days… that was 8 days ago. I am ashamed to say that I have not even allowed myself to keep that commitment. Is there any hope for me?

I have excuses abound – We took the kids to Scotland for 3 days for a family wedding (too busy, no time to ourselves and poor internet connection), we slept most of Monday as we were exhausted from said weekend (too tired), then our baby girl got sick, and then we got sick (too poorly). But really, none of these are acceptable. If I had really wanted to I could have made myself available for 10 minutes and to be honest, would have greatly benefited from it.

But, yes. There is still hope.

As Andy says, learning to meditate isn’t necessarily easy. And we all encounter obstacles along the way. The first step is recognising that we have done so and gently bringing ourselves back to where we left off.

And so, on my journey towards self improvement, towards improving my quality of life; this morning, I step back up onto the learning curve and start Day 2. With good intention and positive thoughts in my heart, I shall now embark on Take Tw0 of Take10.

Sunshine and Sangria

1 more sleep until we head off on our holiday! By this time tomorrow we’ll be boarding a plane to the beautiful island of Lanzarote!

We’ve never been to Lanzarote before, we’ve never been on holiday with 2 very small, very mobile kids. What an adventure we shall have. I’m terribly excited.

Excited to see the sunshine. Excited to hear the waves. Excited to be warm for a whole week. And excited for date night. (I planned ahead and invited Grandma & Grandad as part time Au Pairs. Am I clever or is that just cheating? Decide for yourself. I don’t really care, we haven’t been on a proper holiday for 2 years and I’m just too bloody excited!!! :-))

Disconnected

Forgive me readers, for I have lapsed. It has been 1 calendar month since my last blog post.

And in my last blog post I shared with you the challenges I (and my family) were wrestling with, due to my having to travel for work lately. Well, the travelling came to an end a couple of weeks ago, expedited (I think) by a case of the Chickenpox in my 2 year old. So, I’m almost back to my happy equilibrium.

I say almost, because I find myself (as I seem to quite regularly, these days) with the need to process a handful of seemingly unconnected thoughts currently bouncing around in my head, in my heart, in my soul, even.

And so, I take to the keyboard, once more, in pursuit of catharsis.

My first thought, is that I am tired. We all are. My 2 year old has had a tough couple of weeks and has been at home with us (see above), my 10 month old still refuses to sleep through the night, work has been crazy, busy and stressful and of course there was the travelling.

You may or may not be familiar with the effects of sleep deprivation, but it pretty much screws up your ability to function on a daily basis and certainly messes with your ability to think straight. Therefor, your normal world view gets skewed into something more akin to a fairground Hall of Mirrors than a direct reflection of reality. And so, to give clear context for the following 4 thoughts, I felt it was necessary to mention this first.

Secondly, my Beloved and I have lapsed in our efforts to spend quality time together and focus on our relationship (i.e. me and him, as opposed to mummy and daddy to 2 young kids, lots of bills to pay and chores to organise). I am just as guilty as he is. I have not taken the opportunity, during the little time we have alone in the evenings on weekdays, to say “hey, why don’t we turn off the TV, put down our phones and listen to some music or just sit and talk. I want to get to know you even better than I do now”. I have not made time or arrangements for date nights, I have not cast my laptop aside and spontaneously called out to him “let’s do lunch! come on, get your coat on, let’s go!”. I have not done any of these things for some time.

Thirdly, I have neglected to take time for myself. I have neglected to shower daily (gross, I know). I have neglected to do my hair. To put on make up. To paint my nails. To do yoga. To breathe in and to breathe out.

And so, I have left myself feeling empty. And it is needless. Because fulfilment is completely within my own control.

What is it that ‘They’ say? “You cannot control all the things that happens in your life, but you can control how you feel about them”. I think ‘They’ are right.

‘They’ also say, “If you don’t like something, change it”.

I need to reconnect with my Beloved, on all levels. I need to reconnect with myself. So, I’m going to get my finger out. I’m going to utilise my (allegedly) legendary organisation skills and make some immediate changes that will take me closer to my 2013 goal, on a personal level.

My first step will be out into the sunshine, to close my eyes and breathe.

A surprising day

It seems I’ve been remiss again, when it comes to regular blog posting. As ever, never enough hours in the day and still trying to find a yoga class that fits the schedule.

Yesterday was a weird day.

My baby boy was back in hospital for yet another test. Let me give you some background; when he was 10 days old he was hospitalised due to a dangerously high temperature. The Doctors knew it was an infection but could only find out what kind by performing multiple tests. Standard procedure dictates that they treat for the worst case scenario until they can rule it out. This is because in a baby that young, every second counts and they don’t want to leave anything to chance. Worst case scenario, by the way, is the big M (meningitis).

Long story short; lots of needles, tubes, invasive testing and 5 days later we had confirmation that it was a urine infection. They sent us home with prophylactic antibiotics and the understanding that they would follow up and check for any damage in 6 months.

Cut to present day. Follow up began a month ago. Urine infections in boys are not do common. in 10 day olds, very rare. So, the Doctors are keen to ensure there are no underlying issues. He’s had ultrasounds, x-rays, tubes, needles and scans – one of which sounded like there was a distinct possibility that he was undergoing the same process as Bruce Banner. And throughout it all, with a few understandable exceptions, he has remained his smiley, giggly, happy little self.

Yesterday, he was very brave. More brave than we were as usual. The process seemed easier. I can’t praise the staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital enough. They seemed to put us all at ease without us really noticing.

So, we had expected a traumatic day and in the end it was just uncomfortable for 20 minutes. And then an unexpected opportunity presented itself. Well, Grandma presented it.

She had changed her shift to finish earlier in case we needed her. And when we didn’t, she came over anyway. She helped settle the kids and stayed a while, sending us out into the night on our own for a little while.

So, we had a proper meal for the first time in ages. A glass of wine and a giggle. We talked about the old days and how good they were. And how, despite having not had a full nights sleep in months, having to juggle full time jobs, 2 kids under 3 and multiple hospital appointments – these are BEST days. Just what we needed.

Thank you Peanut, for being a force for positivity. And thank you Mum. Just thank you. Your love and support are infinite and unconditional. If I can be half the mother to my children that you are to me, I’ll be doing OK 🙂

Up and at them!

I met up with my BFF, yogaswerve, last Friday for a coffee and a chat. I hadn’t seen her for weeks.

I was slightly nervous about seeing her. I didn’t openly admit to her that my green eyed monster was begrudging her less than 2 weeks before. But, she reads my blog, so she probably knew that. And besides, I was feeling marginally more upbeat due to the fact that I’d actually gotten out of the house the day before, I’d also had a shower and put some make up and some heels on. All because I had a rare “on-site” work day.

She brought me flowers. She had sensed via our communications (or perhaps from reading my posts) that I was feeling a bit down. It was so thoughtful. My green eyed monster was shamed!

Talking to her helped a lot. I forced myself to apply perspective to the feelings I was sharing, which made me adjust my own view of my situation. I helped myself. I was a little bit proud of that, I have to say. My friend helped too. She consoled me with the notion that it’s OK to feel a bit poo when you’re tired and worried (and have been for some time) and she also gave me a deadline. I’m allowed to wallow a little but longer, until 31st January.

After that, it’s Up and at them! I’ve to face life with my head up, eyeball to eyeball. And in the words of Maya Angelou,

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

Oh, and then we talked about starting yoga again. And so my quest continues for a healthy 2013. Steps taken so far; 1) short term goal set, 2) yoga classes in local area researched, 3) confirmed, with my Beloved, current location of yoga mat (it’s in the attic).