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

 

 

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In the zone

I can finally report that I have managed to make progress on my path towards the life I want to live.

I’ve been “taking ten” regularly. (I suffered another blip after my previous post, but I am now on day 6 and
meditating every day) I also managed to get my Beloved to sign up to a 21 day challenge with Deepak Chopra. A meditative journey to enhance relationships. Which he (my beloved) agrees helps us to take time for each other after a hectic day of work and kids. Erego, can only be a good thing.

I’ve created a Pinterest board for a future yoga studio and have 100 ideas of what that business would look like, what it would offer to it’s customers. I’ve even created a questionnaire on Survey Monkey, to try and assess the appetite for such a business in my area. Granted I’ve only had 10 survey responses but have about 50 posts on my Pinterest board. So, some might say that this pursuit is more of a daydream than an end game.

But, to the doubters, I say, yes I am a dreamer. But that’s OK. For many years I have wanted balance in my life but had no idea what that looked like. Now, though, that vision is beginning to crystallise and every day I take another step closer towards it. I’m in no rush (I have been in the past). Because I am enjoying the journey.

For the first time in my life, I am living in the present and look forward to the future. But I am not desperate for something new, for life to move on, to reach my destination.

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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.

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 Healthy Idea for 2013

I’ve been reading a lot of the Big Idea 2013 entries on LinkedIn recently. I particularly liked the post by Gretchen Rubin about Choosing the Bigger Life. In it she describes pinching an idea from her sister, which approaches new years resolutions in a different way.

I’ve tried new years resolutions before, I try them every year. And, without fail, they’re out the window, round the corner, down the street and into the sea before the 12th January. In fact, I penned a little ditty committing myself to my resolutions on the internet 2 years ago – you can read that here. You won’t be surprised to know that it includes re-starting Yoga… needless to say by the end of Jan….

So, back to Gretchen’s idea. She pinched it from her sister, so, I figure I’m safe to pinch it from her.

She chooses a single word or phrase to represent a theme that will overarch the entire year. Like, Free Time or Awareness or Peace or Bigger (which is Gretchen’s theme for 2013). Gretchen does this in addition to making resolutions, I don’t think I’ll bother. Seems a safe bet that it’s a waste of time (for me, personally).

But I have chosen a theme. Healthy.

My big idea for 2013 is to ‘get healthy’. Not in the lose “14 stone in a day!!!” sense. (Anyone not familiar with the work of Peter Kay, should most definitely check him out). But in the sense of balance. Healthy emotionally, healthy financially (wouldn’t that be a boon!), healthy mentally and yes, healthy physically too (eat well, exercise – all the things “I don’t have time for” now).

I’m hoping that with less rigidity and a bigger picture approach, I’ll have more success than I’ve had in the past. But, don’t dismay, one of the best ways to achieve great emotional, mental and physical health is Yoga. And so, I will endeavour – for the gazillionth time – to start practising again!

Evolution/Re-volution

Again, I find myself writing a blog post for the first time in a long time. This time, though, the reason behind the lapse is not laziness or apathy. It’s the complete opposite, in fact. Some weeks ago, I made a conscious decision to take a sabbatical from social media. Here is one of my last Twitter posts:

17 Jun – I’ve decided that with vacation time around the corner and my mood at an all time low, now is a good time to take a sabbatical from Twitter

And this is a copy of an email I sent to my ENTIRE address book on the same day (names have been changed as usual):

Hi All

I’ve had a couple of enquiries about this in the last 24 hours so, thought it probably best to send out a wee email…
I deleted my facebook account. I posted a status saying I was going to and then just did it. I guess it removed my status from people’s timeline when I deleted the account.
I just got fed up with it. And I’m a bit fed up in general, mostly from missing Strawbug and I was beating myself up for checking facebook whilst she’s awake and with me, only to read endless horoscope and mafia games postings (my timeline was full of crap – not from you, i hasten to add – and only now and then did I share messages with people directly)…
Those who know me and love me (i.e. you guys) all have my email address and my phone numbers. So, I decided to revert to “old fashioned” communication (haha, as opposed to “totally ancient” communication – i.e. letter writing!) and start actually talking to people rather than posting a sentence on the internet like a project status report (although, email IS allowed – LOL. one has to wean oneself off gradually!).
Sorry if I sound a a bit grumpy, I am – Strawbug has decided sleep is for wimps and inevitably has ended up in our bed kicking 7 bales of sh*t out of us for the last 2 weeks. So we’re all pretty shattered.
Anyway. I’m trimming back my internet activities, for now, and focusing on the little time I have with my Beloved and Strawbug instead. I hope it will lead to a better work/life/technology balance for us all.
I hope you are all well. We are off on our holibobs for a week, couldn’t have come at a better time!
Speak to you all soon
xxx
2 days earlier, I posted this on my Facebook page (which is my actual account linked to my family and friends, not for my pen name):

15 Jun – I’ve decided to close down my facebook account… But you can contact me in the future by phone or by email. Thanks everyone – stay safe and happy 🙂 xxx

It was the result of what I called at the time, a “mini meltdown”. And, if I’m honest, I would still call it that.

Somewhere between 8th June and the 15th June I became engulfed by a wave of guilt, compounded by a wall of tiredness and a weight of sadness I had only experienced once before.

As a person who has suffered from medical depression (not just the kind that a bottle of wine and a giggle with the girls will cure, but the kind where you can’t sleep, or get out of bed, you can’t look at anyone, speak one word or eat a morsel of food and genuinely want it all to end) I was relieved to find that I consciously recognised that I was at a crossroads. One of the paths led to ending it all and the other, well, I wasn’t sure where that path lead, but my heart and my mind were telling me that it had to be better than the path I had travelled before.

So, I (very swiftly) cut out the distractions and tried to re-focus on my priorities. I have logged in to Twitter once since I started my sabbatical, to respond to a kind message from a kind Twitterer asking if I was OK. And I haven’t been back to Facebook at all. As you can tell, until now, I haven’t blogged either.

Although I still use email and text a lot, I call people more often than I used to. It’s quicker and easier to mail/text but it’s so much nicer to talk. I make a conscious effort to be “present” when I’m with my baby Girl and make the most of the little time that we have together. And my Beloved and I are also trying very hard to communicate and connect more often and more deeply. More difficult than it sounds, with a full time job and an almost 1 year old! We’re still tired, but the quality of our family time is really improving.

The biggest effect my sabbatical has had, is that it has given me time to think long and hard about my priorities, my needs and my wants. And I have come to the conclusion that I can do without the iPhone 5, I can do without the 6 weekly hair highlights and I can do without the 5* luxury breaks if it means I get to spend more time with Strawbug. So, in a couple of months, I’ll hopefully be working part time. Maybe even as little as 3 days per week. And for the remaining 4 days I’ll be a “present” Mummy and a housewife and I can’t wait! My “thinking” (in part, thanks to the recent local riots) has even gone as far as ruminating about moving to an entirely different country where Strawbug can grow up to value knowledge, culture, health and morality over gadgets, trainers, handbags and size zero bodies. But that’s for another time. I’m still mulling it over.

Am I evolving? or am I revolving? Either way, I don’t really care. The net result is bliss.

Finally! I'm blogging for a living

Well sort of…

I’ve managed to convince my boss that an Intranet would be hugely beneficial for the Company because it would a) be informative b) be fun and c) would encourage improved communication. And, per the norm here, if you stick your neck out – you’re it. RESULT! It’s my baby and after weeks of chasing the developer, the structure is ready for population.

The ‘look and feel’ presently leaves a lot to be desired, but I’m not complaining. For the last 6 working days I have been like the proverbial pig, or if you prefer, the cheshire cat. Head down, iPod on, typing away. HR procedures, project processes and hours on end spent writing blogs about this and that. And even more hours trawling the internet for fun stuff to “enthuse” my colleagues and boost morale.

It takes me back to when I was a graduate trainee and my 3rd placement was with the IT Intranet department. I learned basic HTML and spent weeks ‘being creative’ buidling pages upon pages of Intranet info for our Graduate Team and jazzing them up with animated GIFs.

In reality, I was avoiding what I was supposed to be doing as this was far more fun.

And here I am, 10 years later, doing it all over again!

Not that I care. It is a good initiative and just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s not work. This must be what it’s like to do a job you love. (Actually, I already know what that’s like, thanks to my baby girl – yes, I’m a sap, I know).

I’m genuinely excited about this little venture… I just hope everyone else gets excited by it too. Because if it falls on it’s face I may just have to face the fact that I was not born to blog and I may even have to give up blogging for good!

Easy like Sunday morning

This weekend in the UK is a 3 day weekend as we have the May Day Bank Holiday on Monday. Extra weekend days are such a treat! It’s like having 2 Sundays! You get a real shot at winding down and enjoying life.

I recently asked on my Facebook page; “What would be your perfect Sunday?”. I admit the response wasn’t overwhelming! (There were 0 comments, but its early days for the page and only 5 fans so far, so I remain positive for the future). But I have been thinking about how I would spend my perfect Sunday… and indeed whether I will be able to make the time to have a perfect Sunday this weekend.

To me though, the perfect Sunday would be like a perfect any other day of the week. And it would start with having had a really sound sleep the night before…

I’d wake at a reasonable time; not too early, but early enough to enjoy the quiet of the morning, say about 8am? The sun would be shining, the birds would be tweeting and  there would be a lovely fresh summer breeze rippling through the curtains. I can almost smell the freshly cut grass just by picturing the scene.

My Beloved and I would make our way to the garden for breakfast. And somehow, magically, with no-one else in the house, there it would be sitting ready for us. Fresh hot croissants, fresh fruit salad and a pot of really nice coffee. We would read the newspapers, browse the magazines and generally relax. Now, I’d be happy to settle for breakfast in my own garden, but if we were in our garden in our little French property by the sea (a dream of mine… check out My Bucket List) then that really would be the perfect start to the perfect day!

After breakfast, we’d wander around a local farmer’s market and then take a stroll along the beach. Again, most happy for  that to be our own beach here (with internationally renowned art installation, but a little cold and no crashing or bubbling wave sound effects) but if it could be the south of France, Malibu or St.Barts that would be preferable!

Lunch would be light and al fresco. Then I’d get together with all my friends and family for a good old fashioned party. I’m thinking BBQ, a band and one of those raised, square wooden  dance floors they have at southern fairs in the movies.. with lights all around. Of course it would need to be catered, so that everyone could relax and just enjoy… and this would definitely need to be held at our French residence as there’s not enough room in our back yard for all of my family, let alone a dance floor and a hog roast!

The day would end around 11pm (hey, that’s a late night for me), with myself, my Beloved and our little furball all cuddled up in bed with warm milk and a feel good movie… and we wouldn’t have to worry about hangovers or work the next day because in the world of Perfect Days those don’t exist.

Oh and at some point in my perfect day, I’d receive a call from an Internet Mogul offering me mega-sponsorship so that I could give up my job and blog for a living!