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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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.

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).

The Green Eyed Monster

I don’t know if it’s the January blues, or some delayed post natal melancholy, but I feel a little sad today. The feeling has been triggered by the sight of a photo that my BFF published on Facebook last night. In the photo she is glamourous, slender and blonde and tanned, with her two adorable children. She’s on holiday, so there is blue sea and blue sky behind her and it’s very, very sunny. And she is smiling such a beautiful, genuinely happy smile.

Cut to me – as they say in Hollywood – sitting in baggy sweatpants that might walk off me, of their own accord, at any minute now. Dyed dark hair that makes me look even more blue than my natural Scottish skin tone. It’s more than a little peppered with grey, which coupled with the deep set wrinkles and deathly pallor of my face add about 15 years to me. Then there’s the wobbly, podgy, size 15 body, which hasn’t been cared for in months (no, make that years, if we’re being honest). And I’m scowling, a genuinely gloomy scowl.

I’m envious, though I shouldn’t be. She has had the toughest year of her life and she really deserves to have come out the other side with a huge smile on her face. And I love her deeply. She’s my BFF. But I can’t shake the envy.

Envy is a green eyed monster, a monster that’s only concern is with the destruction of its beholder.

I’ve learned though, from many years of psychotherapy and from many more years of managing issues at work, that what looks like the problem is often not the problem at all. I don’t mean to be mysterious, so, I’ll expand. The envy I feel for my BFF’s perfectly tanned, slender and happy life is, as I said earlier, a trigger. Designed by my subconscious to make me think more deeply about something that is actually causing me unhappiness.

I’ve experienced many of these “triggers” in recent years. Some quite major and others more superficial. All of which result in finding an issue around a similar theme; Me.

I’ve just had a tough few months of my own. My Beloved and I have had to work very hard together to get through them. We’ve had significant financial challenges, even greater emotional challenges and toddler challenges that require the diplomatic skills of Kofi Annan. And we’re not out of the tunnel yet. *DING* And there it is…

She’s out of the tunnel, and I desperately want to be too.

Patience is something that no one in my little family unit has much of. Especially me. (Try teaching patience to a 2 year old when you struggle with it yourself!) So, I guess I’ll have to revert to walking the walk… One little step at a time. Today, I’m going to take some time out and meditate. And outside of that, try to practice being present. Enjoy the moments, not long for the future. It won’t be easy, but, I have just re-read I Breathe In, I Breathe Out, on Yoga + Living + Life, and I’m drawing support and inspiration from this simple mantra.

Thank you for reading what has been quite a cathartic post. I feel a little less blue now. If you’re felling sad today, leave me a comment. Maybe we can help each other through it.

Bucket List Version 2.0

Back in 2010, I posted my bucket list. Knowing myself, as I do, I realised that the list would probably change. Nearly 2 years later, and armed with a visual version on Pinterest, I thought it would be interesting to compare the current list with the previous….

My (original) Bucket List*
– Own a house in the South of France, with lots of outside space for kids to run around and not too far from the sea – Still on the list. But have added that I’d like to run it as a retreat for yoga and painting.
– Have kids… for the running around outside of the house! CHECK!
– Spend weeks at a time at said SoF house – Still on the list
– Work from home with flexible hours (i.e. I say when I work, maybe blog for a living!) – CHECK! (not the blogging for a living part, but the working from home, flexible hours, work/life balance)
– See Tigers in India – Still on the list
– Dance at Pineapple Dance Studios (Anyone else loving Louis on Sky1?) – No longer on the list. It seems my love for Louis was in the end, superficial and fleeting. Sorry Louis!
– Go on a mega-luxury blow out holiday somewhere hot – just once – just the two of us – Still on the list, in fact my pin board elaborates with suggestions like Las Vegas or Paris.
– Go skiing, complete with log cabin and roaring log fire (will also need to add ski lessons here!) – Still on the list
– Celebrate my birthday at the Carnival in Rio de Janiero – Still on the list
– Win Strictly Come Dancing (OK, I know you have to be a celeb to get in in the first place, but I might get spotted at Pineapple, you never know!) – Still on the list, have even chosen a dance partner!
– Visit Japan – bullet train, Tokyo, Kyoto (staying in a traditional Ryokan, see a Geisha show and Sumo) – Still on the list
– Go to Paris for the weekend on EuroStar (yes, even though I might spend half my trip sub Channel – as long as it’s 1st class sweetie!) – Still on the list
– Buy something from Cartier – Not on my pinterest list. And reading this has started an internal debate. Can I get back to you on this one?
– Own ruby shoes (real ones… rubies, I mean, not shoes… well shoes as well obviously!) – My baby girl bought me ruby shoes for my first Mothers day. I wore them to my Beloved’s 40th Birthday. They’re the best. I wouldn’t wish for any other pair now. CHECK!
– Charter a yacht and spend a week sailing round the med – Still on the list
– See the Grand Prix at Monaco – Still on the list (but needs to be added to the pin board)
– Take a trip on the Orient Express – Still on the list
– Always be in love (OK, pinched that one from Brooke [Burke] – see previous post – how lovely would that be?!) – Still on the list, at the top, in fact
– Have happy kids that get what they want out of their lives – Still on the list, at the very very top

Well, it looks like I haven’t changed my mind as much as I thought I would. And what really astounds me is that I have checked off 3 things! One of them being the most important and greatest achievements of my life. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself.

And have I added any new items to the list? Of course!

– Go skinny dipping (Yep, uhuh, never done that. Shameful, I know)
– Ballroom dancing in the Tower Ballroom (or any other original ballroom) like Fred & Ginger, beautiful gown, gorgeous jewels, big band… The whole kit and kaboodle experience.
– Have a black and white portrait taken that makes me look like a 1930s Screen Goddess
– Learn to make pottery (this actually should have been on the original list as I’ve been wanting to do this for about 12 years now)
– Take a spiritual retreat on an Indian Ashram

Quite a diverse list, I think you’ll agree. But then that’s me. I always thought I should have been born a Gemini.

Contemplation

The year is drawing to a close. Christmas is within touching distance. And my annual period of contemplation has presented itself ahead of it’s normal ETA.

My mind has wandered often during recent weeks and even more so in recent days. It considers becoming a yoga teacher. It reflects on life as a stay at home mum versus life as a working mum. It (farcically) wonders how it can be more present. It checks out bigger houses in “better” areas that we can’t afford. It even goes as far as imagining relocating to sunnier climes. It contemplates – as it does every year – the future.

Not just my future, my children’s future and the future of the world we live in. As, in my opinion, those three things are inextricably linked. I, like many others across the world, feel a deep deep sadness when I think about the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conneticut. And I am horrified by the seemingly vast number of crimes against children in my own country. Even if it was just one crime, I would still be appalled. And I search my mind, my heart and my soul. How can we keep our children safe? Where can we raise them to ensure that they will have a long, happy and healthy life? And I wish I had foolproof answers. But, I don’t.

There is something about the end of one year and the beginning of the next, that prods my inner dreamer to wake up and make some plans. Before daily routine suppresses its enthusiasm and sends it back into a dark quiet corner somewhere. It strikes me that, this year, I have experienced more endings and beginnings than usual, and that maybe, this is the reason for my process starting early.

Experience has taught me that if I allow my thoughts to find their own path, they usually introduce themselves in illuminated fashion. And so I find myself practising patience (as I often ask Strawbug to do – neither of us are very good at it, I hastened to add), waiting for the big reveal.

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!