When I cast my mind back to when my children were a lot younger and I was a lot more tense and stressed, I remember often feeling that whatever I was doing, it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.
My internal dialogue went something like this:
“I don’t want to be hanging washing right now. I wish I didn’t have so much washing to do. What’s that noise? Where is that little one? Oh no, she’s gotten into the kitchen cupboard. Why do I always get interrupted? I’d better go inside and stop her from pulling everything out. Oh, look at the time, it’s almost kindy pick-up time and I needed to get to the shops….”
And so on and so on.
I felt that I was always running from one task to another and not achieving very much. A few different stories were running regarding how I was evaluating my own worth as a mother and housekeeper and then there was this whole other perspective to do with thinking things simply should be different than what they were.
I wanted to do things methodically, calmly, within my time frames and with no interruptions. That was how it worked much of the time I was in the paid workforce. Why wasn’t it happening now?
For many of us, motherhood is the time of our lives we’ve dreamed of being in.
It was for me and then, although I completely adored my children and found being with them mostly enjoyable and fulfilling, there was another part of me that found it hard to be fully present with them and embrace the unpredictability and’ busy-work’ they brought to my life.
Also, what I didn’t understand about myself in those early years was that I still needed to make time for myself every day and to learn more about how I could seek out small pockets of time to do the things that made my heart sing.
What ended up saving my sanity was meditation. I made the time to sit and meditate for thirty minutes each day while my children had their afternoon sleep. It wasn’t easy to do at first but the results were so immediate that I knew it was worth sticking with.
I’ve created a little ten minute audio for you this week to guide you into a deeper awareness of what it is to be fully present with yourself and to help you define a passion or natural talent that lifts your spirits and may end up leading you into your next career or hobby.
I absolutely love helping women get to know themselves and their natural talents and passions better. Take a look here to learn more…
Enjoy the recording and enjoy your day, whatever it may bring.
I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before, from me and countless others…the powerful effect being present (awake, aware, mindful), has in bringing peace, enlightenment and even bliss into our lives.
It’s hard though isn’t it? I’ve been a daily meditator and advocate for mindfulness for years now and yet, and yet… I still often find myself moving mindlessly through my life; dwelling in thoughts, hopes, worries, plans for the future and pre-rehearsed conversations (anyone else do this?), rather than being precisely where I am, doing what I’m doing in that very moment.
A wonderful mantra coined by spiritual teacher, Ram Dass that we can recite when we commence meditating is “Be here now“.
Perhaps we could use this in daily life. When we notice we are distracted, not taking in our surroundings, not really listening to the dear family member right in front of us, whom we profess to love, we could say to ourselves, BE HERE NOW.
Write it bold on a piece of paper and stick it to the fridge.
Be Here Now
Taking a chilly winter swim in a wavy, weedy sea at my favourite beach the other day, I found myself feeling less than thrilled at being in a place I usually revel in. I’d parked my towel, umbrella, shoes and clothes under a stout melaleuca tree on some dry sand. As I dried myself off and enjoyed feeling the sun’s rays for a couple of brief intervals when it broke through the rain clouds, I suddenly found myself looking more closely at this little tree. I actually SAW it properly for the first time, I communicated with it, said hello and thanked it for sheltering me and my stuff. As soon as I did this I noticed the whole tree quiver, grow more vivid in my vision. I felt it acknowledge me in return.
I know, sounds kooky, but this experience felt profound and was a wonderful jolt back into presence, connection with the place I was in and the nature surrounding me. I left the beach with an uplifted heart and a fresh appreciation for our beautiful planet and all her miraculous beings.
Just as in macro photography where we see super-close-ups of tree bark, a leaf or a water droplet on a petal, we can bring this view of the world into our daily lives to enhance our mindfulness and ability to be present.
Simply look more closely:
Look at your finger tips as you hold a pen
Look into a child’s eyes when they are speaking to you
Notice the miracle of water flowing from a tap
Pause to enjoy the sun streaming through a window in the morning
Is that a good start? I’m sure you can think of a million more. Super-heightened awareness is within our grasp in every moment. We need simply to choose it. It really does feel good to be here now <3
There’s been a stripping away of layers of what’s no longer needed.
Clarity has emerged on some long vexing issues and a new confidence and sense of inner strength is blossoming. At least that’s what it feels like… I think, I hope.
I swam in the ocean one morning not long ago and found I was totally, completely present. More than ever before, the water felt invigorating and cleansing. A wave of pure joy washed over me and I felt so, so safe.
It might have had something to do with having not worn bathers on my morning walk and when I couldn’t resist the warm water, I decided to swim in my knickers (naturally hey?). This decision heightened my awareness and made me truly appreciate every second I spent in the water. I’ll admit I was keeping a lookout for innocent passers-by happening across my half nudie swim and this made me giggle. I’m about as far away from being an exhibitionist as you can be and yet actually, I didn’t care, I even sat and sun bathed on a rock for a minute or two before dressing.
This is being over forty, feeling at peace with one’s body and realising it’s no more startling or special or private than anyone else’s. Anyway, I won’t be making a habit of it, winter’s almost here, it just felt like a nice little liberation of my soul and ego-self.
After the swim I didn’t feel like adding wet, sandy feet in shoes to the wet body in clothes, so I walked home barefoot: Over the beach sand and rocks, up the limestone paved, prickly path, up the leafy, rocky, twiggy track to the golf course and along the grass-patched, sandy golf course home.
I winced, minced and grimaced over the ouchy bits and then strode out with more confidence over the grass and sand on the home stretch. What I noticed was with every step, I was looking down to see where my feet would land and what they would make contact with. Do I think about this in sneakers? Not at all. Do I even notice the earth upon which I walk when in shoes? Well yes, a little on bush tracks peppered with rocks and tree roots, but when the walking is easy, that’s when the mind takes over with busy thinking.
This barefoot walk home felt like a really sweet analogy for life: When we slow down and notice the little moments, we are present, absorbed and engaged. Having to notice where I placed my feet to protect them from harm made me feel alert, child-like, free and connected to nature. It felt like I was dwelling in my true and natural home and on my true and natural path.
I’m brewing up a new tagline for my business that ecompasses the shifts people experience when they have sessions with me. I’ve actually come up with about a hundred potential taglines featuring words like; soul, flow, path, natural, true and purpose. But I’m still not sure, I guess I’ll wait a little longer and see what emerges.
Thanks for your continued presence. It inspires me 🙂
Hot crossed buns don’t really agree with my tummy. For the first time this Easter I thought I’d managed to steer clear of those yeasty, fruity, doughy treats until wandering through town on Saturday morning, seeing others walk by with their half-dozen buns, I could no longer resist.
Nobody else in the family enjoys them, I know they’re not good for me, it’s just that hot crossed buns are a fondly remembered part of my childhood Easters. Toasted or warmed in the oven and slathered with butter. It’s that cinnamon and nutmeg aroma as much as anything. Aren’t the scents sometimes the most evocative aspects of any deeply held pleasant memory?
Anyway I ate a couple, felt the not-so-nice effects later on and threw the rest in the bin. So, this post isn’t actually about sticky buns. What I’m wanting to share this week is the complexity of choice in this human experience.
I’ve been re-reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth and enjoying being reminded about presence, awareness and being fully conscious in daily life. Tolle’s writing is so helpful in its simplicity and clarity of message.
What I’ve noticed so much over the years of more fully absorbing the teachings of Tolle, Neale Donald Walsch, Caroline Myss and many others is that the more present I am, the better the choices I make for myself. In Tolle’s words:
“There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now…Life is the dancer, and you are the dance”
Sounds simple huh? It is provided we are prepared to cultivate and then practice being in complete acceptance of every moment, in every moment. Another way of putting it is; saying a great big YES to life no matter what occurs.
The more aware or if you like ‘awake’ we are, the more aligned our choices are with what Life desires for us and then when the proverbial does hit the fan, as it still does even in the lives of the most spiritually advanced souls, we can move that much more swiftly from distress, shock, grief, anger or victim-hood into acceptance and grace-filled forgiveness.
When we live from a foundation of peace with all, and the understanding that our inner wisdom is there to guide us in every moment to our best physical, emotional and mental function, life gets a whole lot simpler and much more enjoyable.
Coming back to choice now, what exactly is it that leads us to repeatedly make poor choices for our health, finances, relationships, sanity and general sense of well-being? I think it’s many things and one thing. The many things first:
Self-sabotage related to fear of failure or success
Unconscious, inherited behaviours learnt in childhood
Using the mind to rationalise the choice or blame others for it, thereby minimising or explaining away its ill-effects
Choosing to fill life with distractions, complaints, criticism and excuses rather than choosing to be responsible for one’s own happiness.
Now the one thing:
Not being fully present and embodied in the physicality, truth and divine potential of thehuman experience.
My hot crossed bun episode is just one tiny example of how I’m still on my learner’s permit with this stuff. Ah well, here’s to the journey ahead.
Want to share it with me? Learning’s easier in a group 🙂
So much has come to the surface to be sorted, reviewed, re-filed and re-leased.
The planetary influences of Mercury in retrograde during February along with Venus being absent from our night sky for around six weeks has supported much soul-searching, truth-seeing and bulls**t-dumping for us all.
The new moon on Friday saw many of us reach a culmination or end-of-process point where clarity was achieved and the pathway forward was revealed. Well, not so much revealed in full, but your next step may have been hinted at. And in the early hours of Thursday morning, Venus rose triumphantly in the east, righting our sense of balance around love and money.
There was a very strong quality of metaphorical death and re-birth around this particular new moon. I felt it intensely all last week. How did you fare?
The pace of change on offer may be feeling kind of hard to keep up with, particularly when ‘normal’ life must go on. Although, seeing this pretty sunset last night while dinner preparations were underway, was a lovely moment of flow for me. I saw the clouds forming before the sun dipped below the trees and I said: “It’s going to be a lovely sunset tonight.”
A few moments later I left the salad beginnings on the chopping board and went outside on the balcony to take a look.
About ten minutes later while standing at the kitchen sink washing some dishes I saw that the sunset had changed from golden orange to hot pink and rushed outside to capture it.
This simple sunset got me thinking. Change is occurring all around us in our natural world in every moment of every day and yet we often resist change when it happens in a human-shaped way.
Trees grow, leaves go brown and fall from the branch, insects hatch, a kookaburra – in view of my desk – swoops to the ground to snare a lizard, a kangaroo hit by a car lies dead on the roadside. Life, death, birth, ageing, illness, decay, pro-creation, it’s all happening all the time, right under our noses.
What’s true for me now, more than ever before, is that my ability to deceive myself about what actually matters in my life, what is working, what is good, what could be better and how much I am responsible for creating my reality, has dropped away and died. That’s a good thing because to live in illusion or is it delusion, about one’s life is to miss out on being present and aware of the life happening all around us and within us as well.
The sunset of last night has passed and will never be again. I’m glad that I paused to take it in and say “Aaah”.
If you want to see a thing of beauty, get up early tomorrow morning, around 5.00am. Look to the east and witness the beauty of bright sparkly Venus rising to shine briefly before being upstaged by the sun just an hour or so later. A little miracle of life to be enjoyed and savoured.
On the walk across the golf course to school this morning, my nine year-old daughter asked: “Mum, why do you meditate?”
My reply: “Well, it makes me more peaceful and calm. Also, it helps me to know myself better and become clearer about how I want to live my life, rather than just rushing around all day focused on what I have to do”.
“Hmmm” she said. “I’m already peaceful, sorta, well not really, but I’m happy (looking up at me with a funny grin).”
We had a little giggle at this because ‘peaceful’ is not a word either of us would often associate with this high energy, singing and dancing, extroverted, firecracker of a little girl. But yes, she is mostly a pretty happy child.
And I guess, for the most part, I’m a pretty happy adult. It’s just that since leaving childhood, I seem to have developed some not so helpful habits when it comes to being present, mindful, conscious and focused each day.
One of these is multi-tasking. Are you aware of how often in your day you are trying to do more than one thing at a time? Also, are you aware of how sometimes doing more than one thing at a time undermines your enjoyment of both activities?
In my assessment, some multi-tasking works and some doesn’t. It’s all a matter of being aware of how mindful you feel when combining activities and how you feel at the end of each day when you do it a lot.
For example, this morning I enjoyed listening to Dee Walllace on Masterworks Healing as I folded and hung washing indoors. This type of multi-tasking feels fine to me as I can remain calm and present when I do it.
A not so healthy habit I recently broke was reading while eating. When I did this, I found my posture became hunched, my abdomen was tense and I wasn’t really conscious of what I was putting in my mouth. I think conversing while eating is fine (my husband is always telling me off for talking with my mouth full). Reading feels different I think because it takes your mind away from the present moment and distracts you from enjoying the food. But hey, maybe that’s just me.
The bottom line is, when we try to do too much, we feel stressed and the notion that we are more productive the more balls we can juggle through our day, can actually be a bit of an illusion. Slowing everything down allows us to see that a happy life is not about getting through the washing so we can do something more fun or about eating breakfast while reading a magazine because we’ve killed two birds with one stone (but probably enjoyed neither).
This is what I know about myself: I can’t listen to an interview and write emails or a blog simultaneously. I can’t meditate and compile a shopping list simultaneously and I can’t truly taste my morning cup of tea unless I sit down to drink it instead of sipping it while standing at the kitchen bench filling lunch boxes.
What multi-tasking habits would you like to break? I love to hear from you…