Thursday, 20 October 2011

As Is

'This Is The Life' Zander exclaimed on arriving in the Chalet by the sea this weekend. 

But imagine my annoyance as the first photo opportunity presented itself - their two playful impish shadows cast upon the wall as the sun rose over the not so distant sea -  and I discovered that though I was giving myself brownie points for remembering the charger for our camera and the camera itself, the memory card was still inside the computer at home after my last upload and this bleeding camera doesn't have internal memory.  Damn!  I felt a little panicky like I wouldn't be able to breathe if I couldn't take pictures and maybe if we'd been staying longer than four days I would have bought another card from the nearest proper town.  But the more rational me that I am glimpsing more often since starting this Mindfulness course thought it through a little more.  I subsequently decided to sit with it the way it was, to try and feel like there's no need to change the way things are, leave them As Is.  I still felt slightly itchy but I traded my photographs for the sense that maybe I'm really starting to get this mindfulness.  A good trade.

 ... these two exclusively small and insignificant words have become my permanent mantra.  Together they are so powerful. 

On looking deeper it turns out the itch that I had to scratch was a creative one, not the need to control the situation.  If I could not take photos I would have to find some other creative outlet and why not?  So the most basic drawing book and a pencil from the post office and plans for an indulgent block of thick watercolour paper and a tray of paints on our return, did the trick.  I sketched roughly as the children imped about

and I painted the seascape through a list of colours that I planned to apply to paper in watery swathes.
icy blue
sky blue
violet haze
moody Prussian blue
azure blue
frothy white
softest driftwood brown

forest green

We were blessed with yet another last hurrah of sunshine, relative warmth and clear blue skies.  Pure joy filled my heart to see the children running naked with beaming smiles in and out of the sea; jumping, splashing, toes sinking into the sand as the sea fairies took them temporarily, staggering back as the sea retreated back down the beach.  Even my boy who was terrified of the sea at first was totally immersed in it's elemental magic and begging for just a little more by the time we left.  And as little pink toes wiggled in and out of the fine ochre sand we ate warm chips whilst squinting at wind farms to the left and the right - barely visible on the horizon but most definitely there.  And we ate scones and tea over looking the very same sea, we played in parks, I meditated much and by night with the bairns in bed Cliff and I sat simply on the sofa nourishing our souls in books till our own bedtime.  Each new day we were greeted by a magnificent sunrise ... 'look at the sea light mummy' Zander said in amazement.

I found power in my own words of affirmation as I cured my boys boys recent fear of dogs.  A friendly border collie came to find out what we were about and Zander enquired as to the dogs keenness.  My quickness to say it was obviously because it liked him had throwing sticks over and over, which the dog was more than happy to return if he'd only throw them one more time!

Combers of the beach we were; retrieving bounties of shiny denim blue muscle shells to make mobiles from.  And soft, smooth drift wood which I've always believed to be lucky ... is it?  I don't know.  We had a natural history lesson as we found small crabs and various parts of much bigger recently deceased crabs.

We watched films and Cliff started to teach Zander to play chess.  We baked bread, pizza, crumbles & our final night's supper was the first roast of the season with all the trimmings - even vegetarian pigs in blankets!

Full of holiday spirit and the urge to playfully parent more I found it in me to play armies with my boy and realised I must honour his wish to play such games more often regardless of my own selfish preferences.  To see the pleasure on his face when I said yes was worth it through and through. 

So here I shamelessly plug my friends chalet that we stayed in: 
Easy to simply exist in and thoughtfully re fitted and decorated with a slight beach hut flavour.  I fell in love instantly and was practically begging Cliff to buy me one too!

Back home we continue to welcome autumn and it's myriad festivals.  Not only is Samhain round the corner but Diwali is too.  Though I am obviously not a Hindu I have long loved this festival for it's colour and light and as Hinduism is often described as a pagan religion and Diwali is roughly the same time as Samhain I like to combine where I can.  It brings another facet to autumn and the way we celebrate and it provides the opportunity to talk of other cultures with the children.  It also brings the excuse to make these moreish Indian sweets ...

And look what arrived in the post today ...

 yes vegan marshmallows! At last we can legitimately enjoy the luxury that is hot chocolate and marshmallows. They were extortionate so will be very special treats for festival days and birthdays me thinks. Or I will have to find a way to make them myself.

Today we've had pumpkin soup ...

And we made an autumnal rainmaker ...

With darker mornings candle lit breakfasts begin again ...

And I must squeeze as many late afternoon fires in as possible before the dark gobbles the late afternoon daylight up completely ...

Autumn also brings the excuse for me to play Jethro Tulls Heavy Horses on constant loop ... I am shamelessly in love with the whole album, it oozes autumn and ye olde english ways and is pure poetry. 

Gaia has taken on a motherly role to her dolls and bears recently; wrapping them in blankets, talking to them sweetly as she tucks them into her bed ... something we've not seen in our little tomboy too often before but something I will be sure to encourage now I know it's there. In fact she's inspired her big brother too ... look at them ....


I am very much trying to live more mindfully in more moments as I catch them through each day.  I try each time my children address me or vie for my attention to say to myself   this moment  ..... and this moment .... and this one too... and it is helping me a lot.  For that is all we have - many many moments and I'll be damned if I am going to miss anymore of them.  I am learning not to procrastinate over actions of the past or daydream over the future.  I am learning not to feed the insatiable desire to try and change the present for all it is not, I'm learning to sit with it and let it be as it is, AS IS.  And I am excited by this revelation.

And though I didn't catch a single holiday moment on camera, I have the negatives for all of them in my mind.

So my little ones, blessings on all your moments - catch them, feel them, then catch the next.  Love you the most, catch you tomorrow X


  1. Wow, what a beautiful post. I love how much sense it makes when we're reminded of mindfulness at the right moment - too often, I remember it too late! I guess it'll come more easily with practice. You've really inspired me today, thank you. And also, where did you get the marshmallows?! Claire xx

  2. Thank you for reading Claire :) The Marshmallows came from they were £4.50 for a 150g bag. Really tasty but at that price it won't be an every day treat ... though Zander has done very well out of me so far since they arrived ... you only live once though hey! X