Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mama Love

What treasures of the season have I found in my garden!

It keeps on giving colour even in the latter half of November ...

In my head I am slowly gathering an image.  Metaphorical and personal.  It's a porch, a raised wooden decked porch, maybe more like a veranda leading from a timber house in the woods.  There's a cliched rocking chair, low Moroccan daybeds covered in myriad rainbow throws and cushions.  Little steps that run down into an imaginary garden. There are tea lights strung in glass jars all around, wind chimes twinkle on the breeze and it's warm with the scent of Jasmine in the air.  It's my sanctuary.

A metaphorical visualisation is unique - mine alone, totally peaceful and safe.  I need this space to run to in my head sometimes to process stuff.  Happily it seems that with mindfulness I have stopped procrastinating so obsessively over everything and started inquiring more gently into the thoughts that pass through my sky on clouds.  I am finding that to acknowledge them and accept their presence is far more productive than to resist them or chase them incessantly.  Once acknowledged they are happy to hover on the periphery and this gives me the space to process them in a more objective way.  Sometimes instantly, sometimes it might be days before I think of them again and then maybe with a conclusion or resolution, or I might find that having acknowledged them and created space they seem quite ridiculous and not at all worth pursuing. 

I'm re-learning that there are other ways I can make myself feel better outside of metaphorical flights of fantasy.  Life, motherhood is at times anything but easy.  We can't run on tanks that are empty, we need an element of self care in our days, as a happy mama = happy children, or rather this is true by it's paradox: an unhappy mama = unhappy children.  It is so hard to put ourselves first, but there are ways of doing it subtly and I was rather happy to discover this week on my mindfulness course that chocolate, yes chocolate, if eaten the right way with the right intention, can very much count as Mama love!  Let me explain ...

If instead of reaching for that bar of G & B I keep hidden and proceed to scoff most of in a crazed manor, when I am feeling exasperated down or just lacking generally, I slowly deliberately consciously take 2 or 3 strips of the magic stuff and actually eat at a pace that I can properly enjoy it at, then I have mindfully treated myself to chocolate.  It's a helpful distraction.

Mulling this over I realise there are myriad things I could do that are not too disruptive even with kids nipping at my ankles.  I could escape outside, the garden will do or if I'm feeling more adventurous we could all skip down to the meadows together.
I could make a fresh juice from whatever fruit and veg lurks unsuspectingly in the fridge, or make a cup of tea and enjoy it in an appreciative way.  I could indulge in music - a favourite CD, I could do my 3 minute breathing space meditation - even whilst standing in the kitchen I can pretend I can't hear the kids or put ear phones in so I actually can't. 
I could go apply a face mask and then make jokes with the kids about how my face might crack if they make me laugh or smile too much; a sure way to get some giggles generated! 

I don't have to reach for chocolate, I could make an ever-so-healthy snack that's going to feel virtuous just to look at.  I could stop and take time to utter a few lines in my head ...

                                                        may I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering, may I grow and develop...

... or read a poem and depending on the time of day pour a glass of wine and attentively sip enjoy.   And when it feels like nothing on that 'all important' to-do list ever gets done I could write a Ta-Da! list ... a list of everything, however small, that has been done so far that day.  Today's would look like this ...

... fed cats, fed kids, dressed kids, dressed myself, washed kids, washed myself, made packed lunches, got to school on time, got to childminders, had cup of tea, did driving test revision, wrote, meditated, had lunch, contemplated dinner, made dinner, did school run ...

Look what I have achieved!  Self care is also not beating myself up for what is not achieved or falling short of my own expectations.  I do not pretend to be a master of this art of self care, but I do think it makes sense.  And it is a valuable skill I want my kids to observe, accept as part of life and learn for themselves.

This MBSR course has taken more commitment and time than any of these small yet significant things.    But it's one of the biggest self care gifts my family and I could have recieved.  I'm not done yet, no sir'ee.  I understand this is a lifelong journey not a quick fix.  It has permeated some levels of my daily life already.  Others where I wish it had, it has not yet.  I have faith though.

A highlight of last week was a whole day of meditation practice at the Buddhist centre on Saturday....

I am here
In this musical silence
These timeless moments.
With this breath
I drink up the energy of common purpose.
Though my mind still wanders off
As all minds do
I wish myself well.

That is mine, but below, this is Oriah Mountain Dreamer's.  It was read to us as the day finished and as I heard it the corners of my mouth curled upwards, my eyes stung a little and something was hard to swallow in my throat ... that be the truth then!

What if there is no need to change?
No need to try and transform yourself
Into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving, more wise?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?

What if the task is simply to unfold?
To become who you already are in your essential nature:
Gentle, compassionate and capable of living fully and passionately present?

What if the question is not
‘Why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be?‘
But ‘Why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?‘
How would this change what you think you have to learn?

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practises that offer us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?
How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait?
How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance? 

It is as my dearest friend told me then 'You will find the answers are inside Rose'.

My Kids warm my heart these colder more wintry days...

I love how Gaia wanted to cuddle up with the cat when we got home from an unexpected sleepover in hospital last Monday night.  She tucked her in so attentively ...

We heard that signature seal bark of croup as we crept to bed so we got everyone up and drove double time up to A & E.  It was scary but I managed to find calm, reassurance and a matter-of-fact manor as I rushed her into the children's cubicles where nurses and doctors pounced on us and medicated her immediately.

More severe than previously she needed 20 mins of adrenalin on the nebuliser as well as oral steroids. And despite my own holistic inclinations, when your kid can't breathe you thank the gods for the wonders of modern medicine and the NHS.  Within an hour the symptoms had all but gone, leaving her exhausted so they kept us in.  We did not sleep  much but she was safe and observed.

Zander is mastering several skills all at once ... drawing...
Writing... He wrote his Christmas list this morning...

Star Wars featured heavily!

Reading ... ok so here he is recounting the story he knows to his sister.  But I was astonished that when I said after much tomfoolery, squabbling and tears, that they were to sit down and read a book and not move whilst I made final school preparations that this is what I found ...

Making people feel good ... he tells me 'Mummy, I have tears in my eyes because you are so beautiful' and at dinner yesterday he beckoned for me to lean over and he whispered in my ear 'Mummy I think I have fallen in love with you' !!!!

In a Star Wars state of mind we created worlds, staged battle training and had bonfire sleepovers...

Countdown has begun, I have started to make winter decorations with salt dough and have started to hang fairy lights to create that grotto feeling required for this time of year as we start to call in the season.

And I am again grateful for what I have, as others who least deserve it suffer so.  Standing in the fire with them isn't easy but it's the best I can do.

Blessings X

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful post Rose, thank you so much for sharing. And your little Zander brought a tear to my eye, truly. We are crawling to the end of a difficult day here, and you have given me a reminder of why we do it.