Monthly Archives: March, 2012

Mindful Visualisation

The idea of a vision board is to collect pictures that inspire you and which represent how you would like your life to be, make them into a collage, and then to look at it often…and it will happen! I’ve heard a lot about vision boards but I’ve never felt much inspired to start cutting up magazines and pasting things onto cardboard – way too messy and time-consuming for this mama! However, I recently read a great article about vision boards in the March issue of Prevention magazine and it occured to me that I could make one using Pinterest. It’s all about visualising your goals and I figure this might be a fun way of thinking through ideas that will help me achieve a more mindful and fulfilling existance in all aspects of my life, now and going forward – marriage, motherhood, career, spirituality and health (in no particular order). I’ll be able to add to my Pinterest vision board at any time and it can also be printed off and made into my laptop screensaver – perfect!

Pinterest is invite only and I’m just waiting for my personal account to invite my bloggy persona 😉 Shouldn’t take long and I’ll be up and pinning. If you’ve made a vision board I’d love to see it, please feel free to link up in the comments. I’ll be building mine in coming weeks and will update here. If you would like to build your own  Pinterest vision board let me know, and I’ll invite you too!

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Friday Travel Photo – Java

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Sunrise near Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

Grateful for…the small things

The other day we took a family walk by the ocean. I had my calorie counter app on, so when we reached the  playpark I took my mobile phone out to end my “workout”. I’d set up a blanket on the grass and my daughter was happily playing, while my husband watched her. More often than not, I’d take the opportunity to have a quick look at Facebook, but this time I resisted. Instead, I lay back on the blanket and stared up through the vast, beautiful branches of a tree. For a moment I thought about taking a photo but that would have defeated the object a little! Instead, I focussed my listening. I could hear the ocean, and so many birds singing, and the wind, and children playing. I listened to my breathing. I felt peaceful and content. Today as well, I’m grateful for the small things.

If you trust in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor, then everything will become easier for you.

~Rainer Maria Rilke~

This post is part of the 52 Weeks of Grateful link-up hosted by Maxabella Loves 

To Waldorfschule, or not to Waldorfschule…

The Steiner (AKA Waldorf) discussion continues. I’ve been attending the evening study group for a couple of weeks now and have listened to some quite mind-boggling concepts e.g. the child’s arms must be correct length to go into Year One at age seven, which taken out of context is quite shall we say challenging; and also some political rants e.g. there is no reason to even step through the doors of the evil Coles. I’ve worked hard on keeping an open mind and have been speaking to many other people too, not just the hardcore extremists – who have by the way been very kind and welcoming, they just sound pretty bonkers to the uninitiated! In study group we are reading Theosophy by Rudolf Steiner, and talking about the spirit world, reincarnation, karma and destiny. All of which is fascinating to me in relation to my personal journey at present, but I am assured that it’s not taught to the children, which I am happy about as I don’t want any kind of beliefs forced on my child.

I’ve been reading about Art Education too, and we’ve also met with the principal, which might sound insane given that our daughter is only 18 months old, but when one plans to take one’s child out of mainstream education before she has even begun, one must be completely comfortable and invested in the process. If Miss M goes to Steiner, she will not attend “preschool” until she is four and a half, nor start primary school until she is seven. She will not learn to read until a little later than that. She will have the same teacher from the age of seven until thirteen… Yup. Hence there is a lot of thought and research involved!

I am also becoming more aware of the potential long-term consequences of this decision for me personally, an aspect of the discussion that had not previously occurred to me. Miss M will be here at home with me until she is four and a half, and then at “preschool” just three days a week until she is seven years old. I will be a stay at home mum well into my forties, and where does that leave my career aspirations?? So much to think about!!!

Friday Travel Photo – Northern Territory

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Northern Territory, Australia

Grateful for…my daughter

Today was 2WW + 2. Confused? I was too until not so long ago. My little girl was conceived on the very day my painstakingly prepared, colour-coded spreadsheet dictated that she should be, on our very first attempt. This time around, however, we’ve had several “2 Week Waits”, which is the gap between between ovulation and finding out if one of my elderly eggs is ready to rock n’ roll. The first few cycles I did a lot of early pregnancy tests i.e. wasted a lot of money! I’m more relaxed / realistic about it all now (at the end of the day I either am or I’m not, and an early test won’t change a thing), and this cycle I hadn’t done any tests, even though I was two days past my due date (very unusual) and feeling pretty darn hopeful. Up until about half an hour ago that is. We could say it’s early days yet, but I’m 38 in a couple of months so time is not exactly on our side, and we have already decided against intervention. Perhaps it is just not meant to be…

I’m so disappointed. But my heart tells me that what is best right now is to focus on what I do have, not on what I don’t.

Today I am, as every other day, grateful beyond measure to have my little daughter in my life.

This post is part of the 52 Weeks of Grateful link-up hosted by Maxabella Loves 

Progress Review

I’ve been on this journey to banish resentment and cultivate an attitude of gratitude for a little over two months now. So I’m thinking it’s time for a review of how things are going in my quest to become a mindful mum.

The resentment is GONE! Ever since I came back from my brief solo trip to the city for the happiness conference I am, well, happy! Of course I still have moments when I think I can’t endure another second of the toddler world I inhabit, and I still have a slight tendency to go mental when I can’t find my keys – I am only human, and I am a SAHM with an 18 month old child! My husband still bugs me now and then, but it is possible that I might bug him a little sometimes too (but surely not? Ha!). Most importantly, I no longer feel resentful toward him. That resentment was eating me up. I had reached a point where I feared deeply for my marriage and for our little family unit. I am so very relieved that I am rid of those destructive feelings.

Nor do I have that underlying feeling of general discontentment that was weighing me down so heavily by the end of last year. Where has it gone??! The fact of the matter is that not much in my life has actually changed. Only my attitude towards it. My husband is the same man he always was, my toddler is still just as demanding as well as a source of great joy, my lifestyle is exactly what it was at the end of last year – I am still a SAHM in a small coastal town, on the mummy circuit. I do a bit of party plan now, which is fun, but that alone would not have been enough of a catalyst for this amount of change.

Going to Sydney allowed me to take a step back and reevaluate my life from a healthy distance, as well as being such a fantastic learning opportunity. When I looked at my life from a completely different perspective, I found that there is so very much to be grateful for and appreciative of. I cannot get the Buddha’s words out of my head: You have no cause for anything but gratitude and joy. I find I remember them over and over again. It is so true and it is often all the kick up the ass I need to get myself back into the right mindset!

I believe the resentment and discontent are gone because I am learning to be a mindful mum. I also know it’s an ongoing process, in fact, an everlasting one. I am excited about the new concepts I’m exploring, such as reincarnation. I’m grateful that I have found these new paths to go down as I simultaneously travel through motherhood, because the responsibility of a mother is so great. I want to give my little girl the firmest and most wonderful foundations in life. I want to be the happiest, most mindful mum I can be, for her. She deserves nothing less than that and I just feel so grateful that my headspace is healthy and open at this precious, vitally important time in the life of my little family.

 One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.

~Ida Scott Taylor~

Friday Travel Photo – Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Grateful for…books

I love reading! At the time I backpacked in Southeast Asia, there was no such thing as an accessible Kindle-type device, so I used to carry at least four books at all times out of fear that I’d run out of reading material. That’s quite a few extra kilos in an already heavy load, but to me it was absolutely essential! Nowadays, I always have three or four books on my bedside table. I can’t imagine a world without books to escape into and learn from. I’d feel utterly bereft!

  • I’m grateful…that my parents taught me to love and respect books.
  • I’m grateful…that I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced a fantastic education, where my love of books and learning was allowed to evolve and flourish over a great many years.
  • I’m grateful…that libraries in this country are free and accessible to all; and that my little girl at just 18 months old is encouraged by our lovely librarians to hand over her own library card after we’ve chosen her books, so that her love of books can start before she’s even read a word herself. That said, we are considering a Steiner education for Miss M, so I am actually currently researching the benefits of her not learning to read until she is about 8 years old. Which, in a world that promotes “My Baby Can Read” DVDs for 4 month olds, is quite a controversial concept. And it’s a tough one for a mama that loves reading as much as this one to get her head around! However, my (completely Steiner-educated) husband didn’t learn to read until he was 8 and it doesn’t seem to have done him any harm…

I feel quite a few Steiner posts coming up! Does your child go to a Steiner School? Do you know any Steiner families?

Receive the child with gratitude
Educate them with love
Let them go forth in freedom.

~Rudolf Steiner~

This post is part of the 52 Weeks of Grateful link-up hosted by Maxabella Loves 

Now is right on time

I found this quote today, via The Letters of Gratitude‘s Twitter feed (I searched for the source and while I discovered Asha Tyson‘s inspirational story, I don’t know where the graphic originated – if you do, please share!).

Since I put myself on this path of mindfulness intention at the beginning of the year I have not so much been searching for answers as gradually and almost without conscious thought opening myself to new ideas and ways of Being. In recent weeks things have been coming together in ways that I just can’t believe are coincidence. For example, I won very expensive tickets to a conference about which I previously knew nothing, which turned out to be organised by a Tibetan Buddhist centre, right when I have been developing a gradual interest in Buddhism, and that just because I randomly came across Buddhism for Mothers on Amazon earlier this year. I was moved and inspired by so many of the speakers and the time away in itself gave me a fantastic opportunity for reflection and resulted in a new appreciation for the life I currently lead.

Upon my return from the conference I experienced a full 2 days of freakishly frequent and sometimes constant déjà vu. It was extremely disconcerting and I am very glad it stopped! But at the same time I had this constant sense not only that I had been here before but that it was absolutely the right place to be. It was a feeling of familiarity that actually gave me a sense of calm alongside the slight anxiety that I was losing my mind. Which was not much helped by a quick google that suggested that I either had a brain tumour, onset of epilespy, or previously untapped psychic ability! A friend suggested that I should not be at all concerned as it clearly meant that I am on the right path, and I am after much thought now inclined to agree with her. It makes sense to me, further encouraged as I am by my current reading – Shirley Maclaine’s Out on a Limb . She certainly does put herself out on a limb to those such as myself who don’t know much about such alternative ways of thinking and being! But, it is certainly preferable to worrying that I have brain tumour, and so I am keeping an open mind and just going with it!

While this current phase of my life is so blessed (by who, or what, I have yet to decide!), a great many shall we say “dark” years went before. I’ve been sober for almost a decade now and I am still often haunted by the time I feel I’ve wasted along the way, not just with regard to my alcoholism per se but to do with relationships, family, finances, and opportunities lost both related to my drinking and otherwise. That’s why I love this quote and I think it really does ring true for me, especially at this time in my life. The point is (yes, I do have a point somewhere in this post) that I have a deep sense that now is where I am absolutely meant to be. I feel myself increasingly drawn to Buddhism. Brought up in a strict Christian household, I have neglected my spiritual side for a great many years. Not any more. It does indeed feel like now is right on time.

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