The fabulous Kat over at I Saw You Dancing has nominated me for this award. How lovely!! Thank you Kat 🙂 I discovered Kat’s blog last year when she was hosting Blogtoberfest, and then in December I also took part in Reverb12. Both wonderful projects, and I can’t wait to see what Kat has in store this year.
In keeping with the requirements of the award as stipulated by Kat, here are seven things you may not know about me:
- I speak Spanish. Probably a bit rusty by now but if I went back (which I would love to do!), I could more than get by.
- Before I became a SAHM I was a finance analyst for a large multinational. Very glad I am that no longer!
- I think I’ll always be a backpacker at heart, and I very much hope to travel a whole lot more in the future.
- I love (British, not Kiwi) Marmite (known as Our Mate here in Australia) and orange marmalade sandwiches. Yum! But perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea.
- I was brought up heavily in the church (of Scotland, then Baptist), and I used to be a born again Christian. Now, I won’t have a bar of it, and I lean toward Buddhism, if anything. I really want to learn more about the Buddhism but it keeps getting put on the back burner, life gets in the way yadda yadda… So, I focus on my Mindfulness and that’s about all the spirituality stuff I can handle right now!
- I’m an alcoholic, 10 years sober.
- I am only 1.9 kilos away from my pre-pregnancy weight, and Miss A is 10 weeks on Friday. Woot!! Via clean eating and (admittedly a lot of) pavement pounding while still allowing myself the occasional treat. Very happy. Alas, I am rather further away from my pre-first-pregnancy weight 😉
My sidebar blogroll lists the blogs that are inspiring me right now. Which blogs inspire you? Please share!
I found today’s #reverb12 prompt very emotive and it really made me think. I love it:
Often we see our life as a humongous journey, and we believe that not only have we not arrived at our far away desired destination, but we also think we must accomplish x, y, and z, before we can declare with satisfaction that we are THERE.
For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare.
Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL.
Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE.
Ten years ago next week I was sitting in my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on a cold and dark midwinter night in a dismal church hall in Glasgow, Scotland. I had reached that rock bottom. Life was hell in the lead up to that first meeting, and hell for a good while after. I was alone and lonely, terrified, and cohabiting with an “out and functioning” alcoholic whom I loved very much but who had no intention of stopping drinking nor of supporting me in my efforts. Needless to say that relationship broke down a few months after I started attended AA meetings. Messy and heartbreaking.
It was a long road back to living.
Ten years later and I have been completely sober for a decade. I’m now living on the East Coast of Australia with a husband that has never seen me drink, and two gorgeous little daughters. Life is not perfect of course, nobody’s life is perfect. But it has a LOT of sunshine in it, on every level. I would not have this life, my husband, my children, had I not gone to that first AA meeting. I don’t go any more, haven’t for many years. But I’m never complacent. I’ll never drink again, and I no longer have any desire to do so.
I am a very, very strong woman. I should remember that more often!!
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!
~ Kalidasa, sanskrit dramatist
Unsurprisingly the practice of meditation comes up a lot when Mindfulness is discussed. I’ve had a bash now and then over the years, with little success. During the initial stages of my recovery from alcoholism (I quit drinking almost ten years ago) I brushed against the idea but having the attention span of a gnat, it really wasn’t for me back then. I focussed instead on AA meetings (in the first months), my long term sessions with my psychologist, and other what I considered to be more “practical” ways of getting better. Then life did get better, but my interest in meditiation had waned. A couple of years later I found myself WWOOFing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) on a small farm in rural NSW that was run by a couple of Buddhist nuns. I tried to meditate again, with them, in a setting that couldn’t have been more conducive unless the Dalai Lama himself had been there, but I guess my heart wasn’t properly in it, and when I left the property, I left my meditative intentions behind too. Later on, work, life, travel occupied me utterly, and then I became a mother…and here I am.
Over the past year, however, my quest to live a more Mindful existence has of course thrown the idea of meditation my way many, many times, especially when I went to the 2012 Happiness Conference in Sydney earlier this year. I keep telling myself I just don’t have the time, or quite frankly the concentration span. But I also keep hearing about how very good it is, and that many people believe that even a little bit at a time can have such great benefits for one’s sense of well-being, health and peace. This morning I started a book by Nicky Arthur called How to be a Happier Mum, and in the first pages, there it was again. I consider myself to be a happy person in general, but apparently, if I commit to meditate for just five small minutes per day for seven days, I will start to feel even happier. Short and simple instructions – how to sit, how to focus, and a few affirmations – are provided and I am assured that this really will make a difference. It’s not two hours on a Himalayan hilltop, but it’s a start! So, I am going to take up the challenge. My first five minutes will begin shortly!
Blogtoberfest 2012, 20/31
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.