Letting The Light In

Boys.jpg

When I was a toddler I rode my three wheel push-trike directly into a wall and split my head open. The realisation this week that I’d never pictured myself beyond the age of about 45, hit me just about as hard as that.

Forty. Five.

I’m currently two months shy of my 40th birthday (I’m still not sure how that is even actually possible, but I digress). That’d give me just five more years. So, as the cool kids say, “Am I living my best life?!”

The answer, sadly, is no.

These last twelve months have been the kind of blur you experience when trying to recall events the morning after a big night out. I KNOW I’ve been doing heaps of “stuff”…but ask me what that “stuff” was and I’m sketchy as hell. My life feels almost all consumed by tasks that get me from A to B. That keep the lights on. And if I’m honest, tasks that benefit a whole lot of other people, moreso than they do me.

I’m not one to '“give up”…ever. So if I’m set a task, I get it done. If I take something on, I finish it. If I commit - I’m all in. To me, failure is not an option….and to break that down further…to me, admitting that something is “too much for me” equates to said failure. So if I need to use the entire 24 hours in a day in order to keep my promises and fulfill my commitments - then damn it, I will do it.

And that my friends, is how I ended up where I am today. Reflecting on a year or more spent literally chasing from one thing to the next, just to keep the wheels in motion.

If I had to choose the most important thing in the world to me, it would be seeing my boys happy. Everything I do is driven by that core wish. EVERYTHING. And there’s nothing in the world that recharges me more than the sunshine that comes from hearing their laughter, seeing their confidence shine through, or feeling the tightness of their hugs.

This last year, the space for sunshine has been reduced to such tiny windows, and I think this is where the emptiness starts to creep in. The balance between the “doing” and the “being” has been so far thrown out, and it needs to change. It is so important to me that I am there…fully there…breathing in all these moments with my boys. It is never a chore to me to go to their events, to put together their costumes, to take them to see their friends, to watch their sports. It’s actually one of the greatest sources of my own joy and happiness. That is why I find ways to make sure I fit them all in (regardless of how crazy my work is - I’m like the tetris master of making shit fit). BUT, and here’s the big BUT….the other stuff has me so exhausted, so physically and mentally drained (it’s honestly a circus, but that’s a whole other story for another time) that I am not able to be fully present when these windows present themselves. And that sux.

And all of this is why I need to put the brakes on. The most important thing to me is clearly NOT completely burning myself out just so that I can say I didn’t “fail”. Living my “best life” is making sure that I open up the windows ALL the way to let as much sunshine in as possible. If that means asking for a little more help, then I’m going to ask for it. If that means saying no more, then I’m going to do it. If it means swallowing my Scottish pride at times, then so be it.

If I really did only have five years left to live (which as a side note I don’t. I’m now actively working on an imagination that sees me live well beyond 45 years!)…I know the changes I would make. Do you?

Posted on November 23, 2018 .

Scars

 Quote: S.C. Lourie

Quote: S.C. Lourie

"One day I realised I had scars in the shape of wings" ~ S.C Lourie

Scars carved by the sharpened edges of misspoken words.  Web-like fissures that crawl and spread across heart and soul at the very mention of a name, a time, a memory.  These are the boundaries crossed without consent.  The severed ties at another's hands.  The fractured family portraits.  These are the connections you could not meet.  The support that never rose up.  The needs that went unanswered.  These are the mistakes we let define us.  The choices we can't unmake.  The dreams we let die.  These are the hardened stones of unshed tears. The silent prayers so loud you can't think straight.  The words you never let dance off your tongue.

These form the "scars in the shape of wings". 

There are glass shards inside me, trying to pierce their way out.  Trying to help me heal.  Trying to make their mark.  I'm not there yet.  I can't see through them.  I can't see the lesson or the blessing on the other side.  They're opaque and cloudy; tarnished by fears, regrets, what ifs and whys. 

I know that the time will come.  When the glass becomes clear.  When the flesh gives way, as the pain breaks through.  I know, because I've been there before.  I know because I have the scars.  

"Scars in the shape of wings".

It is our scars that give us flight.  That make us fight harder, live bigger, feel deeper.  The lessons in the sorrows that if allowed, will blossom into gratitude.  Gratitude for the awareness and the knowing that comes from living and breathing through that which we thought would destroy us.  It is this wonderful, colourful tapestry of the human experience that gives us wings.

Posted on July 9, 2018 .

New Beginnings - New Endings

MAMA PYJAMA BLOG.jpg

2017 a year of new beginnings; a continued year of endings.

This was the year I forged ahead with my new energy healing business; throwing myself blind into the unknown.  With every new person I met, I saw aspects of my life reflected back at me.  The same relationship dynamics as I had personally experienced both past and present.  Personalities and memories, thoughts and feelings, all so familiar that if I closed my eyes, I'd have sworn I was sharing the room with a family member or friend...and in some cases an alternate version of myself.  With every space I created for others to be, to explore, to heal...I discovered raw aspects of myself that were seeking the light and love they themselves needed in order to resolve. 

This year I also returned to work as a project manager.  This time in the private sector, and without the 'family' of support from my previous life.  To say this was a tough decision for me, would be an understatement.  However, it was the right one for me and I know that.  Not for the physical act of what the work involved, but for what it represented for me internally, and for the lessons and opportunities it offered me for emotional growth and my ability to self-support.   

2017 saw more new friendships born, than in the last 17 years of my life.  A whole new community of like-minded, soul-supporting friendships that have nurtured me in ways I am sure they don't even realise.  Inevitably, life's yin yang propensity has meant the slow and steady letting go of old friendships.  It is these moments where the internal reality can differ so greatly from the external.

Looking at me from the outside, you might see me walking confidently through life, backing myself and my decisions, throwing every last ounce of my being into pursuing my dreams, whilst doing my best to support my young family.  Always with a half dozen balls in the air; most of the time looking like I have things under control.

Internally though it is often a very different picture.  A lot of the time, I am just focusing on keeping one foot in front of the other.  At times, it's like I'm a cd, stuck skipping in the stereo at track 2 when my physical existence has moved well forward to track 8.  Caught ruminating on past experiences, feelings, hurts, losses.  It can take tremendous strength to break the cycle.  To hit the button.  But sometimes you've just got to eject, remove, and restart again where you want to be; and hope like hell that the disc keeps playing forward.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could somehow reach that fluid state of being, where you could move freely between past and present?  Peaceful reflection. Knowing.  Faith.  Trust and understanding of why all that was, was; and all that will be will be.  Imagine an existence where your physical and emotional state were in complete alignment.

For the last couple of years, my external and internal states have been in disarray.  Chasing each other's tails, wrestling with each other, trying to pull the other forward or back.  So, here's to 2018 being the year where both states begin to align.  Perhaps a slowing of the physical, to allow space for the emotional to come to meet it?  That's my resolution for the New Year; and I wish you all the space, opportunity and strength to do the same.   

xo

Posted on January 1, 2018 .

Change

Pheonix  Rising by Kellie Turtu

I've learnt what can bring me to my knees. I've learnt what sets fire to my soul.  Friends have become strangers, and strangers, friends.  In the blink of the eye, a lot can change.

Change.   It swirls around us constantly. Sometimes a whirlwind; sometimes a rip tide hiding beneath the surface; sometimes a gentle autumn breeze gently lifting the leaves at our feet.  Change...it's necessary...it's beautiful...but it can be brutal.  

In the midst of change we seek consistency.  Something that'll keep us anchored as we weather the storm around us.  Sometimes we cling tight to the edge of the very walls that are breaking down around us.  Other times, we bunker down and immerse ourselves in memories; imagination; what ifs.  And then there are the times when we throw all our wellbeing and happiness into the hands of other people or other things.  "If I just have this, then I can be happy"...

And no matter what you do and how you react - the world keeps turning, with or without you on board.  Life proceeds.  Sometimes you're dropped to your knees, frozen and broken. Stuck in the centre of your every day world whilst people, places and moments swirl around you; a blur of normality.  Sometimes the glass shards of unshed tears masquerade as glittery sparkles in your eyes, as you soldier on in silence. Other times, change brings relief, excitement, passion, energy - and you run full force with the beat of your own heart keeping a steady, solid pace beneath your feet.  

Be grateful for those who journey alongside you; whose waves of change rise and fall in time with yours. Understand the importance of those who provide a consistent port for you to call home. Without them life would be lonely, our experiences less rich, and the tough times - well they'd be a whole lot tougher.  I absolutely believe that the secret to knowing ourselves, and the fundamental purpose of life, is found in the relationships and connections we build with others. By all means build bigger tables, open your doors - and in every opportunity that presents itself, give love. 

But if I've learnt anything through the process of change, it is that YOU are your one constant.  Everyone and everything is an infinite state of change.   With every breath you take, you yourself are changing.  But from your first until your last, there has been one constant.  You - the ever growing, ever changing pilgrim on a journey that no other soul has ever taken or ever will.  So nurture this relationship as much as you nurture those you have with others.  Invest in yourself.  Trust that you have everything you could ever need already inside you. And remember that we are ALL pilgrims, and whilst our journeys may intertwine, we each must take responsibility for our own happiness.

Posted on August 6, 2017 .

No Mud, No Lotus

Mama Pyjama Mud Lotus

I've been going through a lot of changes recently, experiencing significant emotional shifts and dealing with many internal conflicts.  I don't feel I need to go into specifics, so will suffice to say that we all go through these periods in life.  Whether it's financial stresses, relationship breakdowns, deaths, career changes, childhood traumas, lifestyle shifts...there's one thing they all have in common. 

They all transform us.

Sometimes the transformation is subtle, with very little pain involved.  Sometimes the transformation is quick, unexpected, yet highly impactful.  Sometimes it's drawn out and painful, like a slow dripping tap upon an open wound.  These are the types of transformations that you think you're never going to survive.  That you couldn't possibly come out of in one piece. 

But, if you're sitting here reading this, you're proof that we always do.  We get through it.  No matter what life throws at us; we always manage to come out the other side.

My life feels like one big metaphor of late.  Twice in the last fortnight my septic system has overflown.  Just like the crap in my life.  Just like the emotions I've kept bottled for so very, very long. 

And then this last weekend, I find myself literally stuck in the mud (at Perth's "Miss Muddy" event).  I'm lying face down, trying to crawl through a pit of mud beneath a cargo net, being sucked down into the mud with the force of quick sand.  I like to think I'm pretty strong, and reasonably athletic (ok that's a stretch)...but at one point I felt like I couldn't possibly go on.  I felt so stuck.  I was exhausted.  The type of fatigue where you feel like every single muscle in your body has just collapsed. 

I looked over at my friend and for a second I felt like, "Dude, I'm seriously going to die in this mud pit.  I am never getting out"!  But then I saw her face (and I saw her struggle too) and it made me laugh (proof that I'm a top friend).  That laugh you do when you're like, "I've got one tiny, minuscule bit of energy left in my body and I'm going to use it to pull that weird, opened mouth silent laughing face where only a squeak or a snort is going to manage to sneak out before my neck collapses and I face plant into the mud" kinda laugh.  So I did, and she did, and with that little ray of sunshine and light I managed to pull my arm out of the mud and drag my body the remaining two metres to come out the other side. 

Mama Pyjama Mud Lotus

In that moment, beneath the fatigue and exhaustion, beneath the laughter about how hilarious we were, and how much my dress had stretched with the weight of the mud...I felt a quiet, subtle shift within me.  "I can do this". 

No matter how hard it feels, or how deep the crap runs, or how long the journey is...I can make it to the other side. I'm not going to be the same person I was at the start, but that's okay. In fact it's more than okay, because I'm going to be a freakin' LOTUS by the end of all this!  And, my dear friends going through similar times - SO ARE YOU!! xo

Posted on May 3, 2016 .

Going Full Circle

Mama Pyjama Kellie Turtu

Today is Mama Pyjama's third birthday.  How have things changed in three years?  In a lot of ways I feel I’ve come full circle.  I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that this morning when I read my “three years ago today” memory on facebook, I felt pretty crappy about the whole thing.  I’ve been very absent in this space for the last five months…so knowing that, I felt quite a lot of emotions.  Guilt, frustration, anger, disappointment.  What some would perceive as an achievement or a moment of celebration, I felt as a moment to self-reflect and, in some ways, self-attack. 

I began this journey as someone who desperately needed to reconnect with herself and rediscover her passions.  I propelled myself into a whole new world of adventure and excitement and self care…and I was doing a great job of it.  But then something changed.  Somewhere along the way everything got on top of me.  Things got too much.  The more I dug to rediscover, the more I realised I needed to change things.  And change hurts.  Change is hard.  Change is draining.  I pushed and pushed and pushed until I reached break point…and at that point I decided to drop everything. 

Going Full Circle

I left my job of 16 years thinking that that would make me happy.  That it would give me the time to invest in MPJ and in following my dreams.  But the reality is – it didn’t.  I hadn’t anticipated the impact that leaving that safety net (as much as it drove me crazy) would have on my self worth and my state of mind.  I’ve spent the last eight weeks struggling with many, many things.  Leaving work shone a huge big light on all the other areas of my life, and has made me question a lot.

I miss the social interaction.  I miss the daily validation I got from working and interacting with so many different people with so many amazing qualities that added so much value to my life.  I hadn’t realised how much of my “self” had been built on these relationships and experiences.  I guess it’d be silly to think otherwise (since I practically grew up there), but in leaving it really does feel like I’ve lost a big chunk of “me” in the process. 

The question and dilemma that has been floating around in my heart and mind these last two months has been how to rebuild that part.  People say, go look for another job.  Or go join a community group.  Or get more involved with your childrens’ school.  But for me, that’s not the answer.  The key for me has been acknowledging that I invested so much of myself into work as a way to fill gaps I was feeling in other areas of my life.  I’ve realised even more through this process that I need to build up my own self worth from within – not from without.  Whilst social interaction is super important to a healthy mind and spirit - it cannot be everything.  I cannot base the majority of my self worth on how others make me feel.  I need to feel good within myself by myself for myself.

So, in a lot of ways, I’ve come full circle…but I don’t think I’ve gone backwards per say.  I’ve simply transitioned to the next phase of my journey.  Now I know what I’m passionate about, now I know the things I want in life (and as negative as it sounds, the things I don’t want)…now I know that I need to work on reducing my need for external validation.   So what needs to follow is the sometimes painful and uncomfortable process of voicing it, feeling the things that need to be felt,  making the necessary changes, and fully integrating all aspects of my life in order to honour myself and live my life in true reflection of who I was born to be.     

I’ve not been sitting completely trapped within my own melancholia these last two months.  I have begun making inroads towards this integrated version of my true self.  I’ve been studying vibrational medicine, and I’ve bought a vintage caravan that I hope to do up and one day use as a healing centre.  I have faith that everything will come together in time, and that the universe will ensure that it happens at exactly the right moment (when I’m truly living in alignment with my soul purpose). 

As has always been my driver, I am hopeful that in sharing my life experiences honestly, I will help others along their journey too.  I’m also hopeful that as I transition I will gain insight and experience that will provide tangible tools for others going through similar life changes – but until then, it may just need to remain as shared emotion and understanding. 

So until next time, peace love and good vibrations to you all xo

Posted on April 13, 2016 .

Video Blog - Times Are Changing

So I’ve been off the grid for a while as I’ve been dealing with a major life change.  I resigned from my job of 16 years, and today is my first day as an unemployed citizen of the world.  How am I feeling? ... take a listen xo

Posted on February 15, 2016 .

Small Pleasures Add Up

Small Pleasures Mama Pyjama

You know those years that you just want to kick in the arse and send flying out your door?  The ones where you’re itching for New Year’s Day just so that you can start fresh again; leave all the BS behind you?  2015 was in so, so many ways one of those years for me.  Broken dreams, stagnant moments, fractured hearts, health woes, deaths, financial hardships, heart-wrenching parenting moments.  Days riddled with anxiety and hopelessness.  Nights spent lying wide-eyed and fearful.  Yep, 2015 was tough and I’d be painfully dishonest if I didn’t say that a big part of me will be glad to see the back of it in many, many ways.

BUT if we define a “good year” by the sum of small pleasures rather than by the absence of bad things – then my 2015 was actually pretty awesome.

That’s been my focus this year.  For every BIG bad moment, there’s a half dozen shiny little good moments that could easily go unnoticed.  I’ve been focussed on seeking out those small pleasures; collecting them all up and storing them in the pockets of my heart left empty by each of those big bad moments.  Small things, like the way my insides felt warm when I came home to fresh baked banana bread and smiling faces.  The butterflies I felt for a good friend when his conversations turned from heartbreak to new love.  The pride that welled up in my throat watching my boys at their end year concerts.  The smiles that broke at the corners of my mouth listening to dear friends telling yesterday’s stories.  The belly-laughs with family that erupted so big I felt like my heart would explode.  The sing-song feeling that lifted my soul hearing old friends laughing as they camped in our backyard.  The security and lightness I felt having quiet conversations with my husband in the midst of those bad moments. 

These are the little things that add up.  The small pleasures that together make the big bad stuff hurt less.  This is why when people say things like, “You’re so easily pleased,” I smile and I say, “Yes, perhaps I am…because small pleasures add up.”  If I’d saved all my excitement for only the big things in life, then this year would have been pretty lousy.  If I’d focussed only on the bad stuff, then …well…I certainly wouldn’t be smiling now. 

Life really is about the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, the dark and light.  This year was a little dip on the chart of my life, but all those little pleasures bent that curve up just enough to make some really precious memories, relationships and leaps forward.

I wish you all an amazing 2016, and I do so hope that no matter what it brings, you seek to find pleasure in life’s little moments.  This, after all, is what really makes life enjoyable on a day-to-day basis.  Don’t save all your enthusiasm, gratitude and sunshine for the big moments.  You’ve an endless supply of that stuff, so why scrimp on it?  Use it every single day for as many little things as you can.  Small pleasures add up.  I promise you - it’s that simple.

xo

Posted on December 30, 2015 .

“It’s not a bad life – it’s just a bad day”

Mama Pyjama it's not a bad life

“It’s not a bad life – it’s just a bad day” ... It’s just a bad day.

I never thought I’d have to remind myself of this so many times.  I’m grateful. Grateful for everything that I have and everything that I am.  But I’m also really tired.  And I’m a little sad.  And I also somewhat dejected.  Things have been tough this year.  It’s super hard some days to keep that smile on your face.  To remind yourself that it’s just a bad day.  Sometimes you want to just fold, give-in, surrender.  

I put my heart and soul into everything I do…I’m doing too much.  My soul is starting to ache.

Sometimes, I don’t want to be the strong one.  Sometimes I don’t want to be optimistic.  Sometimes I just want to check out.

I know that people think I’m naive.  I really do see the best in people.  I trust with blind faith.  I really do believe that the world is full of people just doing the best that they can.  But I guess sometimes, it is hard to maintain.  Sometimes it’s really hard not to get sucked in, dragged down, absorbed by the negativity.

Sometimes it really does feel like the world’s against you.

Sometimes it feels like more than a bad day.

I’ve had a lot of those ‘sometimes’  lately.

So here’s what I’m coming to realise… just as a smile can raise a thousand suns, so can a thousand unshed tears sink a lifetime of happiness.  If I want to rise up, I know I need to stop pushing down.  I know I need to stop fighting the feelings I don’t want to face.   I need to feel, breathe, cry, nurture, embrace….  But I’m scared; because what if I can’t find my way back?

I know that if I was talking to a friend that these are the things I would say:

You need not fear.  Your time to be all the things you dreamed of is nigh, but it is not now.  And that’s ok.  Your time to BE is now.  Just be.  Be you.  Be happy.  Be sad.  Be angry.  Be hopeful.  Be whatever it is that you need to be in any given moment.  Stop trying to control it all.  Stop trying to make things happen ahead of time.  Stop trying to understand.  Just let it be.  Just let yourself be.  Breathe.  Dream.  Feel.  Accept.  Trust.  Everything is exactly as it should be.  YOU are exactly as you need to be. 

"It’s not a bad life. It’s just a bad day".

Posted on November 11, 2015 .

Mamas - It's Time to Reclaim Your "Me Time"!

Mama Pyjama Me Time

"Me time".  I hear this term bantered around a lot in the parenting community, and it got me thinking: what exactly is “Me Time”; and as a community of parents have we redefined its meaning to refer to any period of time alone?

Here’s where I’m going with this.  Before having kids, a haircut was just a haircut.  A trip to the grocery store was just a trip to the grocery store.  Going to the toilet alone was…well anything else was just weird. 

The things I considered “me time” were things like reading a book outside in the hammock, or playing my guitar, or writing in a journal.  Or other things, like going out with girlfriends, or doing some sort of learning and development course, or going to dinner with my husband.  Any type of activity that involved things or people I was passionate about: was “me time”. 

ME time.  With the emphasis on the “me”.  It was doing things that defined me as a person.  Things that fulfilled my emotional needs.  Things that connected me to my core beliefs, dreams and desires.  It wasn’t doing day-to-day chores alone. 

As a parent “me time” is more elusive - obviously.  We now have little humans who we are solely responsible for twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  But does that mean that we should forfeit our “me time” entirely?  “No it doesn’t”, I hear you all say.  BUT, here’s my question to you:

As a community have we managed to subtly redefine the term “me time”, in a way that effectively means we have agreed to relinquish it almost entirely?    

Is a haircut still just a haircut as a mum?  Or is your basic trim now luxurious “me time”?  Is a trip to the store without your kids, just something that you need to do in order for yourself and your family to survive?  Or is it now “me time”?  You get where I’m going with this? 

It’s like that saying, “it’s not babysitting when it’s your own kids”.  It’s not “me time” if it’s not time spent doing activities that connect with your inner “me”.   Now that we’re clocking up hours of solo chores as “me time”, how many hours do we have left to actually do that real ME stuff without feeling guilty about it?

“Me time” is important – super important.  Having the time to nurture yourself and your passions is absolutely key to being a healthy, happy person.  By default, this also enables you to be the best parent, partner, friend and family member you can be too.  We need to stop the guilt game, and stop the martyrdom too.  It’s perfectly reasonable to make time in your life for yourself.  Sacrificing this time entirely doesn’t make you a better parent (or partner, friend, or family member), than those who insist on having their “me time”. 

We need start by giving ourselves permission to reclaim our “me time”.  Then we need to communicate with the people in our lives.  If you have a partner, talk to them.  Be open about the things you need, and allow them the same opportunities.  Once we’ve done that, we need to get creative with it.  The opportunities may be less or require more organisation than they used to, but the opportunities are still there.  Wake a little earlier, or ask a few more favours from friends and family.  Join a community group (Hello Mamas is a good one) and find other mums in your area that you can get to know, and then perhaps create a roster where you all get a little "me time" once a month whilst the others look after the kids.  Schedule “me time” in, in the same manner you schedule your children’s activities (and use black marker pen so you can’t rub it out). 

There are ways to make it work and to make "me time" another priority in your life, rather than the thing that’s just gotta give when other things come up.  The hardest part is convincing ourselves (and the wider parenting community) that it’s okay to put our own needs first sometimes.

What do you consider "me time"?  Has it changed since having children?      

 

 

Posted on October 22, 2015 .