Posts tagged #years

Reflection

Reflection Mama Pyjama

I was wandering the streets of Fremantle with a bucket of paella in my hand, people-watching, and enjoying the rarity of a morning to myself when I got the call from my Dad that there was a fire in Stoneville.  “That’s about 3 minutes from my house dad…I’m an hour away…I don’t think there’s anything I can do”. 

I got in my car anyway and drove for what seemed forever, listening to the AM radio for updates and trying to get a call through to my neighbours.  My kids were safe, my husband was safe, but my two dogs were locked inside the house.

By the time I got there my street was blocked off and there was smoke everywhere.  Between my husband and I we managed to get hold of our neighbours, who were thankfully (for us) home when the fire hit.  In the seconds they had before leaving, they smashed a window at our place and rescued our dogs.  Two great big (smelly and sometimes perceived as scary) dogs.  That took guts.  That took humanity.  That was an act of pure selflessness, and one I’m eternally grateful for. 

In the hours and days that followed I learned and gained many things.  I witnessed community and humanity at its greatest.  We forged a friendship with our neighbours (albeit several years too late);  I’m quietly kicking myself for not having shared more drinks over the fence with these fun and generous story tellers!  I learned what gratitude truly feels like.  I experienced a feeling of weightlessness when I realised that at no point in the whole drama had I really concerned myself with the idea of losing our house and everything in it.  I was yet again reminded of the strength of the heart strings that link child to parent.  I had no concern other than for the displacement and anxiety that my sons (particularly my eldest) were experiencing, emphasised by the knowledge of just how close we were to having that displacement extend several months if not years if our house had not been spared. 

This was how my 2014 began.  Some would say that’s a terrible start to a year…for me it was the beginning of a year of awareness, gratitude and awakening.   

Here are some key moments from my 2014:

A hospital emergency trip for each of my boys – one via an ambulance.   With these experiences came gratitude for the health care system we have in Australia.  Gratitude for a husband that sat all night in the world’s most uncomfortable chair so that he could be there for his boy every second of the way;  and the second time ‘round for him riding in the ambulance with our 2 year old strapped to his chest, lying flat on his back as our son struggled to breathe. 

Concerts, a trip to Rotto, many an opportunity for fancy dress and other creative experiences.  I am grateful for friendships – some as old as Beverley Hills 90210, and some new.  I’m thankful for people in my life who love me for who I was, who I am and who I am becoming.

My eldest began Kindy and my baby is now a fully-fledged chatterbox.  It really hit home this year how important it is to appreciate what you have at any given moment because children grow so quickly, and the world changes at such a rapid rate.

Time with my husband.  I am grateful for family that have allowed me to spend some quality time with my husband (who FYI has lost 20 kilos this year! Talk about being proud of him!).  We’ve had some nights out in town touring the small bars and enjoying the luxury (and quiet) of a hotel room.  On the relationship front, it’s been a year of communication, reconnection and awareness.

Awakening my spirituality.  2014 has been a spiritual journey (for want of a better expression) for me.  I’ve stepped way out of my comfort zone, and pushed myself to learn more about who I am in order to accept myself fully.  I’ve done yoga nidra, a workshop on mediumship and sound healing.  I also sang in a choir at my workplace and have written my first song.  I’ve been learning more about chakra healing and raising our vibrations.  In short, I feel much more alive this year and I think that comes from allowing myself to look “silly”, to be uncomfortable and to try new and scary things.

Moving house.  We packed up our storybook cottage and moved to a beautiful home on 10 acres.  I’ll be honest and tell you that it was tough on my relationship! Big decisions and events in life are great opportunities to increase your awareness of your own complexities and of those around you – and this was one such opportunity!  The move has been worth every second of…let’s call it head butting and snappiness.  Our home is very quickly becoming our sanctuary and I am so grateful.

Bruce.  Springsteen.  Held.  My.  Hand.     Enough said.

Refocusing my career.  Those of you who have been following for a while now will have gotten a sense that I’m not entirely content within my current career.  I’ve been working hard this year to refocus and redirect my career down a path that better aligns with who I am (and who I continue to become).  As 2014 draws to a close I await two decisions – one for a new role that I applied for at work in a much more creative and innovative space, the other for a blogging opportunity with Brownes Dairy.  To say I’m excited about the opportunities that await me is an understatement.

And then there’s Mama Pyjama.  In between all this I’ve been talking to you guys, sharing a bit of my life with you, learning a little more about all of your’s in the process, and working with some really cool companies.  I got to interview a Disney Star…I mean seriously, less than two years ago I would have never envisaged that.  It’s been a blast.

I do so hope that you have also had a fantastic 2014…even if it involved some trials and tribulations.  Afterall it is often adversity that is our greatest motivator.  Every event in our life offers its own unique teaching or opportunity.  It is up to us to uncover it, to listen to it, to accept it and to act on it. 

I look forward to painting my future with all of you in it.  Remember, if we believe it to be true, it is true.  If we believe it to be real, it is real. 

So get imagining the future you want to see yourself in ‘cause I’ll be asking you very soon to share it with me (and the universe). 

Many blessings, and may your 2015 be truly wonderful! xo

Change Your Words...Change Your World

"Will your words colour or stain?"

"Will your words colour or stain?"

When I was in year 2 my best friend’s name was Prathanna and he was the best colour-inner I’d ever met.  He’d colour the trees pink and orange and blue, and the sky purple, and the flowers green.  He’d fill in the white spaces with solid, vivid colours that danced on the page and made my imagination run wild. 

In later years I felt compelled to replicate his style in primary school art class.  Only to be shot down by the art ‘teacher’ with the words, “too child-like, too undeveloped; demonstrates no understanding of colour”.  Some memories cut deep.  At 11 years old I was taught that self-expression was an action open to judgement, and as such should be carefully monitored. 

The time was not long following my parent’s divorce.  I was at a new school.   I’d just started getting my period.  My whole world felt new and overwhelming. 

My mum had bought a new house and for the first time in our lives we were allowed to paint our rooms any colour we liked.  Colour began to represent a big part of my self-expression.  Colour was redefining who I was and where our lives were headed.  Colour made me feel happy.  Colour (and my choice and use of it) made me feel unique.  I was also bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood…is there any wonder I was reaching out to my innocence, grasping to keep hold of times passed?

Fortunately, my achiever personality usually means I come out swinging in response to statements like these.  I would go on to be awarded top student in my graduating year for TEE Art, and I’d make coloured stockings my signature addition to the school uniform.  Nonetheless, his words still impacted me (evidenced by the fact that I remember them so clearly 24 years on).  Albeit subtly, words and statements of this nature heard and felt from many people in my life, have moulded together to form internal blocks around self-expression.  Created so easily by a cumulation of seemingly insignificant phrases, yet they take years of dedicated focus and work to breakdown and unravel. 

If only my teacher had realised the impact that one disjointed sentence would have on me.  I know he would have forgotten his words no sooner had they rolled off his tongue. He wasn’t a bad person, not at all, he just didn’t take the time to stop, to think and to consider before he spoke. 

We are fragile beings.  It takes very little to divert our course in life.  My husband still talks about the teacher in primary school who told him he talked too much.  My mum, the teacher that made her stand up and read out loud in class because she had trouble pronouncing some words.

Nobody is perfect.  We will say the wrong thing at the wrong time on countless occasions throughout the duration of our lives.  But perhaps by being more aware of the impact our words can have on others, we can reduce the number of these incidences in our life time.

It’s about understanding the part you play in the lives of others.  It’s about kindness.  It’s about compassion.  It’s about really taking the time to stop and simply listen.  It’s about giving people the benefit of the doubt.  It's about asking yourself whether your words will colour or stain the souls of others. 

It’s about knowing the ripple effect our words can have.  It’s about giving careful consideration to the words before letting them roll of your tongue.  “Is it spoken at the right time? Is it spoken in truth? Is it spoken affectionately? Is it spoken beneficially? Is it spoken with a mind of good-will?” *  By giving consideration to these five questions, the flow of energy  your words will carry will be positive and empowering to all those who hear and feel them.  

 *Statement recorded in the Vaca Sutta ( AN 5.198) slightly reworded for purpose of blog.

Perspective

"Change your perspective"

"Change your perspective"

I remember being eleven years old… trying to find my way…trying to make sense of my world in the midst of my parents' divorce.  I felt many things – confusion, anger, shame, hurt, loss...even apathy.  In short, I felt like my world had been turned upside-down and I didn’t know how to put everything ‘right’ again. 

I have a distinct memory of lying on the kitchen bench of my childhood home, just staring at the ceiling.  Commotion all around me.  I remember my mind suddenly quiet.  I remember how the world faded in that moment and I was filled with the sound of silence - as white as the ceiling, as clean as the paint untouched.

I remember the thought as it was born, “What if my world really had turned upside-down?".  What if I could be the one to walk on this pure untouched ground for the first time?  What if doorways were steps and lights extended from the ground up? What if this whole new, quiet, serene world had been laid out just for me ?  

It was like seeing everything for the first time. Everything looked beautiful and new and pure...everything seemed possible.  I learnt in that moment that sometimes we need to turn our world upside-down just to see it for how it really is. 

There is always a choice - you can face your challenges with fear and resentment, or you can view them as opportunities to experience something new, to shape a better life for yourself, to live the full extent of the life you have been given.  I was in for huge changes in the months and years that followed, and it was tough…but I had hope. 

Through tears, and no doubt some tantrums and angst - ultimately in that moment, I chose to view my challenges as opportunities.  And truth be told, the life that unfolded in front of me was full of light and shade, depth, colour, joy, and challenges….'opportunities' that would not have opened up for me should things have remained as they were.

I have carried this memory with me through my teen years and into my adult life.  There are times I have needed more than ever to remember the clarity I felt in that moment.  I will often lay and stare at the ceiling in times of overwhelm.  It grounds me.  It gives me a sense of calm.  It reminds me that there’s always another perspective - another way to view your world, your challenges and the changes that are taking place in your world. 

It’s so important to have ways to process your emotions in challenging times.  Sometimes I forget, and I realise that my hands are shaking, I’m wearing my shoulders as earrings and my temper is short.  These times have been more regular since becoming a parent.  It’s a combination of many things, not the least of them being lack of sleep, shifts in priority, and the stress of being responsible for another person’s life.  If there was ever a time to focus on managing my stress, it is now.   I try to remind myself regularly to keep perspective, to breathe and to forgive myself when I get things wrong.  And as I move through life and the challenges I face change and evolve, I remain open to new opportunities to grow, and suggestions on ways to more effectively process my emotions and manage my stress.