Many thanks to those of you who have been checking in over the past two weeks. I hadn’t intended to have a break and certainly hadn’t intended it to last that long, but it did. I think I’m back, but my body might have other ideas!
Synchronicity has always fascinated me and the quiet synchronised events of the past month or so have certainly made me sit up and take notice: something is happening…
I think it all started when I read ‘The Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield (the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy), around the same time I wrote my post for worldmomsblog on the general disorder of living in a house full of project people (World Moms Blog – Post Two ). Simultaneously, the Butterfly began the final stages of weaning and the other two boys arrived where they needed to be as far as development and self-assurance goes. I wanted to get a little more breathing-out space into my daily routine (Breathing In and Out: One Idea for Avoiding Burn Out ) and I needed to get some greater perspective on some of the events Craig and I have experienced during our time together (15+ years).
Some of those events include: me giving a good 5 and a bit years to teaching and working 70+ hour weeks during that time (and another 7 years of doing the same prior to meeting Craig). Two major melt-downs in the building industry: one of which Craig was caught up in directly. The setting up of a couple of businesses, which didn’t work – mostly due to us not managing other people properly and our inexperience. And some extended family dynamics, which are immensely frustrating, upsetting and down right unfair to us and others.
It is also around 10 years since I got pregnant with the Hare and during my time as a Mum I have been pushed/shoved/kicked on to the path of turning into the woman I want to become. It has been an intense and life-changing time. (That sounds such an understated description!) It was immensely challenging for various reasons: re-parenting the Hare from around the age of three, having the highly sensitive Owl who wouldn’t spontaneously leave my body for most of the first two years of his life and who would either vomit on others, including his father, or me on his return if there was a mother-led separation of any kind. And who continued to struggle with all mother-led separations until he was about four and a half. Plus another pregnancy and early baby stage.
Around two weeks ago I went back to the start of the Success Principles and began the serious work. Two things initially resonated with me: successful people are 100% people and we need to take complete responsibility for every aspect of our lives. The last bit I consider a bit harsh for people who have been through major trauma or abuse, but I haven’t experienced either of those. I also think it’s damned hard and completely unrealistic for a mother with a child or children younger than 18 months to do this, and having had a highly sensitive child – one of them younger than three would also make taking 100% responsibility difficult. (100% responsibility for looking after the children, but perhaps other parts of life being allowed to go a bit astray during this time!) But I’m past that stage too.
I had already began to build two sitting still times into my day – 100%. First thing in the morning for five to 10 minutes – outside -turning off the sleep chemical melatonin and turning on the happy chemical serotonin and a sit down and doing n-o-t-h-i-n-g time around mid-morning when the Butterfly is sleep. More about these later.
I also took Meg’s advice and checked out the flylady (http://www.flylady.net ). If, two months ago, anyone had told me that I would grin inanely at my shiny kitchen sink I would have thought them insane. But I do. I, yes me, have found pleasure and delight in cleaning. The house is now under control. There is no more clutter and I have a great sense that I can manage the chores. People can arrive unannounced and actually walk from the front door to the kitchen without having to clear a path! The loo is clean, the bathroom basin is clean, the floors are swept and the sink shines.
Interestingly there were definitely emotional barriers to organising some of the stuff. Some things mounted up and just stared at me. Sorted them yesterday. Still feel a bit emotional-blockage about them. Hopefully this will dissipate with time. Having a few small house-work tasks to do daily has really helped. 100% of the time they are done.
I took a mental check-list of things in my life and realised that all wasn’t as chaotic as I thought. Craig and I can take 100% responsibility for three very self-assured, generally calm and incredibly pleasant children. We can take 100% responsibility for having financially supported ourselves through hell and high-water. We have a great marriage, we did that too. And we each lost around 10 kg (22 lbs) each last year.
On the other side of the equation we learned that some people want to be constantly patted on the back and will put their pride before integrity. We take 100% responsibility for not spotting the signs earlier and doing something about that situation. I learned that if someone is easily overwhelmed, immature and un-prepared before you go into business with them - I can hardly blame them for turning out to be easily overwhelmed, immature and having their systems collapse when things don’t go well. I knew. I take 100% responsibility for knowing it wouldn’t work before it started. I went ahead anyway. I also need to lose another 10 kg and get fit again. And, aheemmm, the recession has done interesting things to our ability to manage financially.
So, back to the breathing-out times. The morning session has become a ‘thank-you’ time. I figure it’s a healthy way to start the day: acknowledging the good that is in my life. There’s a lot of that.
The mid-morning session has blown me away as far as the positive affects. The first day I tried three minutes of just sitting. Not drinking a coffee. Not reading. Just. Sitting. It was incredibly hard. The second day I sat facing the timer on the micro-wave and learned that wasn’t a good idea. After a week or so I had built up to seven minutes. It was easier. And it was then that my body took over.
I began to sigh. Deep sighs. Then throughout the day my body would do the same, unconsciously. There is very little research into why we sigh, but two ideas really made sense to me. We sigh when we are relieved about something. (We have survived the last 10 years despite everything and now I can relax and make plans for the future.) We also sigh to bring our blood-pressure down. With the constant physical, emotional and financial stress of these past years I wouldn’t be surprised if my blood-pressure needed to come down a bit!
The other thing I began to notice was where I hold tension in my body. It turns out to be mostly in my upper-back and shoulders, particularly my left-hand side. Once I built up to 10 minutes of sitting still I became aware that my left shoulder was about five centimetres or so higher than the right. Now that I am well into the routine of sitting for that 10 minutes they are almost even. Go figure. No exercise, no manipulation – just sitting still.
All in all my body changed down a gear. Instead of feeling like I’m constantly in fourth or fifth – there are regular changes, each day. It was/is a curious sensation. Not unpleasant. It’s just different to how I usually feel. Steiner would probably say I was more ‘in’ my body than I have ever been. (I quite like it. It feels healthier on every level.)
Blogging took a back seat while I down-geared, de-cluttered the house, assessed and found space in my head for me. I also had problems getting into my subscriptions for a few days. All in all, I think I’m back. But I have never had the experience of my body taking over and saying, “no” before. It is probably something I need to listen to. At this period of endings anyway. Thanks for sticking with me. There’s a worldmomsblog post coming up on Thursday and I have ideas for several others knocking about.
Now to catch up on my subscriptions!
(This is officially how I help put food on the table. If you’ve found this article useful, please feel free to use the Koha button just above my blogroll. Even the smallest amount is appreciated. )