Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Aha Moment

Nothing to do with the 80s Norwegian superstar band (although Morton Harket was my first crush - I have no shame).

I posted before about my D'uh moment after I had contemplated Jen's post and thought deep about it.

Then a couple of days later my Dad was round visiting us. Something he said, or did, I can't even remember it now, just made me step back and go "w0w". I realised that all my life, he's been parenting me in just the way I described in the D'uh post (and look folks, I'm no delinquent, honest). He's never been one for flying off the handle, in fact the description most commonly applied to him, is "so laid back he's practically comatose". He weighs the situation up, then decides what to do or say. No harsh words or thoughtless comments fly from his lips.

Me, I think I'm more like my Mum. Who is, I should immediately point out, wonderfu and very loving. But also quick to anger. Tends to say things in temper that she really shouldn't. And doesn't even mean but just speaks first when she is agitated.

My Mum did all the disciplining when I was growing up. And yet, I remember more the times when I got into trouble with my Dad. Because they were rare. And because, even then, he didn't shout. He didn't react immediately. He'd come and find me, he'd sit and listen to my side. Then he'd tell me what he thought. What had gone wrong, honestly, if he felt let down or that what I had done was wrong. But in a few words. He didn't labour the point. He didn't shout. He moved swiftly onto restitution and making things better. And generally, all that had such an impact on me, I never did whatever it was again. Never wanted to. Hated the thought of letting him down.

It works, this gentle stuff. I know it does. I've experienced it. I see it in how my Dad is with my children. I know I can do it, if I unlearn my behaviour patterns. If I choose to follow the right examples.

I don't think it's going to be easy. I don't think I'm going to stop shouting overnight. I don't think I'll never slip up. But I know in my heart of hearts I can do it. I want to do it. And I know that it works.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

The D'uh Moment

I read a post by a wonderful lady and blogger, Jen a week ago (it was the Don't sweat the small stuff post here: I thought about it a bit and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it.
To summarise, (but really, go read for yourself, I recommend it!) - she wrote about an incident where her daughter threw her son's trainers in the pond, she fished them out and that was it. She didn't angry or loose it or shout and that impressed her son's friend no end.

My first thought was how wonderful, I would love to be like that. Since having children I am extremely short tempered, with the children but with life in general, far less laid back and tolerant than I used to be, and, frankly, I don't like it.

Then I thought some more, and I thought, but how will her daughter ever grow up knowing right from wrong, will she grow all her life thinking it's OK to throw trainers in ponds, would I want my kids acting like that. Part of this is putting my own story on stuff (for example, Bear loves his trainers, is very particular over them and would hate them to get covered in pond gunk; he hates going barefoot too, so unlike me and Butterfly) so would hate to have to wear wet shoes or go without - so I thought about how that kind of action would probably really spoil our day and be very upsetting for Bear. So I started to think, I could never be like that, I wouldn't want my kids to be like that.

Anyway, cut forward a bit and a lot of email exchanges with lovely Jen later, I suddenly had my D'uh moment. She explained, that, although it wasn't relevant to her post, it wasn't that she'd patted her daughter on the back, and said well done for such good throwing darling, here's the keys and my phone, why don't you throw them in the pond too ! She'd calmly spoken to her daughter about not taking such actions, she'd embarked on a process of teaching this little girl (who is after all only 3) appropriate and not so appropriate behaviours. But she didn't loose it.

And I realised, it's not a question of one or the other. I don't have to shout to make myself heard. Lecturing and loosing it and getting angry does nothing. Except maybe teach the kids how not to behave towards each other when the other upsets them. They don't learn when I am standing over them yelling. They don't learn from sarcasm. They don't learn from punishments.

That doesn't mean behaviour is always accepted. That there is never any learning. It's just that the issue is dealt with calmly. Or later. Or not at all if it's not that important. Deal with the problem (retrieve the trainers); do the learning part later when everyone is calm and ready to listen. And if you can laugh about it in the meantime, well then, doesn't that make life better for everyone ?

I think sometimes, especially to those on the outside like me who are trying to move from control to connected parenting, we don't see the whole picture. Like Jen said, her post was focussed on one thing, but it may have left the impression that actually she did nothing about the incident, and I think many connected parenting articles end up like that. They focus on the not loosing it part, on the remaining connected and centered part, and for those who don't know any better (or perhaps it's just me?), there's a feeling that that is all there is.

I can be the parent I want to be without my children growing up delinquents. I can deal with issues without snapping/yelling/shouting etc etc. They will probably, no, definitely, learn more from a couple of well chosen softly spoken words later, or at an appropriate time than a tirade of invective in the heat of the moment.

Obvious ? Well, yes. But it took Jen's post to make me sit up and smell the coffee. So thanks to Jen and here's to putting this into action. One baby step at a time, but hopefully we are on the right road.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


for now, I'm going back to posting on my old blog

Two blogs is one, possibly two too many!! I may merge them, or I will pick one and stick with it, I'm not sure just at the moment, but for now head over there to see what we've been up to.

Love and blessings to everyone xx

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

16 February

It's been a rough few weeks, for reasons I'm not quite ready or able to go into just at the moment. It lead to a weekend where finally I stopped, and relaxed a bit and then fell apart completely - as the adrenelin left, I broke. Having not slept properly in ages, I slept for 12 hours solid on Saturday night, and still woke up tired on Sunday.
One thing that has prevented this from spiralling out of control is my daily yoga practice - I do 2o minutes/half an hour every morning, starting with some sun salutations and finishing with 5 minutes meditation. I honestly think I would loose my mind without it.
To take that time each day, just gives me the chance to regroup, recenter and accept whatever else might be happening. Some days it is easier to switch off than others, some days my mind is still racing even as I go through the positions, but I try to focus on my breath and draw myself into the present.
What I love, aside from the inner strength and sense of well being it gives me, is the progression I have made with some of the poses. Whilst I don't notice day to day any specific changes, I realise after a month or so, sometimes longer, has passed, that I can manage to do something that I couldn't before. Each day I have stretched a little further, breathed a little deeper and eventually the results have come.
I take that lesson with me into each day too.
What do you do to calm and centre yourself ?
What actions do you take for self-care, especially when the going gets tough ?

Monday, 14 February 2011

14 February

Love, love is verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath
Taken from "Teardrop" - love the Massive Attack and the Newton Faulkner versions.
How has love made you fearless on this Valentines Day ?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

12 February

I realised something today, not earth shattering, but so blindingly obvious I wonder why it has never struck me before.

If you know me well, you would know that despite initial impressions when you walk into my home, of a calm, tidy, well ordered living space, as soon as you open a cupboard door you are likely to suffer something falling on you. I love peace, tranquility, zen calm orderliness. But I have a tendancy to horde and an aversion to clearing out. So my solution is to shove it all behind a closed door, shut the door and pretend that all is well. Except somewhere inside I know that there is a tonne of cr*p waiting to be dealt with.

As a person, I am generally considered relaxed, unflappable. My tag line on my school leaving annual was "cool, calm and collected" . My nickname at work was The Swan, because I would glide along the surface appearing unruffled, while underneath, paddling and working like crazy.

Spotted the obvious similarity yet - it's only taken me all my adult life so far ? In life as in my home, I like everything smooth, calm and ordered. And on the surface it is. But open those closets and it's an unholy mess underneath.

I've come to realise that's not healthy. So, I'm taking strides, to clear out my home (no more sliding avalanches as you ease open the door, no more clutter lurking and haunting me; to clear out my inner spaces too, no more hiding from the truth, failing to stand up for myself or pretending that everything is OK when it is very clearly not.

It's a challenge, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

10 February

Buddha said

"when you realise how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky"

I feel like the last month has flown by with so many big things to ponder. We've considered massive life changing decisions (more explanation to follow another time). I've literally been consumed by them, to the point of forgetting to turn up to things, waking at 4 am to wrestle with inner dilemmas, going back and forth trying to determine which is right and best and the right way up. Planning and thinking about the future, the near future and the long term and not wanting to screw any of it up.

And you know what - I'm done with the thinking. I am So Over It.

I don't know what tomorrow holds. I don't know if the decision I've made is the right one. If it's not I'll change it. If people don't like it, I'll deal with it.

So for the rest of this month, I'm doing as Buddha says - I'm tilting my head back and laughing at the sky. And it feels so good, so light, so refreshing. So free.

I've decided to have a word or two to focus on for the next couple of weeks:: Fun & Freedom.

Because, more than anything else, that's what I want in my life, right now. The rest, it'll sort itself out one way or another.