It’s been a while. I’ve been quiet on the blog, quiet on Facebook. About the only place you might’ve been hearing my voice is on Instagram – because it’s just so, well… instant. Easy.
I’m looking for that this year. Easy. Fluid. Flow. I want to do things if I want to, when I want to. Aside from getting the kids fed, dressed, to school, bathed, bed, and the work that I’m contractually obliged to do, I just want to Be.
This isn’t a new concept to me – there’s a whole chapter dedicated to Just Being in my book ‘Dear Mummy, You’re Important Too’. But it’s a concept that I, and so probably you too, need regular reminders about. Because it’s so damn easy to fall into the trap of saying yes, of over-scheduling, of over-achieving, of wanting more. When we do that, we create expectations of ourselves, put pressure on ourselves, and if we don’t meet or manage that, what do we do? We criticise ourselves. Condemn ourselves. Compare ourselves to other ‘higher acheivers’.
Lately I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on my early childhood. Was yours like mine? Where birthday parties were about cheerios and fairy bread, not elaborately themed. Where after school we did more play less extra-curricular activities. Where toys were limited and there was no such thing as ‘screen time’ so for entertainment we turned to our imaginations and role play with our friends. Where our mum or dad would say no to a play date “because you’ve already had one this weekend and Sunday is family day”. Life was simple, pure; about people and connections not things; and there was time to get to know yourself, to be yourself, uninhibited and free.
Times have changed, and we’ve grown up. But what we do with our time, what we do with our life, is our choice. I love this excerpt from Danielle La Porte’s new book ‘White Hot Truth’, due out 16 May (I got a pre-launch copy, so grateful for life’s synchronicities and thrilled to be allowed to share a piece with you). Here it is:
“As many women will attest, the greatest, most monumental trigger of self-criticism in the history of lady kind is… Our Fucking To-Do Lists. Contemporary women revere their lists like Moses loved his stone tablets. They are directions to the Promised Land. The thrill of crossing something off: check, check, and check. Mmmmmm, feels so good. So good that you might write stuff down that you’ve already done just so you can cross it off (yep, you got it bad). Like any addiction, the to-do list is destined to lose its thrill when it rules us. I looked at my List Maximus and thought, with all this psychotherapy, and reiki, and yoga, I barely have time for myself. Snort.”
Time for yourself is for yourself; for your body on all its levels: physical, mental, emotional, energetic, spiritual. Time for yourself is time to feel into your body, your senses; to peel away the layers of expectation – those nasty ‘shoulds’ – and allow yourself to just Be.
Be still, watching your kids play. Be revived, with a walk on the beach. Be relaxed, in a bath. Be at peace, in meditation. Whatever way of being floats your boat, be that.
To do, or not to do: that is the question. In other words: with your precious time, would you rather do something or be something? Move, or feel? Literally speaking, these qualities aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive: I can move my body paddleboarding on the water and feel free. The distinction I’m trying to make is between moving frenetically through days filled with activities you ‘should’ do, versus following the natural rhythm of letting your feelings guide you.
Shoulds are other people’s wants. What is it that YOU want? How do you want to FEEL? Afterall, this is YOUR life. Yes, you have responsibilities to your children, duties to your partner, obligations to your work – but I betcha between and after attending to those things, there’s time in the diary, space that you can… leave free! Free to Be.
I have a behemoth of a to-do list. There’s so much opportunity, so many ways I can grow this movement. Facebook, blogs, video, events, collaborations, speaking gigs. I’m hungry for it. I’m impatient for it. I see the need and the mummy in me and the marketer in me wants to fill it. Motivating me most of all is seeing my readers and followers empowered and glowing. That’s what I want to do: help mummies glow. But there’s only so much time I can invest, without the scales tipping and it having a detrimental effect on my family and my personal wellbeing. So that’s why I’ve been quiet lately. I hope you’ll understand. Perhaps even my inaction might inspire your own.
There is strength in stillness. There is power in quietness.
In the New Zealand Plunket Book of the 1960s there was a list of Your Baby’s Needs. One of them reads: ‘Allow yourself time to enjoy your baby when you are attending to his needs. He reacts badly to hustle and bustle’.
There’s still a child inside each of us. As adults we might’ve learned to manage hustle, but that’s not particularly healthy. When we’re hustling we’re running on adrenalin in our ‘fight or flight’ body mode, operating from our sympathetic nervous system. I’m not an expert on this but I know enough to know that hustle isn’t sustainable. Or particularly joyful, I’d deign to add.
Stop the hustle. Opt for healthy and happy. You have permission. It’s your life.
“The paradox is the possibility that happiness comes from not trying to have it, but from just being in life.”
(Nathan Consedine, a quote from my book)
If this appeals to you, here are
My 5 things to try, to stop the Doing and start Being:
- Carve out time in your diary this week to reflect on your childhood: how did you spend your time, what emotions are stirred up as you recall those memories? Unleash your inner child to open a pathway to new desired feelings.
- Ponder how do you feel in your life now… and how do you want to feel?
- Open your diary and choose three things to cross out. One of Danielle La Porte’s truthbombs comes to mind here which reads: ‘Strike “obligation”, insert: “choice”.
- Change the name of your to-do list to Wish List, and cherry pick items off when you want to – you’ll be amazed at how a simple change in language can change your perception. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised to discover many things can wait, and will go unnoticed until you’re ready. All in good time.
- Sit for 5 minutes in stillness in solitude. Close your eyes and simply follow your breath as you inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Be with yourself, present in your body, and grateful for the gift of this life you are in; life in the body of a human being.
I’ll close on this:
You are a human being. Yes, that’s true – but look at it this way: You are a human, being. It’s amazing how the addition of one little comma in that sentence can change our perspective. Another great quote from my book: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” (Wayne Dyer)
You are a human, being in life. Go forth, dear Mummy, and Be.