What happens next?

I want to tell you a story about a girl, a girl who does something wonderful. I don’t know exactly what she does yet, and besides thats not really the point, the point is that she does it.

She’s short of time and big of ideas, and she finds it easy to get… comfortable. She finds it easy to dig her toes in to where she is and think it’s perfectly ok. But inside she’s burning a bit too brightly for ok.

She doesn’t ask for much, but she should. She should demand it, because it’s all there for her and it suits her.

She has spent a lot of time accepting things that weren’t what she really wanted and talking about tomorrow…. but she’s beginning to realise that tomorrow feels an awful lot like today, and that she doesn’t want to wait anymore. She’s realizing that this is her time and she’s starting to look at things a little more closely.

She’s examining her dreams, the ones she’s carried around neatly for years and looking at them with grown up eyes. She’s deciding if they are what she really wants and if they’re going to feel as good lived as imagined. She’s asking herself what she *wants*, allowing herself to be selfish because she deserves to from time to time, and asking what she wants to give others too.

She realises when unpacking those dreams that her something wonderful can be all of them or none of them. Her something wonderful doesn’t have to be doing anything grand, it can simply be joy. Here, now.

She is done with brushing her shortcomings under the rug and even more done with feeling guilty about them. She knows that a sprinkling of flaws make a character more believable, and she is a very, very believable woman. But she’s taking one of those short comings from time to time and making a project out of it. She’s breaking habits that have been there for years because she CAN. She’s doing it because it’s hard, and because it feels so good to peel off a layer of herself that was just making her feel heavy.

She listens. To the people she cares about, to the things she may not want to hear, and to her own inner voice that had grown silent from not being really listened to. She trusts it. It’s smart. She’s smart, and she knows what to do to get there, or even just to really be here.

She is not going to glorify busy or slow anymore. She doesn’t have to follow the books or magazines. She has her own pace, her own rhythm and she’s going to embrace it.

She is going to fall in love again, every day. She’s going to fall in love with the things her husband (or friend or children) does that make her feel light. The things that make her laugh or that feel like home. She’s going to be driven mad, as always, by the difficult things they do too, and be grateful for that – because the opposite of love is indifference, and those things remind her she’s not indifferent at all. She’s going to say I love you even when she’s angry, and she’s going to reach out when she’s sad. She will let go of relationships that don’t serve her, maybe not today, but when she’s ready, because she can and the empowerment of that choice makes her feel light all over again.

For all the talk of examples for her kids she knows that the best one is being happy. It’s doing this very thing that she’s starting today; this something wonderful.

This is a story about a girl… what happens next?

 

believable woman Copyright 2015 Nirvana Dawson

 

Treasure hunting

These past couple of weeks have been a blur of sick kids, sick parents and the general chaos that goes with it. A teething toddler squealing if he wasn’t velcro attached to a hip at all times and mess, so spectacularly much of it, breeding like the germs we have been trying to fight.

In amongst it all there has been a lot of tiredness, frustration, and, well… sneezing. There haven’t been a lot of ‘wow’ moments.

Or at least that’s what I thought. It occurred to me today in the midst of a pile of laundry that I had forgotten about the game in this. That every day, be it filled with snot and old cartoons or beaches and laughter – they’re all treasure hunts.

In this day there was gratitude to be found. There were so very many things to be thankful for. So I started being aware of the treasure hunt. I started looking a little harder….

I found a beautiful home behind the newly applied pencil marks on the walls (thanks little one). I found the unmistakable smell of ‘baby’ still clinging to the toddler than clung to me. I found new angles to my five year olds face – just a little – the sign of a growth spurt in progress and the proud squeals when he marked his new height on the wall by the fridge. I realized that my enormous laundry pile meant abundance – so many clothes. So many beautiful colours, fabrics and styles all ours. I found options in the ‘I don’t know what to cook’… healthy ones, lots of them, with fresh broccoli and silverbeet and basil from the garden – scents that I could still smell through my blocked nose. I even found appreciation in my tiredness, and realized how deliciously good sitting down felt today in those moments when I had the chance.

We get so caught up in the tired or the busy or the stressed or the sick that we miss all the wonderful holding it together. There is always gratitude to be found in the day you have… sometimes, you just need to take a little more notice.

grateful

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

The problem with positivity

I have a problem with positivity, or rather, I have a problem with the positivity cult.

You know the one.

The one where a person finds ‘something’ – God, religion, themselves, a guru, the new age, and all of a sudden they’re so fucking happy. Happy is good. Happy is amazing. I love happy. But this kind of happy only looks that way until you get close enough, then you realize it’s all a bit too one dimensional.  It’s forced. A joy Band-Aid if you will.

A Band-Aid covers something that’s wounded and allows it to heal. If one dimensional happy does that then it’s wonderful.

But at some point the Band-Aid has to come off.

Life is constantly in a state of flux. From the tides to our breaths there are highs and lows.

Even a heartbeat has ups and downs.

Sometimes we forget that it’s natural. If your car gets a flat tyre, your child has a tantrum at the shops, you bark your shin on the coffee table or you’ve just had bad news I’m sure you’re not smiling. I hope you’re not. Not then.

I’m not encouraging negativity – far from it. Optimism and positivity are essential parts of a happy life, but sometimes we get so focused on how we should be we lose the integrity of our own feelings. We get into the band-aid state of happiness, or flail to avoid the natural lows and in doing so throw ourselves out of rhythm and wind up feeling worse. We get stuck.

As a mother especially I need to remind myself this. I need to remember that it doesn’t matter how much love I have in my heart, or how insanely grateful I am for my family – some moments just stink. Some days are exhausting, sometimes the kids are just excruciatingly loud, sometimes the mess breeds faster than horny rabbits and it doesn’t take away from all the wonderful in my life to admit that. And BE tired, or BE pissed off, or BE angry or sad.  BE authentic.

Then just let it go.

We get caught up sometimes in the fact that we should know better. We’ve read books that tell us our thoughts create our words, our words create our actions, our actions create our habits and our habits create our destiny. Or something like that. But we are emotional beings. It’s not a design flaw – we’re meant to be.

The more at peace we are with those moments of madness the less intensity we need to give them.  Aristotle said “It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It is the same for emotions. Let them come, play witness to them, own them, then let them go just as freely.

When you swim at the beach you get to know the waves. You know the ones that push you down and the ones that lift you up. You know that, for the most part, if you just relax, if you just go with it, the lows are followed by highs. You don’t need to fight for them, they’re yours.

At some point we have to learn to trust happiness. We need to trust that it’s ours and go with the flux. Laugh when you feel it, smile because you want to, see all the wonder around you and celebrate it but don’t be afraid of those lows. They don’t make you less. They don’t make you flawed.

They just make you honest.

Twenty-five things…

One day, several months ago, I was having a hard day. Thanks to the absence of sleep, a cold and two sick, whinging kids I felt deflated. And to top it off I felt guilty for feeling deflated, like I should have found the silver lining by now.

That day a friend posted a link on facebook, this link http://momastery.com/blog/2012/01/04/2011-lesson-2-dont-carpe-diem/

I read it and I cried because it was so what I needed to read at that moment. Glennon Melton, who writes the momastery blog has started a love revolution, she has inspired many people and created miracles for many others.  In her very first post titled “Twenty-five things you don’t have time to read” she showed great courage in her complete honesty. She laid herself bare.

In this post I do a little of the same, and share a bit about who I am, who I’m not, and who I’d love to be…

Here are my twenty-five things

1. We have chosen to Homeschool our children. I believe in this with every fibre of my being. I buzz with anticipation for the adventure ahead. I look forward to the joys and the challenges. I also have frequent flashes of self-questioning, of hoping I will do it well enough, of doubts and uncertainties. I appreciate them – they keep me on my toes.

2. In the majority of photos taken of me my unattractive twin jumps in front of the lense and works her most awkward facial expressions. So much so that when I see a good photo of me I become quite excited. I have been known to squeal.

3. I love to meditate, but stilling my mind when I do so is as difficult as holding onto a greased eel. I hear that the eel gets less slippery the more often you hold it.

4. I refuse to believe in a truth that does not allow questioning. I believe that truth can only become stronger by questioning, by wondering, by exploring all its angles and intricacies.

5. I love, really really love, to dance. Sometimes I dance down supermarket aisles when I think I’m alone. I’m usually not.

6. I despise coriander.

7. I crave travel. Its absence leaves an ache in me, a delicious thrum of anticipation that makes me want it even more. But for now I’m staying put while we build our family, and that’s ok. I keep planning and dreaming – it’s like foreplay for the journey to come. The next time I step off a plane somewhere strange and wonderful all my senses will be heightened from the wait.

8. I am loud. Oh how I’d love to be perpetually zen, but I’m not. My peaceful parenting is occasionally interrupted by the sound of me losing my shit. Thankfully my son isn’t bothered, because he’s louder.

9. I expected falling in love to be like a flash of heat, like being swallowed up by unquestioning certainty. I expected the “this is it” to knock me off my proverbial feet and take my breath away.

But it wasn’t. It was like stepping into the sun and the warmth slowly filling me from the inside out. It didn’t knock me off my feet but put me more solidly on them…. And the breath I expected to be taken away I found had actually become in synch with someone else walking in the same direction. So I could breathe deeper, and step stronger knowing I wasn’t walking alone.

10. I started asking for a pet giraffe for Christmas when i was five. Disappointingly enough I still haven’t received one.

11. I have never smoked, never taken drugs and only had a few drinks in my life. This is mainly because I enjoy mental clarity and have little interest in reducing mine. It’s also because I have very few inhibitions even when sober so I would be an extremely embarrassing drunk.

12. I once pole danced in a bar in Thailand. Sober. See the inhibitions comment in #11.

13. I am deeply grateful for everyone in my life, now or in the past. I’m thankful for the ones I’ve loved, lost, laughed with and cried over. I have learnt more from them than any self-help book I could have read.

14. I get nervous about making phone calls – pretty much every freakin’ time.

15. This poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson once changed the direction of my life:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

16. I was single for years before I met my husband. I had decided not to waste my time with a man who did not want the same things as I did. But then I got so comfortable in my own company, so safe in my own existence that I almost walked away as soon as I felt something. I’m grateful for those who cared enough to push me to take a chance.

17. I have fire walked.

18. I’m in love with Venice. The crumbling grandeur, the reflections in the canals, the narrow calle choked with bustling tourists and the way they become a haunting maze without them. The city is poetry and it will be forever in my blood.

19. I find intellectual conversations a turn on.

20. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve responded to “Hello” with “Good thanks, you?”

21. I love to read. I get addicted to the words and everything falls away, even sleep.

22. If I could I would quite possibly marry ice-cream.

23. My older son knows how to push all my buttons. He drives me mad. He’s absolutely awesome.

24. One day I will finish my novels. Until then the characters are growing, changing and evolving, taking on a little of the people I meet along the way, a lot of the wisdom I gain as I grow, and a delicious sprinkling of the crazy that motherhood brings.

25. I swear too much. I wish I didn’t, but I fucking do.