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.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

The Paradox of Positive Thinking

We read a lot these days that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that. But I also believe that the positive thinking concept has got it a little backwards.

Our thoughts are born of feelings. They flow from where we’re at, a silent dialogue of the emotion that birthed them.

Moments of peace create peaceful thoughts, moments of joy, joyful imaginings and moments of anguish naturally give way to darker wanderings of mind.

Trying to change the natural flow of this dialogue while you’re amongst it is like standing in the rain and affirming that it’s sunny. It is wholly unauthentic to where you’re at.

Maybe, instead of pushing to think positively we should allow our minds to quiet for a moment instead. We should take a walk outside or a hot shower or drink a warm cup of tea and just breathe. Maybe we should meditate and watch our breath and let our feelings ease.

It’s from that place of ease that we come back to ourselves. We come back to the best of us, the place where we think better because our feelings naturally create the dialogue we were pushing for.

From that place of ease we can choose our thoughts authentically, or just explore where clarity takes them. This is allowing, and all you need is that moment of silence within yourself to make it happen.

Positive thinking naturally evolves from positive feelings. So next time you feel down take a breath – don’t struggle to get away from where you are. Just ease into a better feeling place however works for you… and see where that takes you.

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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.