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

Wanderers of Mind

Before us, we have this day. This moment. And we are told, over and over, that it is in this precious moment that we find joy. We battle, most of us, with distraction, procrastination, daydreaming and, well… facebook, that keep us from the fullness of the present.

What we’re told is true – this now is what memories are made of, it is fleeting and beautiful and the only thing that is ever really our own. Its flavour is worth savouring.

But a lot of us find that difficult sometimes. We vow to try harder, do better…. to be here more.

The thing is, we are natural wanderers of mind.

Today my toddler tripped – running in circles with both hands down his pants threw him a little off balance – and despite landing somewhere soft he screamed as teething toddlers do, with rage at the insult of it. All the while my five year old HAD to tell me, right at that very moment, a remarkably long Lego related tale. The frustration of being talked over sparked a tantrum mid screaming fit – much flailing ensued – which my Lego enthused boy responded to by talking all the louder. Apparently as a parent you’re not supposed to hide in the cupboard at these times. Nor in the moments when you’re cleaning out the pantry with the kids and turn around to find said kids feeding each other between their mouths like birds do.

Life has moments of exquisite muchness and it also has moments when it’s a bit much. The scrubbing toilet moments, the kitchen dirty again moments, the folding laundry moments, the moments when you’re tired but there’s no time to be.

And it’s normal to want to wander when those things happen. Presence is effortless in the joyful times, the easy ones. The sound of laughter is grounding, a hug from someone you love holds you where you want to be… but other times, you drift a little.

Maybe we need to be more at ease with ourselves. Maybe we need to aim for presence, but acknowledge the preciousness of escape. Maybe the impossible standards we set for ourselves cause more problems for us than our wandering minds.

Perhaps we can acknowledge that life in all its beauty and madness doesn’t captivate us sometimes, and be ok with that. There is so much richness to be found in the moment – whatever that moment is – but there is richness to daydreams as well. There is connection in social media, ideas on the internet, other worlds in books.

Without the “should be’s”, we can venture there for a moment or two, then come back with a new perspective. One of gratitude for our kids or our work, our partners or homes. We might find new ideas, or the urge to question.

Wandering is inevitable, it is part of our journey, but we come back to the present so much easier if we don’t make baggage part of it.

Perhaps, instead of aiming for total presence, we should aim to create more moments that keep us here effortlessly. To infuse our days with more silliness, sing to the radio more, dance in the kitchen, add a little fun to the work we do.

I wish you a beautiful day today – a beautiful now. One that captures you easily and allows you to marvel in all that makes up your present moment… but I also wish you beautiful daydreams and escapes that bring laughter where you wouldn’t have otherwise found it.

Enjoy the journey, wanderer.

wanderer

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Seeing the same things differently

Yesterday I was flat. Flat for a whole number of reasons that I couldn’t quite place. I had to think about what was missing even as its absence gnawed at me.

Connection was missing, between myself and my husband, which came down to busyness and tiredness rather than lack of love.

Variety was missing, or at least I couldn’t find it under the piles of mess I was sure I’d cleaned up yesterday.

Exercise was missing, in amongst all that needed to be done, I felt sluggish, and that sluggishness kept propelling me towards chocolate.

Chocolate was, sadly, not missing.

I felt, when it really came down to it, that I was missing. Like I had misplaced myself somewhere amongst the “to do” list of every day, and the nightly preparation for it to start again.

You see, every day, mothers and fathers do something quite remarkable… they care about someone else more than themselves. They find themselves noticing things that their kids would like, preparing things to make them smile, finding things that will help them feel fulfilled. They hide wonder in every day and help their child find it.

There is so much joy in caring for others. SO MUCH. There is a gift of perspective in it, of patience, of belonging. It’s a role without comparison and it gives me immeasurable happiness. But sometimes, just sometimes, I miss the days when I was only looking after me.

When I would wake early to run on the beach and swim even in the winter, when I would have a clean house and car free of popcorn and stray socks, when I could safely pee without a toddler dismantling something in the next room, when my nights would be spent laughing with friends, lost in books or dancing the tango. When I had enough spare time to read textbooks just because, or to write endless emails in languages I didn’t quite understand.

I missed that me yesterday, because from where I was in my flatness the grass back then seemed so much greener.

Then late at night, with my babies in bed, I watched a clip called “This is Water”. It was about perspective. And I needed it. Because it reminded me that the ‘me’ I was missing that day, used to ache for everything I have now.

It reminded me how much I wanted this gorgeous family, this wonderful husband, this beautiful house. How much I wanted these messy, smelly dogs and the couches now piled with the washing of the people I love. It reminded me how much I wanted to grow and learn, and how I had learned more from these past five years of motherhood than I ever learned in a book or a yoga class.

The frustration at my son’s cranky mood faded, when I remembered how I had always thought I wasn’t a patient person. And here I was, being one, even when I’d rather not be.

I woke up this morning with the pile of washing still to fold, and the dishes still in the sink. My husband and I were still busy and my kids still did their best to push my buttons.

But I wasn’t missing anymore. I was back here in the thick of it. Frustrated and happy and inspired and wanting more. I’d made a decision to make more time for the things that mattered, but also not to worry so much about all the stuff that didn’t.

Because we’re like chameleons, all of us. We might not look the same as we did a week ago, or a year ago, or as we will in the future. We might not have the same things to say or the same group of friends, but that’s kind of the point. Because we change to fit in with where we are, without ever really changing at all. We are us, vibrant and whole, and able to take this day before us on with gusto.

It cannot make us less.

And every bit of ourselves we have given our children, every ounce of patience we have earned, every mess we have cleaned up as though this time it will actually STAY clean, has given us more perspective, more richness to the colours we can wear whenever the situation calls for them.

There is a story in every day, and every one has a moral, every one has a challenge, every one has humour and every single one has a happy ending hidden in there somewhere. Sometimes it’s easy to see, and sometimes you need to try a little harder… but you can. The days that have come before it have taught you how.tomorrow