Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pictures of you, pictures of me...

"Pictures of you, pictures of me
Hung upon your wall for the world to see
Pictures of you, pictures of me
Remind us all of what we used to be"
- Pictures of you, The Last Goodnight

I turned 43 yesterday. Birthdays make me nostalgic. On each of my kids birthdays I go through photos of them. Yesterday I decided to do the same for me.


Playing along with Trish from
My Little Drummer Boys

Unexpected gifts replenishing my soul

One of the challenges of living with mental illness is finding tools that work for you that help you to feel and function better. One such tool for me is practising mindfulness, or as I have heard it coined Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  This works for me personally much better then CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy). Why, I don't know. If it works, sometimes you just have to go with it.
The last couple of weeks I have felt stretched to my limit, and I may have had a tantrum of sorts last week about feeling unappreciated and taken for granted by EVERYONE in my house, and that once again no one was going to give two hoots about MY birthday. Yesterday was my birthday and to say the least, I was pleasantly surprised to have a wonderful day.
The best part was all the unexpected 'gifts' that came my way - coffee brought to me by Laura in the morning, a happy birthday text from a new friend, lunch from a friend that I have reconnected with after we had a falling out a few years ago, my mum buying me flowers for Aston to give me for my birthday, going to 'Chicks at the Flicks' to see  Les Misérables and getting a free massage while I was waiting to go in.
Beautiful unexpected moments that all contributed to me having a fantastic day.
When I do this -
“Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering”
Ida Scott Taylor
unexpected, amazing things happen, and my soul gets replenished.
Do you practise mindfulness? Does it help?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On the head of a pin

There is so much that we take for granted. From the little things - fresh water and food, sanitary toilets, a roof over our heads, clean clothes on our backs - to the big things - having a car to drive, go on holidays, access to medicine, living in country that isn't ravished by war disease or famine.

On Tuesday I went to the funeral of a young man of 19 who had died suddenly from a motor bike accident. There were probably 500 people there, three quarters of them aged between 14 and 21. There was an ocean of tears, the fragility of their own lives staring them in the face.

I'm so thankful that I was able to be there. To be beside my own children as they navigate their way through the grieving process. To be beside the beautiful woman that held this young man in her arms until the ambulance arrived, so that he was not alone. To be able to embrace his mother, father and siblings, and say with my touch what words could not convey.

I'm thankful for the opportunity the whole event has created. To be able to reflect on my own life and for the many amazing beautiful gifts that I am so lucky to have.

The last line in Kirrily's post from Sunny Side Up  captured it the best - This is the beautiful thing about death. It enlivens the living.

Life can change on the head of a pin. Moments of beauty are happening all the time. Keep your mind and your eyes open to receiving them. Are you LIVING in the day you're in?

The lovely Leigh from Six By the Bay is hosting Thankful Thursday. What are you thankful for today?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I love them both, very much. It made my heart smile watching this.
Playing along with

Sunday, January 20, 2013

equilibrium restoration

By Wednesday of this week I was in desperate need of restoring my equilibrium. I was already feeling somewhat empty before death visited our house. Now my soul hurt.

I had already arranged earlier in the month to visit a girlfriend on the coast, with the intention of going to the beach with Aston and her girls. As is the way with life, plans changed, and Nathan desperately wanted to see his friend, the brother of the young man who died on Sunday. 

I stuck the taxi cab sign on top of my car dropped my mum off at my sisters, Nathan off at his friends, and finally arrived at my girlfriends. Hot, bothered and somewhat sore. Driving any longer then 20 mins is still sending my back into spasms. We weren't going anywhere.

When my girlfriend returned to work after having both her babies I was privileged to be able to look after her little girls for the year they were one. They are part of my "framily". Miss Rubilicious, the youngest at 3, greeted me at the door with a huge cuddle. It was just what I needed.
We didn't do anything overly exciting. A and I sat and drank tea, and discussed the best apps for various things. Aston and her girls played and played and played, giggling, laughing, dressing up and discussing the various things that were going to happen in their "game". (Have you ever sat and listened to two six year olds discussing a game? The intricacies involved of who is doing what and when are highly entertaining.)

Doing something simple was sweet manna for my soul. Just being ... listening and watching helped restore my equilibrium, bring my physical being into balance.


Do you ever feel out of balance? What restores your equilibrium?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I love orange

It seems I have developed a passion for another colour.


First there is Red, and now, orange.


Not this orange....

That is the colour of, well, oranges.


This orange ....

Or this...


Do you have a favourite colour that is predominant in your wardrobe?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Degrees of Death



This morning my mother informed me that her close friend, who has been battling Cancer for the last six months, had died in the early hours of the morning. Her husband and two daughters were with her when she exited this world, and was finally free of the intense pain she had been in for the last month.
My mum and I have had many conversations about her friend, and what her wishes are if she finds herself in a similar situation. I'm thankful that my mother's friends illness provided the opportunity for us to be able to have such conversations, and I now know exactly what my mother wants.
I stood and listened as my mum spoke about her friend, the memories she has of her, the experiences they had shared, and how she was feeling. I was glad that I was able to be there beside her as she processed her friend's passing.
I went to tell Laura, but before I was able to she exclaimed that J was dead. J is a young man of 19, who Laura, Nathan and I have known since he was 12, meeting him not longer after we moved into  the Noosa Hinterland. Nathan is very good friends with J's younger brother, having played soccer with him since they were six, and spent many days and nights at their house. Laura went to school with J, socialised with him as he was part of her circle of friends when she lived on the Coast. I have had many conversations with his mother about the perils, and pleasures, of raising teens.
There was also another young man involved - C, someone else we all know, and have known for several years. He is in a stable condition, but requires surgery, skin grafts and God knows what else. Both young men, larger then life, with enormous hearts.
My head is reeling with a cacophony of emotions. Shock. Confusion. Struggling to make sense of the degrees of death... One death arrived slowly, painfully, over six months, claiming a woman in the winter of her life. The other so quickly, so unexpectedly, taking someone in the midst of their spring...
I watch and listen to my own children process similar feelings, different yet the same, felt through their own limited lenses of the world. I reach to comfort my daughter. She pushes me away. "Don't" ... I worry for my son. The need to see him right now is intense.
I can only begin to imagine what J and C's parents are feeling right now. Thinking about it makes my breath catch in my throat, my heart clench tight.
The gossamer fine thread that is life ... so strong, yet so fragile at the same time. How can that be?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Things I know

This week, I'm joining up with the gorgeous Miss Cinders from Saturday Morning Ogre Mum

Things I Know

I know there is only so much of me that I can give before i feel like I'm going to snap in half

I know that when i feel like that, its time to take notice and action!

I know the only way to fix the feeling of emptiness is to do things that feed MY soul

I know that I have to actually DO said things to feel any benefit. just thinking about it isn't going to cut it.

I know that I have to stop thinking about getting fit, and actually start doing something to get fit.

I know I am the worlds best procrastinator and my own worst enemy.

What things do you know?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas Past and Present

My memories of Christmas as a child in WA are full of Christmas trees that hit the ceiling, chocolate fudge and snowballs made by my Nanna, purple Malvern star bikes under the tree, a cacophony of aunts, uncles and cousins around long tables laden with lovingly made food, heat and brown skinned children running around in their underwear under sprinklers, BBQ manned by uncles in short shorts, stubbie in hand, smoke in the other, while aunties sipped Riesling from glasses wet with condensation and nibbles of jatz crackers, cheese and coloured cocktail onions.

I lived in WA from 5 until 8, 13 to 14, and had holidays there at other times. these memories are kaleidoscopic fragments of the happy joyous times of my childhood. They are precious.

From 20 until 3 years ago, my memories of Christmas are fraught with anxiety, and overwhelming sense of impending disaster. Running around trying to please everyone, and not succeeding. Taking on too much and catering for 20 people with a three month old baby, and undiagnosed PND. Being wound up tighter then a spring waiting to see what beautiful pearls of wisdom my (now ex) mother-in-law would bestow upon me read pearls of wisdom as offered up by Mrs Bucket from Keeping up Appearances - my MIL to a tee!

The whole Christmas season would be fraught with tension. From putting up the Christmas tree, to wrapping presents, to having Christmas breakfast, lunch, dinner, at whoevers place we happen to be at. (The only respite was going to my best friends family's house - that was where I could breathe!)

After this last Christmas as I sighed contentedly, I pondered why the last three Christmases have been different. At first I thought it was because I'm with M, but that has only been for two of them... then I thought it was obvious, I don't have all the stressors in my life that I had before. And then realised that actually I do, well two of them in particular that is (the kids fathers). Then it dawned on me. The biggest factor that has contributed to my past three Christmases being the best since I was a little girl is ME. I'm different.

While I may still experience anxiety, and fall down into the whole on occasion, fundamentally the person I am inside, matches the person on the outside. I'm living authentically. And true to me.

God, how far I have come!

I hope your Christmas was as good as mine. It was wonderful to feel light shining again, after being in that dark place. I can feel myself returning. And are excited about the possibilities that lay before me. I may have been down, but I wasn't out. Definitely not out.


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