Category Archives: Journey of Wellness

Loss, family unity, the waiting and drawing with cats

Loss

I didn’t work this week. I saw some texts, but this week was about holding our family and myself together. This week has been hard. Hard for my beautiful aunty and uncle,  hard as a sister, sister-in-law, as a mother, as a partner, as a friend.

My aunty and uncle said goodbye to their son this week. My uncle was the step father. You know what, labels are rubbish because he loved him like a son. Correction. Loves him.

My cousin was a soldier who died at work. Three days after he saw his mother. I just don’t know what to say. Stuart was an achiever and a great friend to his mates. He cared about people. He made a difference. Even if you ignored his personal and professional achievements, he put others in the shade with his impsct on people.

I have an uncle that would drop everything to help. My aunty is a self-made woman full of practical conversation and humour. She is a joy.

They lost him. He was young, strong, full of talent and purpose, beloved. There’s no way to make it better 😦

Family unity

At Stuart’s funeral and his wake I saw my family gravitate together to support each other.  My amazing sister-in-law is such a beautiful soil. Honestly, my brother is lucky to have her.  She has been through so much, and manages to maintain her empathy. My other beautiful sister-in-law,  always reliable to be there, was supportive and kind to her family.

My aunty went through the room, speaking of her son with an everlasting line of well – wishers. She comforted them. She held them, patted their backs. Thanked them for coming. It was remarkable. If i was in her place I just can’t imagine doing that. She was he image of strength and beauty.  Wow. 

The waiting

The very next day our youngest has another surgery and general anaesthetic. The waiting is the worst. Next to that is encouraging my baby to lie on the operating table and breathe the strawberry gas so she can fall asleep. 

The waiting. The silent worry. I sit in the waiting room and repeatedly check that my phone call volume is turned up. Pace the floor. Check the phone.

She comes through. We are home. Ready for recovery. The post-operative treatment is extremely painfull. It will continue for ten days at least. 

Drawing with cats

I had booked this art class prior to knowing my daughter’s surgery date. Dad was home in time so I actually went. What a night. After a huge week, I learnt the technical aspects of drawing cats at the Cat Café in Red Hill. It was really lovely. 

Tomorrow is s brand new day. Wish me luck.  Hope you are well and joyful and enjoying your wonderful life, whatever it looks like. Xx

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This village is real.

Women can be rude, sarcastic, manipulative, cruel and ill intentioned. Actually, people can be all of these things, beyond imagining. Our world is full of horror stories.

But, where there is dark, there is light. Light always overpowers dark and this is one example of how this happens. 

I have a girlfriend group that I seemingly stumbled into. These three women all have different histories,  professional skillsets, mothering styles, ages, upbringings. Somehow we all fit like a group of pieces from different puzzels that magically come together. Our individual patterns match. We fit.

It’s a remarkable, lucky thing to be able to recognise the village. The village may be scattered but come together for a single reason. Our children. Every one of us has multiple challenges ongoing at any time. Some more immenent and urgent than the others.

Light prevails where love prevails. But what is love in a friendship circle? To me, love in our friendship circle is where we can all care for each other, express ourselves, our concerns, even when as a collective we are helping sort major, urgent issues (in hospital for how long with no childcare). 

It isn’t tidy. It’s messy. Even when we are laughing at the everyday (how is running naked through the house with a toilet paper tail supposed to be funny gawd), groaning at the ridiculous (those aren’t “balloons…”), snorting at the humorous  (refused dinner but drank half a bottle of tomato ketchup instead). 

The village is a collective. This collective is grounded in respect and love. 

Even if this is a fleeting village, one that isn’t so close throughout my entire life, I know it’s value.  These women are immensely amazing. Their good deeds, even if seen as minor are immense in their magnitude because kindness spreads kindness. 

One of these earthlings says one thing, that she is hard,  tough and unreachable; but her actions override her words. She is kind and generous and makes people matter. She builds them up. When you see her she lights up like she’s truly happy to see and be with you. Like a light. Her smile is just magic. You have to see it to understand how beautiful it is. 

This other woman. What do i say? She is so laid back in conversation. So easy to talk to that speaking with her feels like you’ve been blessed with a cool breeze on a hot summer’s day. Some people could walk past her in the street and not realise the gift to our world they have not rejoiced. She is just a joy, anytime.

This third lady. She is beautiful, powerful, she inspires other women to be better. She loves and gives so much, but doesn’t save any for herself. She doesn’t see her value, doesn’t understand just how much SHE MATTERS. Every time I see her, she somehow in a blink can spread warmth in my heartspace. She is a sweet woman who swears like a sailor and makes me laugh.

So to my village, I adore this time we have. I treasure you all. You are the example of what is good in our world.  Each of you in your own way will have a legacy of good in your own way. Collectively you are a beautiful power that can change the world, at least in our own lunchboxes xx.

You know who you are xx

A Christmas message from Whistling Kite Collective

Hello 🙂 As 2015 draws to an end, I would love to wish you a merry season and a happy new year.

This year has been very challenging for me, and all of my hats.

My hats are botanist, partner, mother, household manager, daughter, sister, volunteer, nature lover, plus more.

Once this year, I looked at my beautiful partner and said “happy hats darling”. Every part of me was happy. Truly.

Where were we? We were bush walking with our beautiful children in the Blue Mountains, Australia. We were skipping. There were so many flowers and magestic vistas. All of us were pure joy, engaged and in the moment.

I cried several times. I know it sounds silly, but we were together, loving each other with the wind in our hair and the sunshine on our faces.

My youngest had surgeries this year, with subsequent recoveries. Any mother knows that if you could take away your child’s distress, you would do it in a heart beat. Her beautiful sibling was worried,  and this time took it’s toll.

My father had difficult surgery and i looked after him the best that I could. He’s a good man with a simple outlook. Love and play.

I worked hard in a job that was challenging this year. I devoted a large amount of time to this role when my children really needed me. Oh, the eternal conflict of the working mother! After all of my efforts I am now free. My children are joyous 🙂

What i wish for in 2016 is:
– time
-connection
– love.

All is possible.  All is free. I commit that these three things will be my greatest achievement in 2016.

I hope that each of you all have peace, love and compassion.  May you all be blessed with challenges and successes. I hope that you are held. Loved. Enjoyed. Isn’t that what we all desire? Joy?

Merry Christmas, and a happy new year.  May nature, in all it’s beauty and majesty,  set you free.
Xxx

Let’s dance

Sometimes when life gets a bit serious, the only thing for it is to dance. I mean turning the music up loud and singing and laughing with the little cherubs. We have gotten through witching hour with giggles by dancing to the following playlist.

The songs in highest rotation at the moment are:

“Girls just wanna have fun” Cyndi Lauper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIb6AZdTr-A

“It’s raining men” The weather girls! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E

“Greased lightning” megamix, soundtrack from the movie Grease. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x21g8j_john-travolta-olivia-newton-john-gr_music

“Do Wah Diddy Diddy” Manred Mann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFDmst7ULGI

So don’t worry neighbours. If you hear these songs pumping out of our house, we are just shaking off the day 🙂

Hope you have a great week xx

My best parenting tool found in every household

There has been so many posts from various mummy bloggers and parenting authors starting off this year about how to be a better parent, managing challenging childhood behaviour, getting better sleep, maintaining routines for easy days, creative play to get through holidays, encouraging literacy, screen free time, making interesting meals etc.

I don’t have any long sentiments to share that can give anyone a road map to being a better parent, but I will share my number one parenting tool that always points me in the right direction.

A mirror.

I know it’s ridiculously simple, but whenever I see unrest in my children, I always, always find it in myself.

Whenever I spend time fixing myself or eliminating pressures from my life, I always see the change in my children. Maybe not instantly, but certainly within a few days.

I was speaking with my eldest the other day about how we must have gentle words and hands with her little sister, because babies learn what they see. It was such a simple statement.

So maybe next time I feel out of balance, I will pretend I’m looking in the mirror. I know what I want to see. I want to see the change I wish to see in our world.

Hope you have a beautiful week. xx

With a broken heart, I say goodbye

IMG_1023

Something heartbreaking has been happening in my country. Well not in Australia, but to Australians abroad.

It is something that as one person, I have spoken up about for years to my elected representatives. I have written letters, called their offices, spoken about on social media, signed petitions, modified my consumer behaviour, walked in rallies. The heartbreak continues.

What does one person do when they feel powerless to change injustice that their eyes can see and their heart can feel? I could walk away, close my eyes, deafen my ears, shut down that part of my heart that remembers this ache. I could convince myself to forget. I tried. Time to move on.

Or, I could stand. I could continue to feel the heaviness that hurts my moral sense, I could maintain my awareness and I could bare it for the greater good, for those less powerful than I.

I. What can I do? I will love.

Loving those less powerful gives us strength. Love in itself is the answer. Love is the origin of my heartache and the source of my power. When love withers, then comes apathy and indifference.

So tomorrow morning (or during tonight) when my child asks for me, I will go and give love. When I get up in the morning, I will spare some of my precious time for something I believe in.

With a broken heart, I will say goodbye to my dispair and stand for those less powerful. I will love them, even though they don’t know me. I will continue to speak for those that have no voice except my own.

I will act to Ban Live Export: http://www.banliveexport.com/

Do you have something you are passionate about? I believe that you can make a difference to this world.

Have a beautiful week.

xx

Why I breast feed

The calm sea glistens in the sunlight. Dolphins swim where aqua water turns to blue. I wade out to my waist, then fall in up to my neck enjoying this quiet moment. Then from the shoreline I hear “Mama mama!” My tiniest toddler is reaching for me. Gathering her up, I take the little one deeper to watch the fish flitting out of the water.

She wants a breast feed. So as I nurse her in the calm waters I move her back and forth rhythmically and hum a repetitive tune while she looks up with smiling eyes. She sits up, throws her arms around my neck for a cuddle and switches sides to continue nursing. Moving with the gentle sea hum my little song.

She snuggles in, her eyes become heavy and she sleeps, right there, partially immersed in the water, cradled in my arms. She is so precious and perfect, it is hard to look away from her cherubic face.

This is why I breast feed, not because I am one of the lucky ones that can, not because it is convenient, not just for the physical benefits to us both, but because it reinforces my connection with my child. We become one in each other’s arms and she is secure in her safety.

She sleeps and I bask in the glow of early motherhood.

These are the little moments, the gems that I will carry through my life that warm my heart space and fill me with joy.

Excuse me while I go and hug my children xx

Autism and society- is this as good as it gets?

What does it say about our society when a little boy has to wear a tshirt that pronounces he is autistic and asks for strangers to be kind to him? What treatment has this small person endured from adults in his world that has driven his parents to dress him this way?

I was in the carpark of a shopping centre with my children when I saw a little boy standing next to my car. We said hello and he smiled back at us. His mother raced up to catch him with her arms full of parcels, obviously worried. We said smiled hello and greeted each other. The tension shifted from her and her shoulders visibly dropped. It wasn’t until I was reversing from my spot that I noticed his shirt.

On the front said in bold print “I’m autistic”. On the back said “I’m autistic. Please be kind to me”. I wanted to jump out of my car and hug this woman (alas, not appropriate).  How stressed must she feel leaving the house to enjoy the sunshine? We live in a modern age, full of opportunity and information. How could our society arrive here? Is this as good as it gets? Please no. Let this be a message and a journey of repair.

This might sound like common sense, but I will continue anyhow:

  • Everyone has their own path and their own story,
  • Judgement breeds insecurity, resentfulness and sadness,
  • Kindness is the basis of everything- when stripped bare, all we really want is kindness,
  • Children learn from modelled behaviour,
  • Words hurt,
  • Love heals,
  • It is our communal responsibility to care for the children in our area,
  • People who complain about the state of our society’s problems better back themselves with direct action,
  • Small acts of kindness on a regular basis make us better people,
  • Better people make better communities,
  • Better communities make better societies,
  • Better societies make a better world.

I pledge to this little boy and his family. I will be kind. Thanks for the reminder.

A Christmas message: love thy neighbours and their children.

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A hard heart makes for a hard life

Squishy heart image

My babies are both crying. One is having a meltdown and one is crying in sympathy and hunger.

It seems trivial to me that coming inside from the deck could cause such a stir but here we are living the disappointment and emotion of it. My natural instinct would be to tell my toddler to calm down and just do as I ask while I go pick up my infant for a calming cuddle.

What I actually do is crouch down and offer my arms to my toddler. My embrace is refused. Okay then. I stay down and empathise, “Yes I know it’s hard to come inside with me when you want to be on the deck. It makes you upset hey”. I look into her eyes and see a little child having a big problem. “I love you bubba”. All attempts at nose wiping would be futile at this point so I stay still and wait. She runs around the kitchen. I wait, while offering words of reassurance. I go back onto the deck and retrieve three toys and deliver them. No? Alright then. After a fair bit of hoo ha, there is an opportunity for connection. I pick up my toddler and give a cuddle. There is a fair bit of wriggling involved, then my darling comes good. The little face is wiped. I put some music on, cuddle and breastfeed my infant. The storm is over and we are back on track. Phew.

If I had gone with my first reaction, I could have ended up rousing on an upset toddler who has to calm down by herself while she watches her mother rock and nurse her sibling. She would receive no understanding for her big feelings or problems. They would essentially be dismissed, even though they are big issues in her world. She would then be taken to play school where she has a big day, most likely without any sleep. She would come home tired, needing connection at a time when infants are renowned for needing a fair amount of mummy time and physical affection. You can picture the rest. Sure, my infant would have had her immediate needs met, but there are two babies in my house.

A soft heart creates a safety net for the people around me, especially the little ones. Being a gentle place to fall, having a ready embrace and offering tenderness is my key to a happy life. Oh, it’s not all beach balls and sunshine all the time at our place, but practice makes perfect. The more moments where we choose a soft heart builds a better way of being. A hard heart makes for a hard life, for everyone.

So this is my commitment to myself. Offer myself a soft heart. Then everyone else  in this crazy web of life with me will feel the love and be better off for it.