Category Archives: Journey of Wellness

Passion Pop for the Soul

Lately my life has needed some sweet bubble and fizz. I needed to refuel my spirit and return to my optimistic, energised self.

I was lucky to have a night out with my beloved. We went and saw Sir David Attenborough speak about his life.

How amazing. He got me thinking about many, many things. In particular, when looking back through the decades of one’s life we remember big events and also little moments of connection  that tie us to the world we live in.

Sir David spoke about a few minutes he spent lying on the forest floor with a mother and her two baby gorillas in Africa. They were all a jumble of tangled furry, limbs in the sunshine. Although this experience occurred decades earlier, he still expressed a boyish look of wonder when discussing it.

When I look at my life so far, I also have those moments to enjoy in my heart. Want to hear about a few?

I was squatting over an open latrine in the middle of some extremely remote Cambodian jungle early one morning when I look up to see two macaques sitting a couple of metres away watching me. Well, things were well umm, underway shall I say so I said good morning. They considered me and each other a while and chittered back before swinging around and calling out across the jungle from the tree above me. They returned often in the early mornings during my stay in that patch of jungle and it was glorious. We were all interested, connected and without fear (and I quickly got used to having some of these interactions with my tail in the breeze). Amazingly lucky.

The days my children were born and placed on my chest for the first time.

When I fell in love with their father.

When I walk through a burnt temperate forest the first spring after a fire. I make friends again with my favourite ground orchid species and wildflowers.

The first time I stood on a red sand hill in Hattah Kulkyne National Park in the Mallee and had uninterrupted 360 degree views of only wilderness and heard only the breeze and birdsong.

Yesterday, walking along the beach holding my beautiful daughter’s hand.

When you look back at your life, what moments will return you to wonder? What will make your heart sing?

How do we make time in a busy world for these fibres that weave our golden nests of joy? For these nests are our comfort in challenging times. They build our resilience during hardship.

How do we get our passion pop for the soul? Easy. Start with the simple enjoyment of the little stuff, plan for some big stuff and we will find ourselves fulfilled, connected and rejoicing in our luck to have stumbled upon this life.

In the closing part of Sir David’s discussions, what did he say? He quoted Louis Armstrong.

“I see trees of green…….. red roses too

I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more…..than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world”

Have a beautiful week. xx

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Turning parenting blunders into personal successes

Parenting blunders need not be obstacles, they can be opportunities for personal growth
Parenting blunders need not be obstacles, they can be opportunities for personal growth

As Captain Obvious would say, I am an imperfect person. There have times when I haven’t kept my cool and got shrill. It all came from fear. I find that I act out most when something is lacking (usually sleep) or I have overloaded myself (a tendency).

My children are little and deserve a peaceful mother. Raising my voice makes everyone feel crappy. Feeling remorseful about losing my cool is useless if I can’t back myself with more than just good intentions. This is personal work. It isn’t easy to share this with you, but maybe you can relate to my experience?

This is how I have turned parenting blunders into a plan for personal growth. My steps to becoming a better, more worry-free, peaceful human being are listed. It’s been working wonders.

  1. Let go. Will this matter in a year? Most of the time, my answer is no.
  2. Be honest with myself about why something is bothering me. What is the actual cause of my worry?
  3. Do something silly with my babies every day and have a giggle.
  4. Take care of myself better.
  5. Prioritize for a peaceful night. This means having dinner prepared so there’s no rush and bath my children early. If they are tired there is no need to race the clock if I am organized.
  6. Feel good so I’m nice to come home to. For me, this could just be a walk in the garden for 10 minutes with the children to brighten up before bath time.
  7. Have a cause. It’s amazing how little everyday worries seem to matter when I have an ear to the outside world. Personally, I care about animal welfare so am abreast of issues related to live animal export and factory farming.

    Having a cause is good for the soul.
    Having a cause is good for the soul.
  8. Do something I love most days. I love to play with my babies, cook, bushwalk and sew. Throughout the week, I usually do all of this. Here’s my quick sew for today. Pants for my little girl. I even put my Whistling Kite Collective label on the inside for her. I have a feeling these will be Christened her “bird pants” and there may be a special song involved when she wears them!

    Making a gift for someone special is fun
    Making a gift for someone special is fun and makes them feel important
  9. Don’t try to be an overachiever. Something has to give and it’s usually my sanity.
  10. Remember that I am exactly what my children need. By just being me, loving and respecting them as the individuals they are, they will thrive.
  11. Reward myself.

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It takes a village to raise a mother

"How's your motherhood travelling?"
“How’s your motherhood travelling?”

Welcome to the Whistling Kite Collective’s Journey of Wellness series.

Motherhood has been an incredible journey. One thing I have learnt, it takes a village to raise a mother. Catching up with people face to face has helped me enormously, especially in the early days when I felt like I was running downhill in the dark. My transition from woman to mother was made so much easier by being surrounded by the collective wisdom and support of others. Yes I could have done it alone, but who would want to? Being surrounded by others’ life experiences has expanded who I am and surely improved how I parent. Being able to reach out and pat someone on the back, snort into my drink, giggle at the ridiculous and cry with exhaustion has been so valuable.

This past week has been one long lesson in relationships. Each of my roles as a person has been challenged in some way.  I have felt a wide range of human emotion in a short period of time; sadness, empathy, grief, sympathy, joy, nervousness, shame, anger, excitement, shock and delight. I attended a funeral of a young, lovely person who passed very suddenly. I ran into a friend who is almost ready to birth her first baby. I spent time in nature with an amazing person and her wonderful little boy. I was lucky to spend a few hours with two dear friends that I have hardly seen since my second baby was born. When my first friend arrived at my door, I was so incredibly happy to see her I could have jumped on her! I settle for a hug and kiss. When my second friend arrived unexpectedly, I opened the door and burst into tears. My people, my village, hooray!

This week has reminded me how lucky I am. I have everything I want and need. Sure there could be more; or much, much less. Do my friends really know how special they are? Does my family? What about my favourite man? Do I really show these people how fabulous they are?

My dear friends and family near and afar have inspired me to be a better mother, to seek help, ask advice, laugh at myself, to rest when I can, to be grateful for my time and to enjoy the company of others. So, to my village, I thank you. I am blessed to be a part of something bigger, wholesome and very, very real. I also thank you internet, for connecting me to my worldwide village, where I can plug in at any time, catch up with loved ones around the globe and feel a part of it something tangible.

My favourite lessons from my village:

  1. Surround myself with positive, nurturing people.
  2. Listen and filter out any unhelpful or confusing information.
  3. Value myself and my inner voice.
  4. Quoting a very clever someone “You don’t need a book to tell you how to love your babies”.
  5. Value my people.
  6. Keep in touch.
  7. Say thank you.

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Lady Gaia, Please Grant Me…

Tired much?
Tired much?

The Context

When was the last time you were by yourself? Six out of the last eight weeks, at least one person in our home has been sick. Severity of each illness has ranged from the mildly irritating to requiring intervention at the emergency room. Life has not been dull and there has been very little rest.

My people have been very needy. So much so that I do not remember the last time I was alone. Therefore, this is my request to Mother Earth, just for the next little while.

The Request

Lady Gaia, please grant me, the

Energy- to keep putting one foot in front of the other

Humour- to see the funny side of accessorising my outfits with other peoples’ snot every day

Empathy- to put myself in someone else’s place, time and time again

Mindfulness- to enjoy little moments

Creativity- to provide a free range feeling on an inside budget (the public does not need exposure to this much snot or bodily product)

Recall- to remember why I am here

Clarity- to check myself, before I wreck myself

Imagination- to take myself to my favourite place in my head if things get a bit too much (stay tuned for this coming post in the Journey of Wellness series as this place is beautiful and amazing)

Insight- to know I always cope better when I put my earthly needs (like sleep, food and alone time) aside and focus on the requirements of my small people

Wisdom- to know this all shall pass

Integrity- to always live with respect and love

Purpose- a beautiful life.

The commitment

Lady Gaia, should you choose to grant me any of the above wishes, my family would be extremely grateful and I promise to always recycle and live more sustainably 🙂

She is a fast runner. You must be so proud…

Standard footwear for toddler wrangling...
Standard footwear for toddler wrangling…

Apart from the fact I lack the will, there is a very good (two year old) reason I can’t wear stilettos in public. Hmmm. Imagine some chase music. There is a bush turkey running for its life through the bush, closely followed by my shrieking toddler. Behind her is another bush turkey trying to keep up with its mate, closely followed by me. I’m trying to act cool, but sprinting after two birds and a toddler whilst wearing a maternity bra is not hilarious! Yes, any footwear other than flat sandals firmly strapped to my feet or a running shoe just won’t do for me at present.

Yes, my cherub is a runner; a fast one. She is at an adorable age where the world is unfolding for her in miraculous ways and almost everything is a joy to behold. Personal safety is not one of them. She can examine a dew-laden spider web for the longest time and describe it in the most beautiful way. There is innocence in her joy that makes my heart sing.

When she takes off without a moment’s notice though, I sigh on the inside and try to keep from freaking out! The parenting resources tell me this is a phase that will pass. I hope so.

I catch the toddler as the bush turkeys double back to the picnic tables (they are experienced with this situation of course). I crouch down and reconnect with her. She is so excited and instantly starts gesturing and telling me all about the fast bush turkey with the big tail that waggled as he ran. I find myself in a bind. I want to rouse and say “Don’t run away!” I also don’t want to stifle her curiosity and imagination. Really, for how long is she going to marvel at a bush turkey’s waggling bottom? What I do is this:

  1. Listen to her.
  2. Hold her and tell her I worry when she runs away and I would be very upset if she got hurt and I wasn’t there.
  3. Empathise and ask her to please stay with me when we are out.
  4. Describe simple consequences. For example, repeat offences will mean a swift car trip home!
  5. After the children are in bed, drink a large glass of wine.

Lately, she has been staying with me more often than not, but those occasions when she runs away make me crazy! The last time a lovely friend held my infant (and reassured me) while I collected my toddler off the ground. She was lying behind a parked car staging a protest… Ahhhh! Who knows what my cherub’s future holds? Maybe she will take part in some bush olympics against the animals. For now, I shall be in training…

All you need is love, really?

Is love all we need?
Is love all we need?

Can you relate to this? I have been up for what feels like days. I am covered in milky vomit, there is a persistent smell of poo and I simply cannot find the source (maybe it’s up my nose), the house is in disarray, dinner is half cooked, both little people are asking for me to fulfil their needs, I haven’t showered today. There are dust bunnies against the walls that I will soon have to name if they don’t meet the vacuum.

Then my toddler starts “acting out”. I know it’s to get my undivided attention. I know she has big feelings and needs connection. My infant needs some mummy love. I feel upset, overwrought and frustrated. All I feel like doing is opening the nearest door and running up the street like a screaming banshee.

I went to a parenting seminar that basically instructed me to use a naughty spot, followed by a time out if my child didn’t comply with my requests. This didn’t work for me. What works for me is love, just love. I know it sounds unbelievably simplistic. When I want to run, or cry, or get angry, I am teaching myself to take a deep breath and give love. My goal in the moment is to get through it with empathy and love. My goal for each day is to go to bed with a happy heart.

You know what? I can see the difference my unconditional love makes to my children. They open up, relax, share more of themselves with me, tell me things, “act out” less, want to make me happy and sleep better.  When a moment gets a bit too tense the following is working for us at the moment:

  1. We breathe like Puff the Magic Dragon. Big breathe in through the nose and a slow exhale out through the mouth. In the early days we practiced this when we were all happy and relaxed. I have noticed that my toddler is now doing this herself without my prompting. It works for me too and we all feel better.
  2. I get down to their height and tell my children I love them.
  3. I offer some physical affection. I say “Can I please cuddle you?” Note the language of me giving love, not requesting it…
  4. I take it easy on myself and prioritise for a better moment. I have been known to call their father at this time and say “What would you like for dinner, thai or fish and chips?”

Not all my parenting challenges can be solved with a cuddle and a chat, but genuine interest and love gets me most of the way there. The only way I can give unconditional love to my children is to give it to myself. Being a parent is challenging. Some days I approach it with zen-like mastery, others I have to remind myself to breathe. Yes, I am flawed, but I try to remind myself that my family deserves the best of me. I must love myself (more on how I am trying to achieve this in the Journey of Wellness series- stay tuned). So really, I think maybe yes, all you need is love…