Monday, September 26

Plans and viruses

Wow, time has passed.

I'm not quite sure how so much time passed... but that's always been a problem here at Bridget's Flame. 

So...these many weeks...what have I been doing? I promised myself more art time and I have been doing that, I've also been pondering. And musing. And considering. There has been a little hatching of plans and dreams. There has also been nearly three weeks of illness. A 'virus' then a secondary infection causing pharyngitis.  Boring. And exhausting.

Today I am tired.  The quack doctor says there will be some recovery time needed and it will be a couple more weeks before my energy returns.  This frustrates me.

So, I'm trying to listen to the messages my body is sending.  Rest, relax, recover.  I'm trying to be easy on myself and not give in to tantrums because I can't do the things I want to do just yet.  I'm trying to learn the lesson that I've been avoiding learning for months...years. I realised the other day that this has happened before, a few times in fact, at the equinox. It's as though the earth in balance highlights my own lack of it and sidelines me.  I'm learning that I can't do everything.  Also, it's ok that I can't do everything.  It's ok to stop sometimes. 

Clearly I'm a slow learner.

As we begin Spring and move towards Summer here in the Southern Hemisphere I've decided to make some changes.  The planning continues (in a very relaxed way) and things are going to be very different...and better.

Wednesday, August 10

Five things that get me through the days

I’m not always very good at self-care. I’m well aware I’m not alone in this so I won’t lament too strongly. As I get older though, I’ve started to recognise some really basic things I need to do to get me through the days. That doesn’t mean I always do them, I just know what they are and I try to do them as much as I can.  Here they are…

1. Meditation.  I’ve spoken before about the fact that, even as a meditation teacher, my practice can be erratic. Even so, I KNOW with every fibre of my being that I need to do this every day, even just 5 minutes is better than not at all. It is the rock that supports my little body/mind temple and without it things are very wobbly indeed.

2. Green Smoothies. Yeah, yeah I know, they’re a bit of a trend right now, but I was introduced the world of the green smoothie about 12 months ago (by my kinesiologist) and I can absolutely swear that when I’m having my daily smoothie I am a happier and more energetic gal than when I’m not having them. I’m busy and I don’t always eat properly, the smoothie ensures a good dose of health in a glass and I can get away with a glass of wine for dinner instead of food (oh come on, I’m kidding…kind of).  On work days I make it before I dash out the door, pour it into a ‘to go’ cup and have it in the car on the drive to the big smoke. Then my friends, I set the frickin’ world on fire. Seriously. Ask anyone.

3. Yoga. I spend a lot of time at the computer, my work depends on it and so does my business.  I seize up. Yoga fixes that, I’m not a yogi in any big way, I don’t go to a class but I do yoga stretches during the day and a session with a DVD a couple of times a week.  Good for the body and the mind and ace at keeping me flexible enough to…I dunno... do bendy stuff.

4. Creativity. I’m only just getting back to my arty creativity after a pretty long break but I’ve come to realise that it is really, really important to me.  When I draw (or paint or create in some way) I become absorbed. I’m no longer caught up in the monkey mind that plagues me a lot of the time. It’s a like a kind of busy meditation, I get so lost in my art I lose track of time.  I don’t think about work, or the business, or the phone calls I need to make, or the bills I have to pay, or the people that take up way too much space in my mind for no damn good reason. I relax. Apparently I’m more pleasant to be around as well. Who knew?

5. Spending time with Tom and our two girls and smooching the velvety nose of my puppy Jack.  No brainer really, these three people/one dog are my crack cocaine and I need a hit every single day. When we’re apart my equilibrium is seriously compromised and I become fractious. You wouldn’t like me when I’m fractious.

So that’s it, five little things. Obviously there are more things I enjoy and need on a regular basis - nature, exercise, Dr Who… but really, the five mentioned above are the things that keep me alive and breathing and functioning in the world without getting locked up.  They don’t cure all my dysfunctions but they’re a good start.

Tuesday, August 2

Allowing Creativity

For a long time I haven't exercised my creative side...actually, that's not entirely true, I have been creative, just not artistically creative in the way I used to be.  I'm not beating myself up over this, I've had a lot to do, raising children, working, running a business, being a wife, looking after a home, keeping a blog (albeit erratically).  But...my easel lies empty...my paints have dried up...my art supplies box gathers dust.  Over time I've had little whispers from the part of me that misses making art. Sometimes I've answered soothingly that one day I'll get back to it, sometimes (most times) I've just ignored it.  Like many ignored things the whispers became more insistent...so that they were not so much whispers anymore as irritated hisses, then shouts, then heart aches and lustful thoughts of long afternoons abandoned to acrylic, oil and pastel. 

A couple of months ago I decided that there was never going to be a convenient time to get arty again.  There would always be something to do, someone needing my attention and/or a job to be done. I couldn't put it off any longer, I had to create, but I've forgotten how. I struggled to see where it would fit in my life nowadays...I still don't really have an answer to that.  What I did decide however, is that I was going to drop some other things for a while and give that time to art. I looked for inspiration and found it here and joined up, being an EssCee* seems like a calling.

Then I decided that for the month of August I would take a little break from social media, let my friends out there in the Twitter, Facebook and Google+ lands miss me a little and devote some time to getting all painty and gluey.

So now what?  Today I will pull out my art supplies and see what's there (and still usable).  I may shop for replacements. I may doodle a little in an art journal I bought several years ago that still lies pristine and untouched. I may rummage through my collage images and I may actually begin a project.  I'll see how the spirit moves me...but it will be baby steps, all the way.

I’m hoping this creative break also includes more blogging. 

*S.C. Spiritual Creative

Monday, August 1

Celebrations

Whether you’re in the Southern Hemisphere (Imbolc) or the Northern Hemisphere (Lammas), blessings to you.

It is also our wedding anniversary and St Sofia’s day…it’s a busy one.

Sláinte.

Wednesday, July 27

Halfway

We’re now more than halfway through 2011.  No idea how that happened.

I thought it might be a good time to revisit my plans/goals for 2011.  In January I decided my word for the year was SIMPLIFY.  I wrote about it here.  I also mentioned a ‘20 things’ list I’d made for that.  Now, for my benefit more than anything (sorry to bore you, feel free to click away), I’m going to revisit that list and see how it’s going (I’m not doing all 20 today).

1. Reduce working hours. I have reduced by one day a fortnight. This isn’t enough and I am discussing it further with my manager when he returns from overseas at the end of August. My goal is to work 3 days a week.

2. Declutter – own less.  Working very gradually on this, have decluttered the wardrobe, some kitchen cupboards and a chest of drawers – this item needs more work. A lot more work.

3.  Reduce online presence.  I’m now only a member of one forum group however I have added Google+ to my social networking.  I do use Hootsuite now which keeps it all together but G+ isn’t on there yet.

4. Meal plan, bulk shop and bulk cook. Ummm….no.

5. Create a household folder – contacts, buzz lists, account numbers and insurance details etc. Nope.

6. Unsubscribe from newsletters, websites etc. Yes! Yes I have done this for all but a couple of favourites. Go me.

7. Combine online stuff – Google reader, email, photos, music etc – one log in would be nice. I changed my personal email to Gmail and do a lot in Google now which is good.  I haven’t moved photos from Flickr to Picasa or anything.  This is a work in progress because I’m not actually enjoying Gmail very much so it could all change.

8.  Bundle phones, internet, mobiles etc. Some of it is and some of it isn’t, I can’t decide if I really want all my eggs in one basket despite the apparent savings you make by doing so.

9.  Stop buying stationery I don’t need. *Whistles and wanders away to look at fascinating mark on the wall….*

10.  Set up automatic payments for ALL bills.  Nearly there with this one, still a couple to organise.

Ok, that’ll do. I’ll give myself 6/10 for this effort and to be fair to myself I think that if I can achieve number 1 then a lot of the others will become more achievable.

Tuesday, July 26

Melbourne Belated

I mentioned here and probably somewhere else on my wide interweb presence that the girls and I were going to Melbourne in the first week of the school holidays to hang out with my youngest sister (Fiona – known as Fi or Feebs) and her family.
I’m finally getting round to writing a brief, mostly pictorial, post about the trip.
There was some of this….
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…and a little of this.
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We took the female children to Build-a-Bear for some of this…
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…yes, I know…it’s a dragon not a bear, his name is Norbert.
This one is a bear though…although you can’t tell yet because it’s still unstuffed.
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Then we belatedly celebrated Hannah’s birthday…
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We also went and saw this…
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…well actually we saw the whole exhibition not just the banners but there was a ‘no photography’ rule in there so the best I could do was the banners.
And on the final day I took the four older children to see Harry Potter 3D at the IMAX theatre.  It was the highlight for Aislin (here in Quidditch robes).
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All in all a busy, but extremely satisfying and enjoyable, week.

Sunday, July 24

The most honest post I’ve ever written

…possibly the longest too.

For those of you that know me you’ll be aware that aside from my ‘day job’ I run a business.  I teach meditation and run personal and spiritual development workshops for women and do a little bit of business coaching.   For a while I’ve been thinking I need to get more serious about my own business so I’ve been working on a website and blog and creating a Facebook page and generally immersing myself in getting the whole thing online (cos I love me some online).

It has totally sucked. I’ve hated every minute of it (well maybe not the messing with code, I like the nerdy stuff). The rest though? Despised it.  I started and stopped and wrote stuff then scrapped it and wrung my hands and gnashed my teeth and cried tears of blood over the whole damn thing.

I just couldn’t do it in a way that pleased me.  At first I thought I was just being a perfectionist (something I’ve been accused of before) but I really didn’t believe that (on this occasion at least).  It was just all hateful to me, I was unhappy with the content, the images, the general feel and most of all the vision I had. I looked at other online stuff and found myself wanting (comparison is never a good thing).  I couldn’t work out what was wrong.

Then I remembered this...

Shopping

This is Aislin shopping a few weeks ago, in full Hogwarts regalia including her wand.  When she got out of the car dressed like this I tentatively asked her if she was sure she wanted to wear her robes to shop.  She looked at me as if I was mad and said ‘yes, of course I do!’. And so off we went, muggles people stared, she didn’t give a hoot. Because right now, that’s just who she is.  So wise at 8 years old.

This afternoon, while wallowing in internet misery, I had an epiphany. The reason this work on the business is making me so unhappy and uncomfortable is that it’s not ME.  I have spent so long learning how to do this and looking at how others do it that somewhere along the way I lost sight of me.  This is the same me that conducts a perfectly successful business offline…but I was unconsciously trying to be someone different online.  Where along the way did I become so confused about my identity? At what juncture did I start to believe that the real me wasn’t good enough to grow my business further or that I had to be different to appeal online? I dunno.

I also realised that over the years, the most ‘me’ I’ve been online is right here on this blog. The one I don’t tell people about…HELLO!! I’m here!!  Posts have been erratic for a while now…but it’s still here and it’s still mine and it’s still home.

Ironically one of my business messages is about authenticity and here I was not taking my own advice…but let’s just skim over that for now *blush*. 
So here it is, the truth of me (at least some of it). Who I am and who I’m not…
  • I’m deeply spiritual, but I’m not about angels and unicorns.  I think both are cool, but they’re not my thing. You go ahead though.
  • I’m a bit of a hippy, but I don’t do tie dye…I’m lovin’ it on you tie dye gals…but it ain’t me – my hippy-ness is more internal. Internal tie dye if you will.
  • I meditate but I’m not a zealot, at the same time as I’m teaching you how to do it and singing its praises my own practice falters. This is my truth with meditation.
  • I sometimes swear – yes, even ‘fuck’. You don’t like it? Thanks for stopping by anyway. Ciao.
  • I read a lot of spiritual and self help books.  I rarely put any of it into practice. I like them though.
  • Except Eckhart Tolle…sorry Oprah …that dude sends me to sleep.
  • My humour can be both sarcastic and ironic. I’m not sorry about that.
  • I don’t give a crap about RSS and SEO and Google analytics or any of that. I care about people.
  • I’m not a perfect mother. I  love my children with every breath in my body but I get impatient and frustrated by them.  Sometimes I let them watch more TV than is appropriate because when I’m busy it makes my life easier. They have eaten baked beans for dinner more than once when I've been trying to work. I’m so tempted now to back this up with positive things I do for my children so you won’t hate me…but I’m not going to.
  • I worry people will hate me…or judge me…or criticise me.  See above. 
  • I’m not a perfect wife. But I’d take a bullet for him and fully intend on seeing out my days in his precious company.
  • I sometimes read and watch horror and sci fi (quite a lot in fact). I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare…but at times I have the literary taste of a 14 year old boy.  Judge away if that’s what you like to do. 
  • I have my own brand of spirituality…it’s a kind of Buddhist/Pagan/Celtic/Catholic thing and despite everything you’ve seen here I really am a compassionate person. 
  • I want happiness.  I want you to have it too.
You may be seeing some more businessy type stuff from me from time to time. It will be real.  It will be the authentic me.  It will make no apology for the fact I’m a flawed human and it will not try to portray me as some kind of blended personification of the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Ghandi. There will be no rainbows, unicorns or angels (I may occasionally mention dragons).  It will be me in all my glorious, disrespectful, irreverent, imperfection.

If you don’t like it you don’t have to read it, I won’t be offended.

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post.