Take a break

I have just got back from my silent retreat. From Friday night until Sunday morning we were silent.

No talking, nothing. I spent the weekend with a group of people who did not talk.

And it was a wonderful break.

time and silence

But although it was a break from talking, it was also a break from other things too.

It was a break from social media. A break from email. A break from making polite conversation. A break from cooking, cleaning and being responsible for others.

But it is not normal life.

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capacity and how it looks half way there

It is July, we are over halfway through the year, and I figure it is as good a time as any to see how my word for the year is travelling. What have I learned? How has it developed? Where do I still need to grow?

So in no particular order here are some thoughts on ‘capacity‘ my word for the year:

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be present

Recently I was treated to a massage. It was wonderful and relaxing, and also very hard!

My mind kept wandering. I was in a peaceful, relaxing environment and I kept thinking about things that needed to be done, conversations that need to happen, and plans for the future (albeit just dinner). I struggled to be fully present and fully unwind. At one stage the treatment therapist had to gently shake my arm to try to get me to relax.

I feel like I have been in the habit of multitasking for so long now, that I can no longer focus on just one thing. I load the washing while changing the beds and cleaning the bathroom. I read on my iPad, while I watch TV. I wash dishes, while I prepare and serve the girls dinner, and I talk to my mum on the phone. As I type this I have five other tabs open on my web browser.

I know multitasking is sometimes useful, and as a mother, often a necessity. But I have a feeling if I can’t actually turn off the multitasking part of my brain I might possibly have a problem here (but while you think on that let me just close those five other tabs!)

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on journeys and destinations

I’ve been thinking a fair bit recently about journeys and destinations.

I love going on a trip somewhere.  I prepare for weeks in advance. Then I hop on a plane or in a car, I settle in and enjoy the journey, (or sometimes endure it) and eventually I reach my destination in a new country or new town. I am wide-eyed with excitement taking it all in, and then when I reach where I will sleep that night, that’s when I breathe a sigh and I rest and I relax.

I am struck by a paradox at the moment of feeling like I have reached a destination and yet simultaneously I am on a journey.

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the comparison trap

I have a friend who works with women at risk. Her job is important and valuable, she is literally at the front line with women in dangerous situations.

I have a friend who is a teacher, she is educating the next generation, sowing into them and helping them grow into the men and women of tomorrow.

I have a friend who is a pastor, and as a part of her job she is involved in visiting those who are unwell and in need, in our community.

And then there is me, I am a just a mother.

comparison

See what I did there. I just made what I do less important, than all my friends.

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on chocolate, baths, and capacity

As Mr travels overseas regularly, I am often left to manage house, children and daily life by myself. One of the stories of me ‘managing’ that has been retold ad nauseam is the day I flooded the bath.

I was sitting outside eating dinner with the girls, and so I decided to run the bath for them for when they were finished. Mr calls from overseas, I sit on the back patio and have a chat, the girls have a chat, we clean up dinner, I head inside and … water!

From the laundry, covering the floorboards down the hall, creeping into the carpet on the girls bedrooms and making a valiant effort to get to all the electronics in Mr’s study. I called my dad (my hero) and after emptying the linen cupboard of all the towels we own to soak up the mess, I manage to get the girls to bed.

That’s the thing about capacity, when you reach it, you need to turn off the tap, or there is overflow. And that can make all sorts of mess that can affect other people and take a while to clean up.

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on lies and truth

words

What are the words that have been spoken over you? What are the words that you have said to yourself, or others have said over you that you have believed?

The words that are the most insidious are the “not” words. They don’t even have the dignity to be something, they are defined simply by what they are not!

Not pretty, not thin, not happy, not creative, not clever, not athletic, not fashionable, not a part of our group, not marriage material, not a good friend.

What is wrong with our society that we prefer to define people by what they are not rather than what they are?

Words have power.

I am a poet, a linguist, an English teacher, I believe absolutely in the power of words to define our identity.

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