I have a love-hate relationship with home shows and home magazines. I love to be inspired by people’s creativity and the artistic expression of their own personality, but I don’t want to be drawn into the trap of buying things because they are just so “now”. This meant that for a long time I swung to far to the “do nothing” side of things with my home decoration, but now I love to seek out things that are an expression of me and my family, and that create the space that we need. This is different for every family but for us it needs to be peaceful, welcoming and comfortable.
I recently helped my sister move house. She has moved a lot closer which is wonderful, and due to a number of trying circumstances she needed a good deal of assistance over moving weekend.
I love my sister’s sense of style, it is quirky and eclectic with lots of colour and a generous helping of fun and cheeky kitsch. While my house is more muted tones and my sense of style is different, I always feel happy to go to her place, not just for the company, somehow the decor cheers me too.
So it was very interesting to be involved in the deconstructing of her old home, and see it once more become just a house. Clinical and impersonal, devoid of the touches of life, and the colour that made it into a home. And conversely to experience the creation of a new home, from a blank canvas, to watch her things and her family fill the new space, and suddenly it gained that little something it was lacking, colour, life and vibrancy. Even though there are still boxes to unpack and rooms not yet arranged, it went in the space of that weekend from house to home.
It was a sobering reminder to me that home is about your people, it is about your expression of who you are as a family, and it becomes a place to welcome others.
Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity.
I love the quote above from W H Auden.
Maybe it is because Mr just turned 40, and maybe it is because I’m next? (Technically I say he is a year older than me, but in reality it’s 6 months!)
But I do feel like I have been going through a process of discovery and acceptance.
I’ve been away.
Consciously, deliberately, as a circuit breaker.
Firstly from social media. I found there were things being shared that I just couldn’t handle. I know myself, I know my limits, and it just wasn’t worth checking, so I didn’t.
I have been away.
Consciously, deliberately, for celebration.
Mr has just had a very significant birthday. And my naturally introvert husband chose to spend time with me, then our little family, and then the extended family. We have had a week of celebration. A week of connection, a week of creating memories and remembering where we have come from.
I have been away, and it has been absolutely wonderful.
And now I feel strong enough, and refreshed enough to come back.
So for those of you that were looking for my posts, I’m sorry but I just had to take a break.
What about you, where do you need to take a break?
And the even more important question “why do you need to take a break?”
Sometimes getting away can be the very best thing, sometimes it is just the thing to give you the strength to come back.
On the silent retreat, I got some time and space to write poetry, which I haven’t done in a while and also time to rework some works in progress.
Here is a piece from that weekend:
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.
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.
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:
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!)