I Forgot

 

It’s December 1st and the year is coming to a swift close. I’ve almost finished Yoga Teacher Training with just a few more assignments to go. The practical assessments and exam are all done – phew. I’ve been trying to write lists to keep a track of all the things I have to do – I had written quite the list of things to do once my assessments were over. I’m a week into that list and have crossed off a lot, although they are quickly replaced by other tasks almost immediately.

Today I realised that I forgot to hand in certain school forms that were due this morning, I forgot to sign my name on the kinder christmas cleaning roster for next week, I forgot to take the Pixie to school transition today, and I forgot to submit the girls’ school uniform order… my mind is officially in overflow mode! I had a moment of pure internal frenzy when I realised all these things at once about an hour ago.

Pausing. Recalibrating. Beginning again.

Now we have an accidental afternoon at home, and the smallest is asleep, I’m going to race around the house to tidy and put things away. I’ll tackle the breakfast dishes, the dirty sheets. I’m carrying my notebook around permanently adding and subtracting from my list as I go.

We all have so much going on at this time of year, but there is also that element of excitement, the hint of a summery breeze, the knowledge that school holidays, sun, sand and a moment of rest are all just around the corner.

Travel light through this season, friends.

Weekend Bounty

Today was a hard slog, after spending the weekend in beautiful South Gippy. I ran a squillion errands, did the food shop, bought vata-reducing tea (!), dropped kids here there and everywhere, drove around so the baby could have a sleep (seeing as she refuses to sleep anywhere else in the day time anymore), went to Spotlight (that is a story in itself), washed dishes, put a load of clothes in the wash, put my pyjamas on at 3.45pm and closed all the curtains in case someone walked past, then got dressed again at 4pm because I felt slovenly. Then I started on dinner (think I’ve finally nailed a veggie bolognese sauce with sweet potato and lentils).

We brought back mountains of homegrown food: broadbeans, lemons (lots), broccoli, cabbage and various herbs. This week I have to decide what to do with it all. We ate all the broadbeans and broccoli last night, lightly blanched with roasted sweet potato, hommus, avocado and a jasmine rice/quinoa blend. The perfect throw together meal. The cabbage and herbs will get thrown in amongst other veg and eaten over the next couple of days.

My main challenge now is the lemons. I’ll make lemon bliss balls (always with oats instead of cashews due to no nut policies at school), lemon cake (maybe this one). I’ll have lemons every day in hot water, lemon juice on untraditional dahl, lemon in our hommus, and I’ll still have so many left over – if you know me and want some, please let me know! One of the things I love most about eating seasonally is discovering new recipes and planning out what to do with a glut of various things. Yesterday before we came home Mum cooked up a huge bowlful of artichokes, freshly picked from the garden an hour prior. They. Were. Delicious. We had to google how to prepare them, and now I know for next time!

Today I was feeling good while I moved through the morning tasks, but this afternoon my mood dipped a bit. I already miss the hills from the weekend. The quiet, the space. The familiar holiday come down, even though we were only gone five days. I opened our backdoor and tried to emulate the feeling, the flowing movement from in to out and out to in as the girls donned their gumboots and traipsed around the garden and came and went as they pleased. I know people say you can live a life connected to nature in the suburbs, and I believe to an extent this is absolutely true, but it is definitely not the same as life outside the city where you have to work with nature in order to survive. Here, if we ignore nature, nothing really happens that is drastic enough to impact our day to day life. There, the garden would swallow you in an instant if left untended.

Do you know what I mean?

Checking In…

I’m feeling the need to check in briefly. I’ve got over thirty tabs open on my computer, a scatty brain, three draft blog posts that I have been working on over the past few weeks and a fast beating heart. Nothing is coming easily at the moment. I’m constantly perplexed at how busy life is… and I’m forever fighting a losing battle against it.

It’s times like these that I absolutely ache to run away, to pack our bags and throw things in the car and head off into the sunset. The urge to run away from this uncomfortable, anxious, overwhelming feeling is strong.

I’ve just put the smallest to bed for a nap. The other two are at school and kinder and I’ve got 45 minutes to spare to have lunch and a moment to myself before kinder pick-up. I spent the morning playing blocks, making bliss balls, folding the washing, putting the washing away, and I’ve also put on four loads of washing (and the dirty basket is still overflowing). I’ve changed the sheets on our bed, picked up what seemed like hundreds of pairs of shoes from the floor (so many shoes), and drank half a coffee… cold. Some yarn arrived via post this morning and I’ve got a list of birdie said orders to finish. I have a meeting tomorrow about a new project I’ve been asked to work on by a community health organisation I worked with last year.  I have an assignment due on Sunday as well as two teaching blocks to practise so I don’t humiliate myself in front of my peers at yoga on the weekend.

Yoga Teacher Training is at the intense end, with the final three months focussing on practicing teaching, assessments, an exam and I’m also (drum roll) completing my pre-natal yoga teacher training in a few weeks as a little extra (because I didn’t have enough to do). Although it feels intense, I’m thrilled to think I will be a qualified 350 hour Level 1 Yoga Teacher come December this year. And trained in pre-natal to top it off. Exciting times!

In saying that, I can feel myself yearning for simpler things. For time at home that doesn’t have my head spinning with all the things I have to do. With juggling priorities. It will be nice to have a little break from studying and for a new chapter of our lives to begin.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather, cool drinks on my back deck, trips to the beach, time to cook and walk around with bare feet, time to practise yoga without it feeling like homework.

Spring is certainly a busy time, although I heard someone say that the other day and it made me realise I kind of skipped that part of Winter where you’re meant to move inwards and enjoy some reflection. So now I’m off to do something really naughty – lay horizontal on the couch and read my book for 15 minutes. Or maybe even 20…

What are you busy with at the moment?

Bringing in the Weekend

It is a sunny winters day today. The girls are on the couch watching Play School in their pyjamas and I’m gearing up to clean their bedrooms. The smallest is sitting next to me doing some drawing and intermittently yelling at me if I don’t take a texta lid off fast enough. I’m finishing my luke warm coffee and knowing my time sitting is coming to an end.

Today we’re doing some tidying, meal planning, and a few other bits and pieces before heading to our local Winter Solstice later this afternoon. Things have been incredibly busy lately with both KB and I writing reports or marking for school/uni and we’ve barely had time to take a breath. I’m not someone who thrives on busy-ness, I much prefer white space in life and do almost anything I can to preserve it. Lately that has been impossible, contradicting almost everything I’m learning at Yoga Teacher Training! But it has provided me with a different platform to practice my learnings, and I suppose a window into what normal life would be like for many of my future students, who may or may not have an awareness of the importance of creating space in life, let alone the tools to do it.

So I have a toddler on my lap now, precariously lashing out at my keyboard, which means this post is coming to an early end. I’m off to tidy, potter and think about how I can carve out some time (because to carve out time is sometimes necessary when finding time is difficult) in these remaining short days to think about how to move forward as our days begin to stretch out and lengthen once again.

What are you letting go of this Winter Solstice? What are you moving towards?

Autumn, Hello + Practising Non-Attachment

 

It’s late and a school night, but I’ve been trying to get here for days (weeks, months) and there’s no time like the present. It’s Easter Monday here. This afternoon we arrived home from Mum’s new hideaway, an upgrade from the caravan we have known and loved for so many years. The new place can fit us all in (my three sisters and our respective partners and children) with space leftover to run and play and plant vegetables and think and walk. The new place is deliciously isolated, on a long dirt road, tucked away in a valley surrounded by farmland, rolling hills, big serious clouds, a farmer called Kevin and not much else.

Over the four days we picked the last of the tomatoes and armfuls of lemons from the lemon tree which was absolutely dripping with fruit. We walked around the property, we talked, we drank wine. Simple things like putting the children to bed seemed so much easier than usual. The dishes, the washing (most likely because Mum kept doing it). Folding things and keeping things in order. The carpet was new and the house was neat. The evenings seemed to stretch on for hours. I tried my best not to whinge on my way back to the city. I tried not to look around at the cars and the houses and the dull ring of smog around the horizon and feel as though something had ended. I’ve been trying my best to practise non-attachment in my daily life. The more I read about it, the more I agree with Leo Babauta, and find that many of my own personal struggles arise from being strongly attached to something, be it a person, an idea, a concept or a structure.

So when my Mum grabbed longingly at my sister, and told us she was going to miss us so much and have separation anxiety when we left, and when I too began to feel that familiar flatness of a good time coming to an end, I tried to let go. I tried to accept that the weekend was finished, and that it was time for the next thing, the now. Yes, it’s true that my daily life currently incorporates stressors which were greatly lessened while away this weekend, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t many other things to be grateful for in amongst it. And, let’s face it, no matter how fast technology advances I’m not going to have the ability to rewind or fast forward time any day soon, so acceptance rather than struggle seems to be the logical way forward, don’t you think?

When we came home and I felt swallowed up by our little house and the walls began to encroach on my space, I took a moment to remind myself of all of this. I brought out the lemons we had collected over the weekend. The girls sat up at the kitchen bench while I made lemon butter. Bird helped me roll oats, coconut, honey, and lemon into lemon bliss balls to share with her class tomorrow as it was her birthday over the school holidays. I made some bread rolls with chia and sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a pot of tea. I packed lunch boxes with homemade rolls lathered in lemon butter, lemon bliss balls, carrot sticks, dates, strawberries and hommus.

Tonight we watched the most magical sunset from our back deck, it was all shades of purple, pink and blue. We all got up from the dinner table (dahl, no surprises there!) I held the baby up and she pointed at it, repeating “Wow!”. The Pixie stood on a chair and shouted and pointed out street lights lighting up across our little suburban valley.

They aren’t the rolling hills of the country-side, but we are lucky enough to call this patch ours.

2017

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The last of the tinsel has been swept away and those airy-fairy days between Christmas and New Year, when you don’t know what day or time it is, have come to an end. 2017 is here and, quite frankly, it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Last night, KB and I got the girls to bed and set ourselves up on our front deck, with a candle lit, a glass of prosecco for me and an ale for him, some nibbles and our notebooks. Over the past few weeks I wondered if we should invite some friends over, or get out and about on New Years Eve, but as we sat there together and reflected on the past year, and on what we want to achieve this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to be spending the night, or a better person to be spending it with.

2016 was a big year for us. My grandpa died on my birthday and I was there to witness – my first real experience of death and it knocked my socks off in the saddest of ways, Bird started school, the Pixie started kinder, my Mum broke her leg, the baby turned one, KB started a new job, I worked on a six month community development project, I walked 30km for Fred Hollows, KB began training for the rip swim

To cut a long story short, we were busy and I was emotional for the majority of the year (KB is the stable, sensible one in moments of overwhelm – I am pure chaos).

For us, 2017 is all about toning things down a notch and a fresh perspective. It’s about being authentic to our own truth, in our day to day activities as well as our broader life choices and actions. It’s about maintaining calm.

We do have some exciting things on the horizon. KB is starting a new position at work, dropping down to four days a week so he can be at home with the girls one day a week. Which means, with any luck, that I will be writing on Thursdays! We will see how that goes, and whether or not we can afford it, but we’ve decided to give it a red hot go. We have been working towards it for a long time, and we’re both so excited for him to have the chance to have some more family time, and for me to have some creative time. I have also enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training and start in a month. It’s something I have wanted to do for years, but to be honest, I never thought I would actually commit. I’m hoping it will help me find some clarity in this crazy modern life we lead.

Other than that we plan to move house this year, and we are slowly but determinedly decluttering and preparing. It feels a bit like shedding: old things, old thoughts, and stuff that has come to the end of its time with us. More on stuff in another post.

Last year I wrote out a long list of things I wanted to do in 2016. I got bored of the list fairly quickly, although I did manage to tick most of them off. In the spirit of toning things down, I’m not writing a big huge list this year. We already have plenty to do with all of the above, so I’ll leave it at that for now and go with the flow.

What do you have planned for 2017?

Running the Xmas Gauntlet

Processed with VSCO with a7 presetIt’s the 11th of December and, up until Friday night, I had done absolutely nothing (zip, zilch) to prepare for Christmas. Friday night I went to bed at 7.30pm with a cup of herbal tea, a piece of dark chocolate and my laptop, and finally ordered some Christmas presents. For children, my first stop for gifts is always here. For the girls I like to stick to the little poem: something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read. It helps to keep things simple and, for me, takes away some of the overwhelm and decision making.

I like to make most of our gifts for extended family and my niece (and this year, my new nephew!) and (if you’re family, stop reading here!) this year I’m trying my hand at these for adults and my usual combo of these and these and perhaps these for kids. Our family have really downsized our present regime over the past few years and now just give small token gifts to show our love and appreciation. My only issue with the adult pressie that I want to make is that I can’t find pine resin here in Australia, and I also don’t know if it is sustainable even if I were to find it… if anyone knows what I’m talking about and has any tips, please email me or comment below! I’m planning on making a little gift set of perhaps two or three for each couple/adult in the fam, just as a token, and because I’m sick of my usual gift of granola!

Yesterday we finally got a tree so I’m feeling like we are back on track. I also sewed a pair of shorts, finished a geranium dress for a friend and tidied my sewing stuff. I just have a few more birdie said orders to get through before I can close up shop for Christmas.

Christmas can be such an overwhelming time. I have friends who feel so much pressure to make things and be all homemade and festive, but they work outside the home and have children and the juggle is stressful. I have friends who spend a lot of money on gifts and give to a lot of people. We all have our own challenges and stressors this time of year. For me, it has been a slowly evolving thing: building traditions within my own family unit, figuring out what works best for us, what we can afford, what we enjoy, what we are and aren’t prepared to do. Figuring out what Christmas means to us, as a non-religious, anti-consumerist family. What is left for us here if we don’t believe in God (in the Christian sense) and we are worried by consumerism!?

For us, it’s simple: family. Time to share and enjoy each other. Time to celebrate giving small and meaningful gifts, and teaching our children about people who are less fortunate than us. A girlfriend of mine has been such a role model for me in this area. Every year she gets her children to choose and wrap and deliver a present to someone in need (whether it is for a shopping centre Christmas tree or other charity). She’s done it with her children well before they would have understood what they were doing, and now it’s so ingrained in them it is something they naturally think about and have empathy for.

I’m not always good at keeping things simple, or sticking to what (I think) we believe in at this time of year. I get stressed and run from here to there. I get caught up with the Jones’s. I do! But I try to patiently bring myself back to my own values and ideals. I guess this happens a lot in life generally, not just at Christmas.

I have more to say on this topic but this will do for today. I’m sitting in our front yard in the shade of the trees while the girls play with dirt and cockatoo feathers. I’m needed to assist with a cup of gum leaf tea so I had better get back to it. I hope all your Christmas plans are going well, if you choose to celebrate it!

Wintery Things

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We took a drive out to a beautiful pine forest yesterday and proceeded to wander around it with some friends. I didn’t think I liked pine trees very much, always favouring the familiar pale greens and greys of the Australian bush over the grim regiment of large pines. Yesterday though, these slender ladies made quite an impression on me.

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