Lessons from mouse pooh and machine gun fire going off in my head

So last week my youngest was a bit off his food and I had this feeling that he was coming down with something. This led me to think that maybe I wouldn’t be able to go to work.

For two days he seemed OK but not great. I went to work one day and that night he had there’s no way to say this delicately a ‘wet fart’ and I knew then I most likely wouldn’t be going to work the next morning. With that at the back of my mind I gave the boys a bath and started to get them ready for bed. As a precaution I had been leaving bed mats around the house (as anyone would do who has experienced the full impact of a kids stomach bug) and I noticed as I got them ready for bed that a mouse had left a gift of a pooh on one of the mats by my son’s bed. I quickly disposed of it.

Then…

A machine gun fire of thinking started going off in my head!
Continue reading

What is a drama workshop anyway? – How we all see what we want to see

drama-workshopSo about a week or so ago it was a bit of a rainy Sunday so I decided to take the 5 and half year old to a drama workshop as I thought he may enjoy it. When I read the description I thought there would be some kind of making of sets involved and my son loves making so I thought it would be perfect for him. I obviously read the description wrong because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It turned out I wasn’t the only one because I happened to bump into two sets of friends at the workshop both of whom read it differently as well and expected it to be some kind of performance or something.

It turned out it was an interactive drama workshop where the parents and children had to take part! Needless to say I wasn’t that into it and neither were my friends and I can’t honestly say I did that well at playing along with it and fully participating myself. My son also wasn’t that keen and decided to opt out of some of it. I had also assumed it was going to be an hour and half but it turned out only to be 45 minutes, probably a good thing considering. Continue reading

I Struggle and Juggle – The Truth About Being a Mum of Young Kids Today

mum juggling bals of work, husband, kids and freindsI am a mum of 2 gorgeous young boys, wife to a lovely husband (well most of the time), part-time marketing professional and Innate Health Teacher and I juggle and I struggle. I love my boys and my jobs and my husband and I struggle.

I struggle on days when I am trying to get the kids out the house and my eldest son doesn’t want to go to school and I have to perform every parent gymnastics trick in the book to get him there until suddenly he has a change of heart and is happy to go. Then I enjoy the moment of his returned good mood and I wonder at it.

I struggle on days when I have to do a last minute nappy change before we leave and the bus won’t let me on because there are already two buggies on board.

I struggle  on days when it all runs smoothly but I’m in my head about being on time and getting them there and I feel like I’ve done 5 rounds with Mike Tyson by the time I’ve got to work, when in fact I’ve just done 5 rounds with myself.

I love my kids and I struggle. There’s a facebook group for mums called ‘mums that hide in the loo.’ Well I’m a mum who howls in the kitchen. Just to let off steam and occasionally have a sneaky bit of chocolate to keep me going – you understand. Sometimes I even have some that’s left over from the boys party bags (well better my teeth than theirs!).

And I howl to myself and I struggle and I love my children and I treasure the moments we have together because I know it’s precious.

I struggle when I look at Facebook and I start to compare myself to what others are doing. Then I remember that just like me people are only ever posting what they want others to see and that brings me back to the present and I’m OK again.

I juggle and I struggle and sometimes when I’m juggling I don’t pay enough attention to something and I drop a ball, mess up and innocently hurt people. I take responsibility for what I’ve done and I apologise. But I don’t drive myself crazy with guilt like I used to because I know I would be causing myself pain and why would I want to do that to myself anymore?!?

I struggle and I learn. I learn from my gorgeous young boys who for the majority of the time live in the here and now and not in their heads. They are upset about something and they express this clearly and then they are not, they’re onto the next thing.

And I see that I like everyone else on this planet am only ever living in the experience of my thinking. That I’m doing the best I can given what I know to do in the moment. I know that my kids will do what they do and if I’m in a bad mood I’ll see it in a bad way and if I’m in a good mood I’ll think it’s funny and this frees me up. – Because I know that my experience of my kids comes from me and not from them.

And I notice that when I’m seeing life as it is and not as it isn’t. – When I’m present to what is happening now and not lost in my head I savour all life has to offer and I love my kids and life even more. And I notice when I’m lost in my thoughts of how life should be, what’s happening, not happening, if we are late or not, have I left something behind, are my kids OK? Am I OK? Did I get enough sleep? Did my husband get enough sleep? Did I do/say the right thing/the wrong thing?  Where’s my phone? Etc etc ad infinitum I’m distracted and I miss out on the beauty and the wonder of life.

Sometimes when I feel like I’m struggling I can see the habits of thought I’ve created. – For example  when I’m judging myself for something I’ve done or said and then feel bad as a result.  I say to myself here I go again… and I can be OK with myself for doing it, give into it and accept it and it passes quickly. Sometimes I can’t and then I struggle. But now the more I see these habits and I notice the thoughts that I trip myself up on, the less likely I am to believe them the next time they pop into my head.

You see we all have 100,000’s of thoughts a day many of which we don’t notice, and the ones we do and pay attention to give us our experience of life.

Life is precious. Time with my kids is precious and the more I’m truly with them, not distracted by my thinking, the more I enjoy them, appreciate them and love them for the wonder that they are. -How they know what to do to get on in the world without being taught. How they learn to walk and talk and become little people, from their infinite wisdom. The infinite wisdom we all possess that as adults sometimes gets clouded over by the habits and constructs of how to do life that we have unknowingly built up over time.   Well those habits and constructs are just that ‘constructs’. If we can notice that we have built them up then we can knock them down again just as easily. – That to me is one of the keys to living life with less and less struggle.

So I may have the same worrisome thoughts I’ve always had but I don’t experience the same physical sensations; the palpitations, the lack of sleep, the sudden stomach cramps, because I see them for what they are – just thoughts and I don’t trust them so much. As a result I don’t get so entangled in their web that would tighten around me the more I got interested in them and that would lead to my physical discomfort. This is in itself is a blessing.

So I have admitted here that I struggled and I still do but for far less time and with less impact than I have ever done at any point in my life since I was a child. Because now I see my ‘struggle’ for what it is, my own creation and that beyond the so-called ‘struggle’ there is always a light guiding me back to the beauty of the here and now.

If anything I’ve written resonates with you and you are curious to find out more, please get in touch I’d love to hear from you.

How To Keep Your Head When All About You Are Losing Theirs by Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAt a moment where uncertainty, fear and anger are all around, there is no greater need to understand that our experience comes not from what is happening around us but by the meaning that we choose to give it, however much it looks the other way. You may notice that watching the news or reading Facebook comes with certain feelings, whilst when we are absorbed in our day to day lives those feelings recede, the reason being that we feel our thinking in the moment. The most helpful thing for us to do is to see any insecure thinking for what it is and as far as possible – difficult I know- try not to feed it.

All we can do is what makes sense to each of us to stay in a clearer state of mind where we have greatest access to the wisdom, creativity and fresh thinking which are undoubtedly required if we are to navigate our way gracefully through the unknown .

If you would like to get a deeper appreciation of what becomes available to us in life and in work when we drop the thinking that holds us back come and join our ‘Go Deep Urban Retreat’ on Monday 11 July 9.30am – 4pm. To find out more and to book click here.

 

When does thinking become overthinking? By Matt Halfin

Too many lightbulb momentsMost of us who overthink know from the reaction of our friends and family that there are certain areas of life we take more seriously than other people, but when does thinking become over-thinking?

For me overthinking is when we inhibit the natural flow of life, tying ourselves (and often others) up in mental knots trying to work out The Answer, trying to anticipate any potential outcome, and basically not being able to see the wood for the trees. We of course do this in all innocence and with the best possible intentions – to make good decisions and minimise the risk of things happening to us that we think we might not like. Continue reading

Moods – As Changeable As The Weather? By Matt Halfin

Moods are like the weatherAs someone who is prone to low moods – by which I mean periods of days or weeks that I feel flat, and more negative, impatient, dissatisfied and heavy – what has been incredibly helpful to me is to understand the true nature of moods.

I used to think that there had to be something causing a bad mood, that they were an unwelcome deviation from being creative and switched on caused by some situation or person to be resisted at all costs. If someone or something was bringing me down then the logical thing was to work out what was doing it and try and fix it. As such I would routinely enrol those closest to me trying to diagnose the cause and cure, which was inevitably a fruitless exercise as I lacked the clarity and perspective to have any fresh thinking. Continue reading

Why What Other People Say Need Not Affect Our Mood.

Bad moodsWe ended up going away for Easter and had a really lovely time in the countryside with the kids but when we got back my husband and I both somehow found ourselves in a low mood. I had been happy during our break but very tired. My husband had been in a slightly bad mood and not sleeping but when he was with the kids he was great. However to me it occurred that he was being a bit snappy.

I had been reading a book while we were away about a husband who undermines and snaps at his wife, deceives her and then doesn’t realise what he’s lost until there’s no going back. –So maybe that had seeped into my mind-set a bit. Continue reading

Family Relationships – An always on connection

Guest post by fellow overthinker Matt Halfin

Matts experience of family relationships bigger

For many years my mum has told me that when I was 13 I ‘turned’ from a  loving, model son into a rebellious, uncommunicative teen- and never turned back (I’m now 37 and counting). This always raises a groan, and latterly a smile from me, but turns out she might have been right…well partly…

Several years ago I was on a personal development course where I saw for the first time the degree to which my experience of past and present circumstances and the people in my life were a product of the judgements and interpretations I had made in my head rather than being true or objective as they had previously seemed (as I now see, only 100%). Continue reading

Why I say ‘Bah Humbug’ to reflecting on last year and making resolutions for 2016

2015 is history 2015 is a mysteryThere are lots of posts in my head still to be written from 2015 but I’ll start with a new year’s post because it seems appropriate (and then if I delve into past reflections for future posts I’m sure you’ll forgive me).

So as the end of the year was approaching my husband suggested I reflect on the past year as he often finds this a constructive and helpful exercise. As I happened to be drifting in and out of a bad mood/negative state of mind, for me this was not a good idea and even though I sensed this couldn’t help myself. – I was drawn to reflect as he suggested and it did indeed prove to be a really bad idea!

You see we can view our lives in any colour of the rainbow depending on where our mood is. If we are feeling content we can see the past as rosy, if we are feeling sad we can see at as grey and we have feeling downright unhappy we can see it as very bleak indeed. Since our feelings come from our thinking if we dwell on something negative we are going to experience a negative feeling about it, and this what happened to me. Continue reading

Moods – Lessons From A Tired 4 Year Old Not Wanting To Go Home

dark clouds raining down on my 4 year oldSo I’ve just started a contract working 2 days a week and then 1 day a week I work for myself. This means that my eldest who is 4 and half has to join his brother at the childminders after school at least 2 days a week until 5.30pm or 6pm.

So last week I went to pick them up and I noticed he was a little upset about a Halloween bag my childminder had kindly got them both for a present. He didn’t want his and he was very upset when I insisted on taking his brother’s one home because he didn’t want him to have one either!

The bags had pictures of bats and spiders on, and I sensed this may be scaring him. As we were walking to the bus in the dark and the rain he got upset and told me he didn’t want the bag at home and I should throw it into a bush. I said no and told him that the bags just had pictures of bats and spiders on just like the pictures he drew of bats at home. He said no they were real and the rats he saw were real and everything was real, real, real!!!

We proceeded to have a ‘profoundish’ conversation about this for 5 minutes before we got into ‘I don’t want to go home, I just want to stand out in the rain!’ which he kept repeating and repeating and repeating! He looked so sad and tired all I felt was love and compassion for him so I kept reassuring him and saying ‘I know, I understand’ and then encouraging him to walk on. I then explained how it wasn’t good to stand out in the rain as we may get cold or worse and our feet would hurt, but he went on and on and on! Continue reading