by any other name

so i had a particularly awful start to this week. things just seemed to go from bad to worse. i want to share what happened at the end and what it has taught me…

i felt like i was set up to fail,  having high expectations to just be let down. and when i went to get into the car at the end of the day and i had left the lights on all day, that was just the last straw. my first reaction to times like this is to withdraw, shutdown, internalise.  i just want to escape.

however, this time was different.

after taking half an hour to calm down i decided to press the reset button. i picked up isaiah, put on my walking shoes and took him and our dog for a big walk, chatting and laughing and looking for ducks. we went on a ‘bear hunt’ and found our own ‘cave’.

as we neared our fence line i noticed pink among the green of our overgrown garden, roses had started to bloom and i hadn’t even noticed them before. that really spoke to me, my middle name is rose and it was a quite reminder that there is always something to be thankful for…

cutting some stems off and putting them on the table, i kept them in view as i cooked a healthy dinner and even set the table. a simple, special reminder of goodness among the thorns.

after all the stress and feelings of failure, my response was very different to a year ago… and for that i am even more grateful.

:: holding on to the good ::

5 reasons why i take a FB break every year

for the past three years i have a pre-planned break from facebook around oct/nov. here i share why i do this and what it does for me…

it’s that time of year. when i step back and get things back into perspective. it really clarifies things for me and i wanted to share why i take a break from facebook every year. 
5 reasons why i take a fb break every year:

  1. facebook is not real life. having a break is an important reminder of that. facebook can be pre-organised and squeed towards what is believed to be your interests and motivations. what is on your news feed outside of your friend’s posts is getting more and more manipulated and needs to be put in it’s place. 
  2. the increased un-inclusive and judgemental content. having a break makes me more aware of what i am letting in, what i am reading and involved in. without realising we can absorb online feuds, reading into what others post and like.
  3. the amount of time that is wasted. facebook can eat away personal time without even realising it. when you take a break, you suddenly realise this which is an valuable reminder that it is not as important as the priorities or responsibilities you hold. 
  4. when comparison creeps in. the saying that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ cannot be more emphasised through social media. when i entertain those thoughts of comparison, it can develop negative impacts on my everyday life without even realising it. taking a break helps to establish a discerning lens to protect myself from that. 
  5. timing for just before the ‘silly’ season. december is super crazy-busy for our family, 4 birthdays/our wedding anniversary/christmas/boxing day bbq/new years all within 3 weeks! having a break from fb at this time helps me prepare to enjoy rather endure this special time of year for us.
don’t get me wrong, i am definitely not against facebook. i use it to connect with my friends and family all around the world, to share content from this blog and post what’s happening in life. taking a break reminds me to put it in it’s place and not let it take more emphasis than it should. 
so, do you take social media breaks? how do you keep the balance with social media? i would to hear your thoughts… 
:: holding on to the good ::

first things first

our toddler loves his toys, and in particular his ‘little people’ from fisher price. he has a great collection from a trademe purchase hubby found. we often have ‘breaks’ from these lying around the living room by housing them in a large plastic storage box. the other week, isaiah and i were packing these away and i stumbled upon an epiphany that has helped me reflect on my busy, working-mama life…

we attempted to put everything into the box by putting all the little pieces into the box first, then laying the larger farmhouse and building pieces on top. we quickly realised that the lid would not fit on as we pushed down on it, trying to get it to clip shut. it struck me that everything had fitted before, so we tipped it out and tried again. this time, putting all the larger buildings and pieces in first. then placing the bits and pieces around these. they quickly slotted into the gaps and we ended up having space on the top to fold up a mat that he uses too! it wasn’t that we had less to put away but in actually fact we could put more in because of how we had placed them.

this got me thinking about what i had in my own life, my priorities and responsibilities. what i do first, above the more important larger aspects, which can make me feel like not everything can ‘fit’ anymore!
so here are some thoughts that came from this simple exercise: the first things that need to be in our life, are our main priorities. our priorities are our family, our beliefs, our most special friends, our health and wellbeing. 

what comes next are those things that are important and support our main priorities. our career and choices, our aims and aspirations and anchors in our lives. the relationships we have that feed our positive motivations and passions.
and lastly what is poured through and fills the gaps should be the day to day jobs, chores that keep our bigger motivations and dreams going. i confess that these ‘things’ can sometimes take my priority; without me even meaning too.  charles e. hummel shares in his book, tyranny of the urgent, “your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important.”  

that’s so true, charlie, so true.

thanks for letting me share this with you! i wonder,  how do you handle the urgent things and the important things? feel free to share your pearls here.

:: holding on to the good :: 

withdrawal

i am freaking to send this out but it’s time. this is a post dedicated to all my loved ones, the ones who check in with me and don’t hold a grudge when i haven’t responded back straight away.

for those that are going through challenges and the ones who keep on keepin’ on…

__________________________________________

withdrawal

withdrawn, withdrew, withfear

withexpectations, withconfusion, withshielding

withgone, withshame, withpretense

withbeing, wither, without

withdrawal
__________________________________________   :: words by clare hubbard ::

an unravelling of how i have been so diffident. pulling away from so many important relationships and people.

it’s an easy trap to fall into but as i navigate through the days, it has dawned on me that it’s not somewhere i really want to stay. it’s easy to feel safer on your own facing the days and keeping it all to yourself. but it’s just not true.

we need people, we need community or we can wither; suffering with our thoughts and battles when all you need is one person to empathise and walk by your side. i realised a while ago i have held a false sense of responsibility over many relationships and it wasn’t healthy. i believed that i had to be a certain way, say a certain thing and have everything altogether. how exhausting!

after a year, i am finally learning to accept things as they are and start to believe for more. my hubby shared something that resonated with me recently {if there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present}, i was shocked and woken up to the fact i have not held hope for the future for a long time. the future is a little daunting when things are not resolved or haven’t worked out the way you thought it should. i am starting to hold hope in small ways and water it with positive thinking, letting the flood of anxiety wash away {not settle} when things do go sideways or maybe even when i let people down.

i don’t want to wither away to a shadow of myself, to continue to look back at my past adventures/challenges/risks and believe the lie that those were my biggest and best days. i am standing on the truth that withdrawal and the want to hide has been a chance to recharge and build new understandings and empathy for those that are also challenged by this feeling.

it’s mental health awareness week in nz from 5-11 august and the theme for this week is g – i – v – e . this website has loads of links, literature and merchandise, check this out for more thoughts and discussions.

what are your thoughts on this? i would love to chat with you on withdrawal or the ideas of giving our time, words or presence.

much love x

:: holding on to the good ::

a new normal

it has been exactly a year since isaiah and i returned to nz (to the day). without sounding too cliche this year has been a mammoth one…

standing on this side of it and looking back is such a great feeling – i have not dreaded this, but when you transition from living abroad to moving back to your home country, there are lots of challenges and heights to climb you never thought of or expected.

the strongest thing for me is the links back to forever friends and memories that i still hold close to my heart. i think without realising, i thought it would just be back to what it was like before we left. but it definitely isn’t, it can never be and i wouldn’t want it to. i am richer for the times away and richer for the year that has gone; adjusting, putting down roots and realising what is our new normal.

a full time job has started for me this term also (well two roles which are full time!); investing in the adults of the future, developing a school culture to be proud of. we have plans for family time and visitors in the summer, lots of new jobs to be done around our new place and a boat to take out on the water. here’s looking to the next year and all it brings.

it’s never a dull moment around here!

:: holding on to the good ::

a much needed goodbye

maybe what i thought was protecting me has slowly stressed me out, leaving that helpless feeling. it’s time to say goodbye…

uncurling my fingers, releasing the tension

pulling free of the mold

stepping aside and studying this idealistic figure;

looking her straight in the eyes

we each stare back; wary and uncomfortable

i scour around for the best way to liberate this image; my visard

sitting together, sipping on serendipity

she with no expectations for me but mine so unrealistic for her

she lets me begin and nods along; perfectly timed

ready to be everything and anything that is required

always needing to know that she is doing what is exemplary

i turn and search for a release moment

the energy that is required to put her in place

leaves me breathless and exhausted; propping her up in front of me,

i have been concealed behind her; hidden and protected

i step back, loosening the strings

significant and much needed for so long

but as i step aside and separate, pushing past and looking beyond

a moment of exposure taunts and yet galvanises

the urgency for release

it’s a one-sided departure, a much needed goodbye.                                    :: words by clare hubbard ::
__________________

it’s been a rough couple of days, just feeling below the weather and beyond stretched to make it all ok for others. And just greyness.

it’s hard to acknowledge this but i realise that if i keep ‘faking it’, i am giving in to the feeling i am trying to tackle. i have learned recently through this journey that i am on, that i carry around with me a false sense of responsibility. at some point in my early life i ascertained that my responsibility was ‘to make everyone happy’.  it has been an epiphany recently, and one that i am continuing to unravel and carefully lay to rest.

i am ready to let go of this self-proclaimed title and be free of the {shame} that comes when i trip and fall, trying to be the perfect version of me. we all trip, stuff up and crawl at different times, and i am coming to an accepting place, appreciating that it’s ok for me to let others see.

i’m still walking this journey…

do you feel the same pressures? are you ready to say goodbye?

:: holding on to the good ::

sickness and taking stock

this is the beginning of the third {yes, number three} week we have been battling sickness in our family. i am sharing some thoughts on that and a new place to call home…

we haven’t had to face it like this ever before, where all members of the family are dealing with sickness at the same time with the whirling of life twisting around us; it’s a bit exhausting, overwhelming and plain frustrating. especially through the move to our new house.

i am at home with our little boy who is recuperating from a chesty cough, sitting on our sofa and enjoying the warmth of the fire. the sun is streaming through the large windows of our new house and things are starting to settle. 
it feels so good to just finally be here in this moment {minus the sickness of course}. i am just so very grateful for where we are right now. an opportunity to settle, and sort and take stock of where we are and where we are heading. 
that feels pretty darn awesome. 

we are coming up with a ‘to do’ list for the house, summer projects and in the future plans. we can see potential and promise here. 

i feel a glimpse of the future without dread or fear; a new feeling after some years of not being able to see past the 24 hours in front of me. 
i’ll be back soon to share more on my mental wealth journey and finding the grace and goodness that is found in everyday life. 
:: holding on to the good ::

what we tell ourselves

words have power.

for me, words echo long after they have been received, they send shockwaves through my emotions and pick at my heartstrings. words can be used to reassure, soothe and spark revelation… here are some words that have given direction and insight…

during a tough period of life recently, i sort support from a confidant and we would speak weekly. we often ended our times together with wisdom that i could take away for myself, from myself. these were powerful statements that i could remember and use as reassurance.

it’s far more important to speak rich, uplifting words to yourself; using them to fight the urge to beat yourself up.

these are some of my words…

the best has yet to come.

you are on a journey.
you are doing good.
you are brave.

it isn’t finished.
it is assured you will add broken pieces to the picture but it is beautiful.

you’re being so brave.

look for solid ground.
small steps forward.
you are not fake.

help is near.
remember to breathe.

what words do you tell yourself? what echoes in your head?

:: holding on to the good ::

the false confidante

we all have obstacles; the rain falls on the just and unjust.

i’m sharing about one of mine and the realisation we are created for connection…

the dream killer,
a corrupt counsellor;
warping perceptions,
building chasms

gaining power,
rushing to suffocate;
a false confidante,
shattering prospects

isolation

isolation is something that seems appealing when you are stressed and pressured, needing a break from {everything}.

we can become isolated through weariness, busyness, offence, sickness and shame. it’s an overwhelming sensation to want to disappear and not want to face anyone. looking back, i felt like i had no words, i couldn’t put it together and felt like nobody would understand. isolation echoes the lies you are listening to and smothers your fortitude.

you give in to the temptation of what you think is safe but it can ultimately end with the awful feeling of estrangement.

once that sets in, it’s harder to break free of it… and what happens is it creeps up on you. it ends with the strong realisation that you really do long for connection and that you have pushed everyone away, digging yourself deeper into the chasm you’ve jumped into.

the ultimate truth is we are created for connection. and to be known and accepted. we really need others to support and encourage our personal journeys. we need to combine ideas and hear others’  stories.

reaching out, inviting people back in is what brings healing. that old saying rings true {a problem shared, is a problem halved} it’s just not good to hold the heavy things in our hearts by ourselves. to reach out is gutsy, and crucial.

so please reach out. and keep taking up the offer of extended hands it really is the best thing for each of us.

:: holding on to the good ::

Rise ::2::

have you ever experienced the rain pouring down below you? seeing the showers passing under foot, as you stand above warm and dry…

i have! it was very surreal looking down as the rain fell to earth. the shortest day in the year 2008, the day we climbed up our maunga {mt manaia} and came down engaged…
i share this story as I believe it gives a picture of what it feels like to rise above the raw and rough places we face, when we need some perspective out of the onslaught of the rainy season we might be facing.

when we made the journey up this mountain, it was a strenuous climb and hubby set a fast pace. we arrived on the platform ready for a break. it was a moment to look around at where we had come from, enjoy the breeze and re-energise, take stock of our surrounds.

if we stay down underneath, we can miss the perspective we get when we rise above. rising above the situation means we can find a different viewpoint and look at the specifics more clearly. not feeling the effect of the rain, we can appreciate what’s it like to be there.

recently, hubby and i have had a couple of disappointments but together we have tried to focus on the bigger picture. When you rise, you see the fullness of the journey you are on; taking courage of where you have come from and what might be ahead. it makes more sense when your circumstances don’t.

by francis frangipane
how do you rise? 
take a time out and make some space to think and breathe.
seek out people to encourage you in your journey.
talk to someone who has been there and come through it.
write out your cares and worries. then change them to positive affirmations or promises you can hold to.
be grateful. no matter the situations there are always things that you can be grateful for.
i hope this has encouraged you somehow today. it’s certainly helped me to think about it too.

:: holding on to the good ::