grateful in june, 2015 pt 3

the third and final installment of my list of gratitudes for the month of june. i am so thankful to look back and see the blessings embedded in everyday… 

21. remembering seven years ago, i went up a mountain and came down engaged to my love!

22. collaborating with a positive and committed team.

23. realising the peace that comes from living in our home.

24. five year olds and their infectious energy.

25. keeping positive and pushing through   

26. surviving the week, seriously grateful!

27. a sleep-in!

28. funs times kicking a ball around with my boys.

29. discussing my passion for lifelong learning.

30. a new venture and adventure approaching.

31. making leek and potato soup for the first time, delish!

june, what a manic month you were! it really helped me appreciate the small accomplishments and experiences along the way. thanks a bunch!

can you believe it is july is already?

:: holding on to the good ::

grateful in june, 2015 pt 2

this week has surely been a rollercoaster of emotion. it’s been full on and i kindof forgot to find gratitude for a couple of days but i am back on track now. it really does matter in amongst the dark and cold and grey. yes, that’s it…

i want to establish some positive habits of mind during this season and commit to rising above. here are the second ten days of the month and what stood out to me on that particular day.

11. a new vegetarian chilli recipe.

12. fresh local mandarins.

13. a mid afternoon nap in a warm bed.

14. new friends and sharing our stories.

15. being a learner who is also a teacher.

16. late afternoon sun on the deck.

17. a healthy, joyful exactly 2.5 year old today!

18. energy at the end of the day to make a smashing dinner for my family.

19. a fun school event and lots of cheer.

20. whanau time, food and celebrations together.

what are you grateful for? how does it change your perspective?

:: holding on to the good ::

grateful in june, 2015 pt 1

as part of my one word for this year: r – i -s- e, i have wanted to explore ways to bring a rise in my attitude. how i feel definitely is affected by the seasons and heading into the winter months, i have really noticed it. so this june, i have wanted to focus on being grateful…

one of my favourite blogs is today’s letters and this quote used on regular posts – {here’s to gratitude and how it turns everything into enough}- is so very true!

i want to establish some positive habits of mind during this season and commit to rising above. here are the first ten days of the month and what stood out to me on that particular day.

1. a long weekend to recuperate.

2. a visit to our new house.

3. hot milo on a blustery day.

4. my rip curl hoodie to keep me warm.

5. some alone time to recover from sickness.

6. my mum’s support.

7. a fire to warm the heart.

8. my boy’s determination.

9. a message from my sister friend.

10. free local firewood.

what are you grateful for this week? what habits of mind help you through the winter months?


:: holding on to the good ::

expansion

since moving home and working part time, i dubiously began a garden to see if i could at least keep something alive and maybe feed my family healthy stuff. much to my surprise it has brought so much out of me i had lost and i have totally embraced the new found creativity it has brought me.

hubby and i were talking the other night and he said {i think your garden is a picture of you}. it took me back for a minute as i was surprised at such a revelation but in many ways it’s true. i thought to share with you some personal insights on my garden journey and the metaphorical picture it is painting me.

my garden has given me confidence — i began the garden with seedlings from my mother-in-law and some plants brought a long the way, i then grew green beans to seedlings and planted those. now i have doubled the size of my garden and are excited at the possibilities.

i look at the environment and anticipate what is needed. it has linked me to the moment, connects me to the weather and different times of the day when i need to check on progress, fix or maintain something.

it has connected me to my past. my father was a phenomenal gardner and agriculturalist. i remember helping in the garden on long summer evenings with my family… picking fresh peas and checking on the watermelons. it was amazing as a child to see it develop in front of me and share our labour of love with the people in our community.

committing to this past time has resulted in expansion and being proud of creating meals with the produce i collect every evening. a favourite part is seeing the new shoots bud and the expectation of ripe juicy vegies.

returning home and planting roots again here, this venture demonstrates in the physical what is developing in my daily walk. new things are coming!

have you been surprised at what a new hobby or venture has brought out in you? what surprised you?

:: holding on to the good ::

a treasure worth sharing

i have a love of thrift/opportunity/second-chance stores; there are hidden treasures there to explore and unearth. my first-choice option would be to go on my own and just get lost in the books. sometimes i flick open a book and am transported to a place and time and a familiarity that’s hard to explain.

yesterday i was in a store and found this incredibly beautiful, uncomplicated story. published in 1977 with a sale price of  $1.50 {back then} from kidsarus, a non-profit women’s collective that was established to liberate young people from sex-stereotyped behaviour and role models.

i wanted to share it on here, because it’s so unique and was something quite thought-provoking for me.

it’s written in the first person as a young son explaining how he and his parents cry through his development and in circumstances outside his control. it really is very sweet.

it’s a great reminder that we all cry, whether in happy reunions, conflict or dealing with physical pain. i loved the simple emotions behind the sketches and how mum and dad are very different but train their son openly and honestly.

tears fall easily for me; i think it is my compassionate, sensitive side that is not very far away. tears are a release and i believe, a powerful expression of a need or want. don’t get me wrong, i am not suggesting we all become sooks and dripping time-bombs for emotional outbursts but it is a powerful thing to consider as {a parent, mentor, role model.}

adults sometimes cry too and it shouldn’t be a surprise to our little ones.

::holding onto the good::

we need an epidemic

{you’re ok, you’ll come through this}
{that situation doesn’t define you}
{i know how you feel, i have felt like that but when i did this it really helped}
{i see the pain in your eyes, help me understand what’s going on}

we need an epidemic of empathy. the good old antidote that brings healing and a shared understanding to situations that for many are so isolating and destructive.


empathy is not just an attitude it is an action. it is showing others that they matter, that you hear their story and that you want to be there, even when it sucks or the situation is not easily resolved.

there is more to empathy than just sensitivity {not wanting to rock the boat}, a definition i like is:
{identification with, and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives}. it’s identifying with the person, and the need in them, beyond the situation you see in front of you.

empathy is the remedy for our most shameful experiences. when a debilitating and painful emotion cripples us, we all need empathy to be doused on that shameful place. it will quickly divide the situation until it is no longer that big monster that overpowers us.

brene brown, in her book {“i thought it was just me (but it isn’t): making the journey from “what will people think?” to “i am enough”}, shares about empathy and describes it as a skill and that it is not a quality that we are born with; it’s a response that we have to develop and grow.

i remember recently, opening up to someone and sharing about the journey i was on. it was early on when i was struggling and afraid. my voice was quiet and my words carefully chosen as i opened up. we hadn’t seen each other for so long but immediately i could share some pretty gritty stuff, because i needed to and she was so open to hearing me out. what happened next was what gave me the strength to pursue something i knew i needed, and it was because that person shared their heart with me and made me feel like what i was facing was valid and worth listening to. she gave me practical ideas on what had worked for her, her eyes shone with genuine acceptance and care. she didn’t {fix} the problem or try and take it away. what she did was gave me strategies to build resilience.

five things that empathy can do for our world:

  1. diffuse the feelings of isolation and that nobody else understands. 
  2. develop connections between each other {it’s ok, that’s happened to me too}
  3. it’s a powerful way to speak the truth to someone, when they are blinded by shame.
  4. liberate others – we are not perfect, we can overcome!
  5. create resilient individuals who want to not only receive it but give it away too.

is there someone you can reach out to? how can we make this an {epidemic}?

wearing our badges

a wee while ago now, i remember being awarded badges at high school. some read ‘prefect’, ‘whanau (family group) leader’, ‘sport’s captain’. it was an honour to wear these, it displayed your leadership role and responsibilities. it gave me a sense of pride and accomplishment. it was an acknowledgement for hard work and that you had earned that position. wouldn’t it be great if that could continue through life? unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work like that. there are many ways of receiving acknowledgement but at times the way you receive criticism far outweighs the positive messages.

{ 17 year old me at highschool, oh that skivvie! }

sometimes you just have to pin some badges on your chest that nobody else but you can see. a way of acknowledging what seems to be very ordinary tasks that sometimes take extraordinary strength.

{i got up and faced the day}
{i calmed my breathing down}
{i gave all I had when all I had, felt like nothing}

we have to create an image of pinning them on to build confidence in ourselves. these personal acknowledgements start an important validation process that we can’t ask anyone else to do. it starts with us. our validation only comes from ourselves and Him alone. being aware of the meaningfulness of our days, whether large or a small part of a big picture is a great start to practising gratitude. gratitude for the journey you are on, and where you are going.

so why am i suggesting this? that’s because today is world mental health day.

i would so love to take the {mental} connotation, out of mental health. anxiety and depression issues effect 1 in every 5 adults in nz. that is a huge statistic that has to be talked about and shared. putting it out on here, albeit somewhat in a coy manner has been liberating for me.

the strategy i have shared, is related to {take notice, kia mataara, mohiotanga} from the {five ways to wellbeing} check out this resource here.

if you a battling in a silent space, please know you are not alone. here are some things that might help you out… living with a black dog is the newest video from matthew and andrea johnstone; an moving resource to sit and watch with someone you trust.

depression.org.nz – an online journal on this website walks you through identifying where you are at and how to get help. it is never a shameful thing to find a way through.
reach out. we can all feel like we are in a battle and an important thing to do is to call on reinforcements. your trusted ones can be a great support. 
please contact me at graciousgoodnessblog @ gmail.com
kia kaha {stand strong} my friends
:: holding on to the good ::

letting the light in

on sunday we visited the beach, {something we try to do as often as we visit ruakaka}. it is where we feel relaxed, breathing in the goodness of the salt air with the breeze reviving us. lots of people were making the most of the sun, scattered along the shoreline with their families, fishing and walking and laughing. isaiah was finding gulls to follow and more sticks to offer to the dog.

tarla can run free here. you really have to see her, she crouches down low, waiting for the perfect moment and then takes off… moving like a torpedo.

 
she splashes into the water and fills up the space as she fetches for the stick that hubby has hurled as far as he can.

here is a shell for you, he calls. i look down at the shape, wedged into the sand. glistening and bright; a horse mussel. so dainty, shining in the sun as the water runs over it. it’s placed in my hand and as i look at the piece and move it around in my hand, it cracks. splinters apart and i know that it’s too delicate to make into something, or take it away from the shore. it will continue to crack and brake because that’s the way it is.

just like that shell, we can brake too, we can carry cracks and painful splits. we might feel like we are going to fall apart.

‘there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in’ {leonard cohen}

it is precisely our brokenness that brings in the light. and that for me is so refreshing right now.

i have been writing lots, looking for new creative projects and reading a book, brene brown’s ‘ i thought it was just me (but it isn’t): making the journey from “what will people think?” to “i am enough” {i will review this in the future!}

light is being shone through and hope is growing.

the tide will always turn

pummelled and panicked, calling for air
but instead hit with another powerful surge as the water pushes towards the shore
bobbing in the thickness of the waves as they tear between the floor and above
an onslaught unravels, preparing to suppress this energetic body and silence the mind
diving down under the fury but caught again
the energy vibrates through and hammers at the throat
again and again, the waves pass through and threaten to dissolve this foreign cargo
the fight continues until the frame meets the waves in a rhythmic pattern; listening and pushing into the energy that once threatened
and just as hurried as the attack occurred, the focus switches, the tide turns
there is no more fight left
face down, they anticipate the power to envelope, consume
a welcome push shifts a cracked and battered frame over to embrace the calm
a promise to inviolate this tired body, the smooth motion ebbs and caresses limbs in preparation to stand on solid ground once more

:: words by clare hubbard ::

______

there is a fight on our hands. like a rip tide, drawing us into a savage sea. it’s a struggle against silence, and isolation.


i have always prided myself on the fact that {i am a chameleon}, being able to assimilate into the place i find myself and adopting new ideas and experiences. i’ve viewed it as a strength, something in my character that allows me to empathise and connect with a wide variety of people, and yes it can be a wonderful gift.

but every strength can also be a weakness.

for the last while, i have found myself slipping into a too quiet and numbing space, now being hidden {hiding}. shame has been my ‘cloak of invisibility‘ and i tremble at the thought of being swallowed up and silenced for good.

yes, things have happened to me. sad, bad and those i still grapple with. we all have stories. but today it dawned on me.

i will not be silenced! i am not going to listen to the voice that tells me, i am alone – a piece of driftwood floating in a riptide.

just as the ocean struggles in what looks like turmoil, there are different movements and moments that expose what is underneath. the currents that cannot be seen and what is being pushed around, eventually comes to the shore. i have been under that wave of depression and finally feel like I am being pushed onto shore; finding my feet again on solid ground.

so in this moment i feel liberated to share, to acknowledge; bear my soul. share that word i have been avoiding on here.

the tide has turned.

letting go and holding on

letting go, when all I want to do is prove myself to you, to me, to everyone
letting go, while dragging a heavy, tumbling rock that threatens to sink
letting go, when I am so ashamed; ‘I wanted a success story dammit!’
letting go, because it’s drenched me dry of any energy or will to dream

letting go, of all that is burning to be answered and instead remembering that silence can be cleansed afresh with new sounds that explode with life; helping me to hold on

holding on, wrestling with abandoned moments
holding on, when life changes course and the ride is terrifying
holding on, to hands outstretched and feathers covering
holding on, to words, to promises, to vows, to tomorrows

holding on, holding on, and letting go

:: words by clare hubbard ::


a new addition to the mantlepiece, flax flowers from our wedding. i didn’t know what to do with them after unpacking and so decided to display them in a simple glass vase. it’s a quiet reminder of that special day, and what it means to us.