Posted in Happiness, Life

Do what makes your heart sing

Today I took my children to see a light show telling the story of Matariki and the beginning of the Maori New Year.

Today we had coffee with friends.

Today we got caught in the rain.

Today we took refuge at home on the couch.

Today I am writing; today my heart sings.

Do whatever it takes to make your heart sing and surround yourself with those who allow you to do so.

 

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Posted in Happiness, Life

Is Productivity Killing Passion?

We’re so bloody productive these days aren’t we? And if we’re not … we feel guilty and like we should be doing SO MUCH MORE.

I sometimes fear that we are becoming a bit machine-like. We are so BUSY doing, doing, doing … we forget to stop for a minute and take stock.

A typical day for most women my age goes something like this: Wake up, get kids sorted for school, squeeze in breakfast for ourselves (maybe, maybe not), get kids to school, go to work or get home and start work, clean house, buy groceries, fit in some exercise (maybe, maybe not) collect children, ferry them off to after school activities, do homework, organise dinner, dishes, bath, stories, kids in bed … find wine, slump on couch and crawl to bed … oh and talk to partner (maybe, maybe not).

Ok, I’m exhausted just writing that … so how does it feel living like this every day?

Sure, we may feel pleased we achieved so much in day. We may feel relieved that we managed to tick most of the boxes off our to-do-lists … But do we feel inspired? Do we feel excited? Do we feel passionate? Do we feel appreciated?

If we’re lucky we have a job that truly inspires us and fills us with joy and we have abundant energy allowing us to work, raise children, do the domestic duties, cherish our partner and find time to relax … how many of you are saying “I wish” right now?

Is this even possible? Can we HAVE IT ALL, AT THE SAME TIME and still be HAPPY?

Or are we just setting the bar far too high and expecting that we can maintain this superwoman status without flinching?

I think it’s great that women can achieve so much and the opportunities we have available to us these days … but are we being too hard on ourselves? Are we expecting too much and what are we compromising by doing so?

Sometimes I feel like we are so hell-bent on being productive and ‘successful’ that we are running the risk of becoming machine-like and losing our human connections and de-valuing that which makes us human in the first place.

You’ll notice in the above description of a typical day you don’t find the following: a long walk along the beach, sitting for two hours with a cuppa and chatting to a friend, ringing someone overseas and re-connecting with them, reading a book or going out to dinner with a loved one.

Why is this? Is it because these things are now seen as taking too much time? A guilty pleasure? Or something that just needs to wait until you have some spare time?

Is time so scarce now that we can’t use it to connect with people, pursue our passions or just slow down and relax?

Oh sorry I did forget one thing from the list … scroll through Facebook feed, like a couple of posts and maybe comment (if there’s time!)

And if we are living like this, what impact is it having on our children? Are we consistently portraying the message that we just don’t have time? Will they value friendships, nature, passions etc, if they never see us pursuing them and investing our valuable time into them?

Even the school system seems to emphasise more machine-like, productive assets than human values. For example, whilst I think my children’s school offers many opportunities and has got some good systems in place – I wonder if the school values could be a bit more human?

As they stand, the school values are Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Resourcefulness. These are all great attributes but they seem quite ‘Sergeant Majorish’ to me and I’m sure you could programme a robot to possess these same responses.

What about human values like empathy, compassion, kindness and individuality? Are these not important enough anymore?

I know that being resilient is important in order to survive life with its harsh edges, but what about the values that add meaning to life?

Are we passing these by in order to be productive?

And are we teaching our children that emotion is a weakness and that ‘being tough’ is the only way to navigate through life’s obstacles?

I personally would love to see some awards handed out to our children who are kind to others and act in a compassionate, empathic way.

I realise this post has a lot more questions than answers and some of us are so far down the ‘life is too busy’ rabbit hole that it is hard to navigate a way back.

However, I think it’s important to take the time to think about these things once in a while and to take stock of your own life.

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves whether we feel we are truly living an authentic life. One which makes us feel inspired and alive inside.

And if the answer is no … perhaps we can just allow ourselves a snippet of that golden resource called time to have a think about what changes can be made in our own lives to bring back the passion.

Good luck and keep smiling,

Kat

 

 

Posted in Happiness

Colour-less Rainbows

Her life feels like a tunnel with no light at the end
A colour-less rainbow with no pot of gold to attend

Worn down, energy depleted
Dreaming of a different destination – if only she could meet it

Struggling through the debris of her life’s reality
Nothing for her to do but hope for what her life could really be

Hoping the stars will align
Her fight will return
The struggle will ease
Lady Luck will take her turn


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7577311@N06/471517080″>Hooded stranger</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Posted in Happiness

A Spring In My Step

flowers

There is one month of the year that is special to me and when this month swings around every year, mysteriously things start to turn around in my life. This month is September and this is the time of year things always seem to pick up for me.

I’m not entirely sure why this is?

Maybe it’s because I was born in September.

Maybe it’s because September is the start of spring which signifies new growth, rejuvenation and fresh starts?

Maybe it’s because the flowers begin to bloom and cute baby animals are born?

I’m not sure, but I am sure that as soon as September rolls around I come out of my winter hibernation mode and start to feel that spring in my step.

photo credit: Mukumbura via photopin cc

Posted in Happiness

I’m Jealous Of My Children

Today is Friday the 13th, which, as many of you know, is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition.

I would not consider myself an overly superstitious person. However, just this morning I have found out that somebody I know has cancer, somebody has had a stroke and add to the fact that everybody seems to be broke – I am starting to wonder if there really is something in it?

Then I look at my children. Such happy little beings with their naive optimism and childish concerns; My six-year-old’s biggest worry at the moment is that Christmas is not coming fast enough and my four-year-old is concerned that it might be her brother’s turn for the TV and she will have to sit through an episode of Star Wars.

kids at beach

As much as I am pleased my children are so happy and proud that I am providing them with a lovely childhood, I can’t help but be a little envious; Envious that they do not have to deal with the responsibilities and stresses we adults have to contend with.

You see, for many years I have managed to live quite happily in my comfortable little bubble (read more here.) However, today I feel as if my house has been destroyed and that bubble has been well and truly burst! I now realise with some finality that life can be hard; life can be sad and life can sometimes be downright shitty.

If you know me, you also would know I am uncomfortable with these types of realisations and like to find a solution rather than dwell on sombre thoughts. Therefore, this is what I have been thinking and the questions I have been asking myself:
How do we manage this life filled with sadness and hardship?
How do we keep on keeping on?
How do we accept the negative and find the silver lining?

I don’t really have any fantastic answers to these questions, but I think what we can do is become parents – not only to our children, but parents to ourselves and our adult friends and family.

We can comfort each other, lean on each other and not be too proud to ask each other for help. We can be a comforting parent to ourselves, allowing us time to breathe, cry, be sad and grieve.

And when the grey clouds have cleared and we feel the sun reappear in our lives we can pat each other on the back and celebrate this crazy thing we call life.

sun
photo credit: satosphere via photopin cc

Posted in Happiness

Downtown Freeing The Fun-Box

I am the eldest child of four and loved growing up with my two sisters and one brother as there was always someone lurking around to have fun with – and boy, did we have fun!

The company I kept sometimes changed, but these fun times continued to be a constant feature of my life through my university years and definitely during my four years spent in London … I will get to that some other time, as there are a few choice stories to tell there.

Then came the biggest party of my life: my wedding and following that – the biggest blessing: my children.

However, recently life has become slightly mundane and serious and somehow FUN has taken a fall from grace and landed sorely on the bottom of the priority list. Somewhere in amongst getting married and having children FUN got packaged up in a brown cardboard box and left forgotten in a corner of the basement.

Well, as September is my birthday month, I decided it was high time to find that old Fun-Box, give it a dust off and free it once more.
Box of fun
photo credit: Superrad_ via photopin cc

And so to the plan:

Company: A group of girls (as the husbands didn’t want to come they got relegated to child-minding duties)
Occasion: Ball
Attire: Semi-Formal
Choice of Beverage: Champagne – plus a Bacardi, of course!

Sounds like fun right?

So, the event attended was The Pelican Pest Control Down Town Ball 2013 and was held to support Down Syndrome NSW, in the Hunter Region. You can find out more here – (http://www.downtownball.com.au/)
When I found out the sponsor’s name – “The Pelican Pest Control” – I mentioned to my girlfriends that “I didn’t realise Pelicans were pests?” Once they had picked themselves up off the floor from rolling around laughing and dried their eyes, they explained to me that ‘Pelican’ is actually a suburb of NSW – Oops!
pelican
photo credit: suneko via photopin cc

If I was Cinderella and had been visited by my Fairy Godmother, getting organised for the ball would have been easy. However, this was not the case and getting beautified took some doing:

– First was a trip to the beauty salon to get all the necessary waxing completed – and believe me, this was no mean feat due to neglect over winter! (Too much information?)

– Second was a serious shopping mission to acquire ball dress, shoes and necessary accessories.

– Third was a visit to the hair salon for hair and makeup.

I did think about a spray tan also, but was afraid of turning into a pumpkin!

Finally, we were ready to rock ‘n’ roll – I was actually hoping for a Limbo Pole, but had to make do with a tambourine instead.

So, I am pleased to report that fun – once forgotten – was born again and we had a BALL!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

To this end I have decided that fun must take a more prominent position on life’s priority list and not be forgotten or put aside any longer.

Do you make room for fun in your life? Or do you need to make a quick trip to the basement and give the old Fun-Box a dust-off too?

Posted in Happiness

Down but not out

Normally I can roll with the punches but lately life has been putting in some extra hours at the gym and the blows have left me tired, battered and bruised.

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photo credit: Fotographia Guerilla via photopin cc

This is not a state of mind I like and am not comfortable with it being a permanent house guest. So, today I decided it was time to spring-clean the mind and take out the trash in an endeavour to entice hope and happiness to re-claim their residence.

To this end, I put in motion 5 things I knew would guarantee this outcome :

1) Enjoy nature’s gifts

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photo credit: rishibando via photopin cc

Luckily the weather-man had heard my pleas and sent my old pal Mr Sunshine for a visit. Now here’s a guy I never get sick of: his wide smile filled with golden teeth; his non-judgemental eyes with their heart-felt gaze and his long-reaching arms that envelope you with their warm embrace.
As I had been graced with his presence today I made the most of it, following him around like a small child and basking in his glory – and to my surprise I found that even my mundane daily tasks, such as hanging out the washing, were pleasurable in his company.


2) Dial-a-Dad

talking

Whenever I am feeling down there is no-one I would rather talk to than my parents. So, although they are currently in Tonga and a call to them would be expensive, I decided it was worth it and managed to have a great chat to my Dad. Although we just had a general chit-chat, just hearing his voice was enough to lift my spirits. Shortly after, I also received an email from my Mum – so that combined with my chat to Dad was just what the doctor ordered!

3) Dress for success

2012 110

Another way I thought might make me ‘feel better’ was to dress the way I wanted to feel rather than how I was feeling. If I dressed to mirror how I was feeling I would stay in my pyjamas all day or sift through my wardrobe to find the daggiest pair of trackies that I owned. The problem with dressing this way is that it would only reinforce my current state of mind rather than changing it.
Therefore, instead I chose to wear my electric blue jacket and flowery spring top in the hope that the bright, cheerful colours would somehow seep through my pores filtering through to my brain – good theory right?
I don’t think it actually worked quite like that, but I did find that many people complimented me saying how much I ‘suited blue’ and how ‘cheerful’ I looked, which in turn started to actually make me feel a little more positive than earlier.

4) Fake it and divert

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photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

I had been bleating on to everyone and anyone that would listen about my problems and was sick to death of my own voice … so today I decided to ‘fake it and divert.’ To do this, I put on the most convincing smile I could muster and when asked how I was, instead of the standard woeful tale, I replied ‘Great, thanks – how are you?’
The more I told others I was great, the better I starting to feel and by diverting the attention to them it 1) took my mind of my own problems and 2) made me realise that there are others out there that have far bigger obstacles to contend with than myself.

5) Dance

dance
photo credit: B erta via photopin cc

First off I have to say that Little Miss Exercise does not feature high on my best friends’ list, such as Mr Sunshine. However, I will admit that – after heeding to her persuasions and enduring her physical attack on my dormant muscles – I do feel calmer, energised and ready to battle again. So, I committed to attending my weekly dance class and afterwards I definitely ‘felt better.’

So after a day of setting myself the task of ‘feeling better’ and putting these 5 things in place I am pleased to report that I do feel better and ready to battle once again.
“Look out life – the gloves are off!”