Yin and Yang


Power tools

I haven’t blogged for a while as my energy seems to have gone into doing up my home. I have heard of the concept of masculine and feminine energy and I wonder which is the more masculine – writing blogs or using power tools! I tend to reject the outside world, including my boyfriend, when I have this huge energy for getting things done so my renovating is a masculine pursuit for me. But what is writing? If feminine energy is being sensual, loving, yearning and preparing for someone else then I would assume that writing is a masculine pursuit.

What constitutes feminine energy? Some people are quiet and softly spoken, good listeners, gentle souls. That’s easy to spot. I look the part, wearing mostly dresses, my long carefully curled hair, make up and love of pink and anything girly but I have a lot of energy (and calloused hands) which surprises people. Sometimes I just want to get things done, so everyone else can bugger off and did I mention that I swear (a lot on a bad day)? I get impatient with pfaffing around, wonder why people don’t just get on with things sometimes and probably come across as aggressive at times.

I actually had a quote about gluttony to write about today but I am so off track I give up on that one for now 🙂 The ultimate digress!

Anyway back to today’s digress. My probably very sexist comments here are just ramblings – exploring out loud, which is why I took to blogging in the first place – a journey not to teach but to discover.

And of what use is today’s outburst to you, the reader if you have gotten this far? I think this has been a reminder to me to become more balanced. I must remember to use all sides of my persona and not head down a masculine path like a woman possessed. Living alone with my kids and not seeing my partner very often (he is another independent creative) has allowed me to indulge my selfish side, which often involves getting things done. But once I am on this ‘kick’ I find it hard to stop. It was Mother’s Day yesterday and I spent the whole day physically working on the home and garden. But I had the best day! And what does it take to commute this energy back to blogging? I committed to myself to at least try today and it’s been hard. This post has been rewritten so many times. I am all over the shop. No beginning, middle or end; no satisfactory conclusion (yet?)

OK here’s the moral of my story. May you remember today to stop and become aware of where you are at – achieving at the expense of human relations, or indulging in love and friendship while the things you should be doing remain neglected and are slowly building up into crisis mode. May your energies be balanced and harmony be restored.

Playful

 

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Are your Priorities Straight?

Valentine pancake

 

Not much time to blog today as it’s Valentine’s Day and to show the kids that I love them I made them these, above.

NO, I AM LYING, I actually made them these, below

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Damn you Pinterest!  I muttered something about ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Kids’ and ‘it’s the thought that counts’ and offered them these also

IMG_0117

 

It turns out, when you flip those babies over, you can’t see the pink heart anyway!  I had better luck with the card, chocolates and cupcakes I made for my boyfriend but don’t get me started on the Pinterest paperweight.  You can have a chuckle at my efforts another time.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  How will you show the ones you love how far you are willing to go for Valentine’s Day?

 

Don’t tell the host!

Be my guest

A guest sees more in an hour than the host in a year – POLISH PROVERB

This made me laugh though it can also be quite serious. I once stayed somewhere and discovered that the host was making late night calls and cheating on his wife. It was later confirmed. But I won’t go there.

What does the guest get to see that the host does not? Children playing up behind the weary parents’ back, partners doing sneaky things, ways of living that tell a lot about a usually dysfunctional home and worst of all, unhealthy ways of communicating between the family perhaps which will likely lead to misery down the track; runaway teenagers or divorce.

It’s not like hosts don’t try to put on a good front. When guests come to my house is when you will find it at its cleanest. I tell them to please take a good look around on this, their first visit as it will likely never look so clean again. I like to think I don’t keep up with the Joneses however I realise I do have some hidden agenda of standards that I want to meet. In fact I am the Joneses. And so I clean and tidy with fresh eyes – the eyes of my guest. This is daft right there because guests are either meticulous and I can’t live up to their standards, (a couple of girlfriends once said they couldn’t live like this because I had a broken but decorative lamp and picture frames askew), or they are oblivious and would tell me not to bother cleaning up at all before they come, like the lady I did the house swap with.

Actually I take delight in showing my childrens’ rooms at their worst, just to show that I am real, with messy teenagers, and that I can cope with massive imperfection in some areas. I choose my battles.

Anyway what the guests see or judge is up to them. What we see and judge is up to us. It might be fun to borrow the ‘fresh eyes’ of a guest for a day to see what we think they see. Are my kids out of control, my house unsanitary, my garden positively neglected? Have my standards relaxed too much? Am I loved and admired by my children or being walked all over? Are my habits likely to lead to eventual chaos?

I think it’s true; it’s easier to see ourselves when we pick this new state of consciousness; guest versus host. How we judge ourselves and what we do about it is another thing, but it is usually easier to take criticism from our own inner Mrs Jones than anyone else’s. We are hopefully criticising constructively and from a place of self love. We might even glean some joy from refreshing our lives. Only we can ascertain how far we need to go.

I hope you’re feeling refreshed today. Life is never dull if we can take on new personalities. Who will you be after reading this?

normal, not normal

You’ve got me? Who’s got you? – Lois Lane to Superman

mother and child

I give full credit for my title to the 80s version of Superman. It’s a fantastic line, used in the trailers I seem to remember and used for the comedy value of it, but full of truth anyway. We laugh because we know that his strength ‘has’ him, that he is all powerful.

I wanted to use the actual image but it may be subject to copyright so here’s the next best thing.

Actually this may be a better image because that’s what it refers to. No, not Botticelli, or Jesus but a child looking up to a parent.

As small kids we think our parents have it all under control, that they are there to support us. How exactly? Financially perhaps, with love, protection, guidance maybe.

And just sometimes I feel like my kids should be asking ‘You’ve got me, who’s got you?’

That’s all. One little manifestation of my irrational mood these days……

 

 

Did you earn anything today?

Loving Grandparents

Old age takes away from us what we have inherited and gives us what we have earned – Gerald Brenan

I do not remember ever seeing this quote yet it came from last year’s desk calendar. It speaks to me today because I was pondering yesterday on whether I would jump at the chance of living a human life again.

No life is untouched by want, need, joy, tragedy, love, work and sacrifice, among other things. If I look back on the days when I had 3 kids under the age of 4 at once and the sleepless nights and helplessness I felt as a parent in the face of their tears at times, I might wonder if I wouldn’t mind missing those years out, no matter how adorable it all looks now in the photos. If I look back on these days, where I am a single parent, working full time, trying to pay the bills, manage the house, garden and pool with elbow grease, 3 teenagers and a low budget, I might wonder if I could miss these years out instead. If I look back on when I was waiting to see if I could emigrate to Australia and couldn’t get my life started, I might want to skip that year instead.

But the list goes on and on, and each phase of life has its moments – merry, marvellous and tough. Of course I wouldn’t miss out a moment. There are trying and horrible events, and deaths and testing people and depression but these particular tribulations are behind me now, and I came out the other side, brave enough to see what transpires next.

Anyway I digress. Gerald is saying, I believe, that we are born with physical attributes and personality traits and hopefully at least one parent to love and take care of us as we grow into adults. As we leave the nest and find our own way in the world we ‘earn’ a second family, jobs, friends, money, status, lifestyle, health and happiness.

Old age, while stealing our looks and youthful health, replaces it with a sense of accomplishment and wisdom if we have chosen to grab it, an understanding of how things will likely play out, a sense of our own strengths in the face of adversity and hopefully less reactivity to everything around us. We may have lost our ancestors and parents by then but we will have replaced it with the next generations, or great friends and community bound to us by all we have done for each other.

Baby hands

With any luck we have replaced uncertainty with happiness, angst with confidence borne of the years.

Can I take my current knowledge to my next life? Would you replace youth for all you know now? I value what I’ve been through to get here. I hope you do too.

 

 

You deserve it!

Such a simple message but the best parenting advice I know. I am a fan of Jo Frost, Supernanny. She sometimes shows such brilliant understanding (like a small child scarring her own face when she sucked her thumb because of her older sister’s being treated like a baby due to being premature) but generally you see the same parenting methods. She basically sets expectations and boundaries for the kids so that when they test the parents‘ boundaries (which they are meant to do in order to grow up) the parents will know how to respond. Jo usually has to give them the extra strength to resist (return the child to bed 40 times instead of giving in and letting them sleep with the parents for example).

Can we parent ourselves that way? Or diet that way? If I keep acting up and adding ‘little extras’ to my diet my body always resists and I put on weight. Once I learn that I cannot keep doing that I will be healthier and happier for not eating large amounts of unhealthy food and constantly testing my limits. I am like the kid that gets more sleep finally, and whose parents are happier; benefits that were realised because boundaries came into play. Mother nature is strong for me (responds the same way each time by making me fat) and I just have to find different methods for myself to stop ‘acting up’ and looking for ‘love’ in the chocolate block.

Anyway I digress. Where on earth was I? I will just finish Jo Frost. So her second message is always to give the children consistent love so that they get their needs met, feel wanted and part of the family and don’t feel the need to act up for attention of any kind in the first place. She takes them on outings to the park for some reason, or has them do craft together or find something new like karate for father and son to do together. This showing of love is the foundation for most of the parenting courses I have undertaken. Have FUN with your kids. Let them know you will give them attention even when they don’t act up. Take time for them. Don’t let all the words you use be to keep them in line. They won’t keep listening to you and you become distant and ineffective anyway. ‘Help is the sunny side of control’ is another quote I like. Stop helping them and invite them to help you instead. They have lots to teach!!

So why do we (and kids) need the most love when we least deserve it? When we become insecure (feeling unloved and unappreciated) we start acting up. We become irritable and defensive to those around us and in their eyes we are less ‘lovable’. We might start doing things to get other’s attention, shout or slam doors or start swearing to externalize our feelings. Neither produces a great response in others. It can make them irritable and defensive if they think you have attacked them in some way. They are likely to give you less love and the spiral continues.

You would do just as well to remember to be your own ‘parent’. Treat yourself like this with consistent love and positive messages about your achievements. Take time out for yourself to have fun. Take time out to work out what fun even means for you. Set your own boundaries if life hasn’t already done that for you. Swap your family’s or anyone else’s voices for your own inner voice. That’s my favourite lesson in life so far.

What I have learned from exploring this quote is that we should treat ourselves as we want others to treat us. I heard that the basis of absolutely all religions is ‘treat others as you would want to be treated’. So mine is reversed. ‘Do unto yourself as you would other people do unto you’. When you least ‘deserve’ love, love yourself more for recognising it. Be kind to yourself. And if you can recognise the hurt in everyone else when they appear to be ‘mean’, you will see the world as full of scared children, rather than nasty people. I know which world I would rather live in.

 

 

 

 

What’s in your fridge?

Whenever you fall, pick up something – Oswald Theodore Avery

Just now I dropped an open tub of margarine. In the millisecond it took to fall, I know I furrowed my brow as I expected it to splat all over the floor. I also remember being curious while it actually fell as I had never dropped one before (and you would usually call me Miss Accident Prone Butterfingers).  I knew I was about to learn something.

Of course, because it had only just come out of the fridge, first thing in the morning, nothing much happened when it hit the floor. It didn’t splatter or leave the container, the container didn’t break or even dent and I didn’t have anything to clear up. It actually bounced. I quickly retrieved it, still exactly as it was before I dropped it.

It got me thinking though! What I realised was that if the margarine had been out all night, it would likely have melted somewhat, and made a mess on impact.

That could be a metaphor for us as people. Where have we been ‘all night’? What consistency are we, before any ‘disaster’ occurs? Will we fall apart or hold together? How can we come out of the fridge often and long enough to give of ourselves (to my raisin toast this morning) but remain essentially in an environment that nurtures us and makes us strong enough to cope, until we are all used up? My fridge is filled with great people, (the ability to find the great in everyone), freedom, (the ability to enjoy the freedom of even a few spare minutes or freedom of my thoughts) and learning from whatever and whomever I can. What’s in your fridge?

PS I wrote this, because I couldn’t stop myself; being a ‘writer’. “A writer is a person who writes”. Then I decided to use this thought for my post today so I can spend time editing past rambling ones instead. I don’t have a quote about butter however this seemed pretty close! I could rephrase it ‘Whenever you drop something, pick something else up, even if it’s just an idea’ – Emma Victoria Capell.

It’s tempting to keep writing (and digressing) on this subject, but today Less will have to be More.