Calling all Polygons…are you ready?

Well hello 2016 you sexy son of a bitch. How are you? Are you surviving?

I would like to begin my saying I wish mine had started off with a positive bang. But there is a fine line between Philosophy and Reality, the paradoxical duo that have us stumbling around in First World problems with a gin and tonic in one hand and Dr. Seuss in the other.

Disclaimer: I make no apology for the depth of the following conversation- there IS NO small talk ( as a friend of mine would say). If you would like to walk in the meadow together and chat about the weather please put on your TV or Google it, cos it ain’t going to happen. I would love to say that 2016 started off joyfully, however that would be giving it the congrats it barely deserves, I shall be complimentary enough to grant it the respect it needs so far- it has bought abundant lessons and invaluable reflections. Life gives you lemons? Our lemon tree is throwing them like a bitch, its a dodge-ball game without the lemonade! No, that’s not true, watch me make that lemonade, it shall be the finest lemonade in the all land, tart with a hint of zesty sweetness, the elixir of life…

I have heard it mentioned in some circles that the current position of the world is in a “quickening.” There are a lot of things going on in our atmosphere, our humanity and cosmos creating quite a commotion. Whether you subscribe to this or not, I have seen some shit go down already that is breathtaking, like an operetta of “Uh Oh”. Astrology charts should be shouting in capital letters  “Hang onto your seats ladies and gentlemen and kiss your bums goodbye” Okay maybe I am being melodramatic. But if you look around you there is a lot of stuff going on all over the world, both positive and horrendous. Everyone is on their own journey and popping their heads over into other people’s journeys. Some of those head popper-overers are sticky beaks, some are saviors and some are just narcissistic voyeurs, either way it’s a busy place to be. I have images of our Guardian Angels walking home from work, exhausted, wings drooping and shaking their heads in bewilderment, then steeling themselves up for a new day at the office like Rocky prepping for the Clubber Lang fight. I have had moments of wanting to pack up my favorite people, fellow Concave Polygons and run for the hills where we can make moonshine, whistle Bowie tunes (this is an artform, try and whistle Golden Years from start to finish. RIP major Tom x) and discuss the Politics of Jedi balance. This is true.

But I didn’t. I stayed in the Burbs and did the washing, paid the bills, mopped the floors etc etc. Time to be mumsy, a wifey, a friend, an aunty, a daughter, a sibling, an entrepreneur, a writer, a candlestick maker…

November and December bought Light a Spark campaign, to raise money for the Alfred Hospital and with that gorgeous journey with my lovely new friend Regina, my family and I found ourselves promoting, wrapping, packing and delivering Candles all over Australia to raise funds for the Neuro ward at the Alfred Hospital Melbourne, and we didn’t stop! I would need a whole other blog to chat about the incredible heart filling that took place within the space of this brainchild of Reggies. The support from friends, family and other gorgeous peeps in the community was astounding, and an absolute blessing to be a part of.  I look back now and think how timely it was, this heart filling. I was going to need it.

Busy tidbits and  family commitments had me up to my ears in candle wax and ‘what- not’s’ which left little time for much, top that with brilliant  business success for the year, a Dad who was still alive and recovering after a very scary near miss, new friendships and exciting times and then….then came the Christmas tsunami.  Christmas is usually a time of honoured blessings, fun fervour and rejoicing our Christian faith in our household. This Christmas was different. Not a nice different either… the faith was there but whoa…there were personal upheavals going on around us so fast it was crazy and from every angle. Relationship breakdowns with friendships, new business deals souring, hurt, confusion, anger, arguments…our world became a sudden and unexpected battleground with us sitting here dazed and confused. I won’t go into personal detail but its been a bit awful.

Then there has been the quiet realization creeping in too that the “next check” was coming, and this always brings with it restlessness. The momentum starts to build of what will or won’t be, and if you have ever tried to take a dog back to the vets for a check after having a procedure you will know that wee pup is going to drag its backside. Backside dragging I am good at, as well as using the mantra “IM FINE.” Lesson #657: Health Crisis do not make you immune from humans behaving badly, including yourself. Lesson #658: Getting sick can scare other humans and make them want to not like you anymore, if you die they will hurt so step away as quickly as possible. My Question for the teacher: But sir, what happens if you have no intention of dying and you plan on living until you are at least 98? At least!  Response: can you hear crickets chirping?

To cut it all short I basically swung into the New Year exhausted, and I will acknowledge right here I was warned. Loved ones around me warned me, my body warned me. It wasn’t from work or physical exertion, it was from trying to please everyone and everything, every need and most of all trying to bow to the my own needs and demands of Time.

Time has been my friend, my blessings, my curse, my companion, my alarm, my reminder, and then I realized after Christmas it had morphed into becoming my Keeper.  A Master of my mind; always just there in my thoughts…time, time, time. I appreciated it as a reminder for gratitude but it grew into a heavy yoke, threatening to cut off my circulation. Even in gratitude and hobbling to take full advantage of every moment and savor every piece is a little whisper of ‘what if’ and ‘maybe’ and even ‘soon’. Weird huh? That in amongst the haste of being positive you are allowing the negative, acknowledging you might not make it, but then you might…I am finding there really is paradox in everything, light and shade. Being grateful for time also includes knowing the downside of the lack of it. You can’t have popcorn without the heat you know? But I am shoving popcorn down my throat and its starting to make me choke. And if any of you have ever seen me eat popcorn you will laugh; imagine a Dyson vacuum cleaner and you might get an idea.

The ticking was getting too loud on that damn clock.  I needed practice at patience. So often I want to bite life off in chunks but it isn’t meant to be bitten, for me its meant to be nibbled. At the moment it feels like gnawing. Held back. Because this is the fight I find my mind in: I need loads more time. I want to see what blue eyes looks like old and wrinkly, and there is so much fun to be had with these humans I created with my body. They are the coolest humans, truly they are. Gifts of love, abundant, cheeky, complaining, whining, burping, fighting, hugging and whatever else they feel like doing, they are the most kind, humorous and intelligent, musically attuned humans I know. I hope they stay that way. I pray this place doesn’t wreak too much havoc and they remember their inner; that when the world screams MORE they will listen when their hearts whisper “less”. I want them to be strong enough, brave enough to make their difference in the world and I can’t help do that or lead them there when I am shoveling popcorn in my mouth and fighting an aneurysm poppage. Makes me about as useful as a bloody ashtray on a motorcycle, seriously.

This tribe of mine; we have countries and places to travel to, educationing (I made that word up) to be had, differences to be made. Endless Spanakopita conversations to be had in coffee shops with blue folk, (I’ll explain later)  mountains to climb together, ashrams to see, people to help… You see how my mind works? I get myself all knotted up worse than Bert from Sesame Street with his paperclip collection.

Ahem…Its time for a rebalance.

I need to listen to the Less to make a difference so in my bowing gratitude I am now endeavoring not to think about time. To relax a little, not think too much about the sands in the hour glass and go with the flow, see where it takes me. How? I am not 100% sure on that yet. So off I went to my trusted mentor and Kinesiologist and had an energy rebalance, I then spent days reflecting, writing and in prayer and meditation. This rebalancing -replaced angst and deep hurt with understanding, compassion and calm, a sense of peace. I felt like a kitten that was fed so much all I could do was roll into a ball in front of a warm fire and sleep. There is no other feeling like that of peace is there? I received a swift yet kind lecture about self care and the old Oxygen mask chat. Have you heard that one? If you are in an airplane and its going down, you should place the oxygen mask on yourself first then on your little ones, because otherwise you lose consciousness and are no good for anyone lol. This is a hard one when you are bred into a society that tells you self love is selfish. Again, learning people…learning!

Slow down; the message has been loud and clear. My body is so very tired, my immune system is pretty wrecked and it all needs some attention as well as my nervous system.

There is not much I can control at the moment but I have been given multiple options for growing and healing, why wouldn’t I take them? It doesn’t serve me well to be disempowered and helpless, restless and anxious. What does serve is the sense of peace I get when I listen. There is an entire universe within if we listen closely. Like Horton hears a Who, the question is whom is on your speck and are you listening closely?

My speck has helped me make a decision to create my own retreat over the next 4 weeks, allocating practice to some of what I did when I was in rehab a couple of years ago; dedicating the whole day to the healing process. The next month is going to be about healing, loving and mending. It already has these things however more concentration is going to be spent on daily scheduled meditation, yoga, reflection, mindfulness, aromatherapy, playtime with my little family, gentle exercise as well as some powerful brain training exercises getting both sides firing and the most important; prayer time. I am pretty sure that this is a recipe for healing lines and complete recovery.

I want my body mind and spirit to be fully pumped, in 4 weeks time, no matter what they tell me, no matter what happens, in any capacity I will be prepared, ready and my body and my mind will be such a watertight vessel that it can manoeuvre the waves, whether they be smooth and glasslike or stormy and full of icebergs. I am going to ignore time as much as possible, and I am going to get one with the Concave Polygon. So this is my plan, I am going to ride into 2016 like a Jedi, my arms and legs might be flying around as awkward as a drunken giraffe on roller-skates but it will be done! I shall also re-watch the Goonies and Harry Potter with my tribe and nibble slowly on popcorn with a gin and tonic in one hand and Dr. Seuss in the other!

In the words of the Great Seuss:

“And when you’re alone there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”

“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”

PS- For Mel x

 

Kind Acts, Hunger Games and Magical Starts…Marriage anyone?

I have been a very lucky vegemite. I just got back from a Family Holiday that included laughter, smooches and all the nutbag stuff that stems from being a part of our little tribe. I also got to catch up with some beautiful friends I haven’t seen in a really long time. While I was basking in the sunshine and love of these two friends, it occurred to me that in their own way they are exceptionally kind at heart. Then I started to think how lucky I was that I had so many friends that many have one thing in common- true kindness, a- go- out -of -your-way sort of kindness. Pondering on Kindness stopped me thinking about Fred and the Case of the diabolical Aneurysm. So bear with me and come along on my little escape from reality, hold my hand and lets walk together…

As parents and guardians of little humans we all strive in some way for them to be good people, to grow into being constructive adults, nice adults. The awesome thing to recognize is that all children are born good, children are naturally and intrinsically good. However once they have been in the world for a bit, environment starts to play a huge part in the formation of social skills and empathy. Some kids just seem to have a natural empathy for others that burst forwards like a water spring, whilst for others it doesn’t come so easy. How do we teach them effective skills? Is it simply by example or lesson? So what is kindness? A concept? An ideal? How do we teach it?

When we take all of these notions we have of kindness it all boils down to one question: What does that person need to assist or help them, make them feel better? We could even say that Kindness is an act of servitude to assist in either a small or large way.

In our Western environment we really do live in a convoluted world of ME, even as a kid it’s a busy place full of school, sport, curriculum, sleeping, eating, play-dates, movies, birthday parties…the list goes on, which for busy kids or just most people in general if we are honest – being kind or going out of our way for others on a daily basis isn’t a priority. Sure you can be pleasant and do nice things when the occasion arises, when it is requested or obvious, but to make Kind Acts a daily goal and a priority most likely isn’t on the agenda.

So what if we taught kids that the Kindness Formula has a necessary ripple effect that is crucial to living a healthy and happy life, as important as Vitamin D, Fresh Air and Good water? I will go one step further and say we should teach everyone. Because I don’t know about you, but there are poison spitting lumpy caterpillars in my life amongst the butterflies. (They don’t always look like caterpillars though huh?) Yup, the growed up ones we cooked earlier. Kindness doesn’t come easy to some. Some of us just have a bit of kindness lacking in our life, we’ve forgotten its important, seriously life can be bloody tough and you don’t always have the fuel in the tank to go the extra distance for another person. Or do you?

   In 2010 political scientist James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego, and medical sociologist Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University undertook an in-depth study into group dynamics and kindness that turned up some fascinating results. They revealed that kindness is in itself contagious and has contributed to the evolution of co-operation and Groups with altruists in them will be more altruistic as a whole and more likely to survive than selfish groups. From a scientific perspective, Fowler added, these findings suggest the fascinating possibility that the process of contagion may have contributed to the evolution of cooperation.

Fowler is quoted as stating acts of giving were “tripled over the course of the experiment by other subjects who are directly or indirectly influenced to contribute more.” They suggest that behaviour of kindness spreads and is a successful element for co-operation. Not a bad suggestion for a group of humans sharing a planet together one would think? James H. Fowler, and Nicholas A. Christakis. Cooperative behaviour cascades in human social networks. PNAS, March 8, 2010 DOI:10.1073/pnas.0913149107

So, kindness is contagious and necessary for the development and evolution of humans on the planet, (whoa heavy stuff!) So it stands to reason that the act of Kindness becomes a priority and a skill we teach our kids to give them a solid foundation for social living, without of course ignoring the fact that it feels really good.

So how do we go about it? A suggestion I heard about years ago and we integrated with our kids and became my catch cry when dropping them off to school; “Don’t forget to do something kind for someone and learn something new!”

Each night on the way home or at the dinner table we would ask them what act of kindness did they do and what did they learn? If they “forgot” to do an act of kindness it then gave a chance to think about how they could have. If they did do an act of kindness and learned something new it gave them the opportunity to feel really good and positive about their actions and see what they were “putting out there” and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

Something pretty magical starts to happen; they start to see the Ripple Effect for themselves. This action and process is an illustration of how kids can plant their own seeds and in weeks to come the kindness and learning grows and comes back to them. They are rewarded in subtle ways which in turn teaches them a whole new level of social skill and inner self learning, guidance and reflection and even gratitude for other’s kindness to them. Before you know it, acts of kindness become a daily routine.

Another benefit is that it propagates a great attitude; No matter what sort of day you’ve had, as long as you’ve shown an act of kindness and learned something new it has been a Successful and Worthwhile day. Don’t forget all of the great things Goal setting does for kids too…the list goes on. This little exercise before and after school has many layers of worthwhile outcomes for emotional growth and development all stemming from one small action.

Tip: You might get some eye rolling and resistance, don’t let this deter you, trust in the process of what you are doing! You can even make some rewards if needed to kick start it a little bit. Remember that if you make it routine your kids will retain it and integrate it eventually.

Another method I tried recently that was so successful I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it years earlier, it certainly would have saved me a couple of near nervous breakdowns and money on wine lol. Seriously you ask no kidding around; TELL ME!

            We ran a House Competition- the person who was the nicest and the kindest for a week got to choose whatever we had for dinner Friday night and a sweet of their choice. I admit I didn’t think this was the strongest of incentives, I thought only a trip to Disneyland would induce what I was asking… but what transpired was so hilariously successful it replicated a cross between the Hunger Games and Mary Poppins on steroids. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a house of boys and more often than not; regardless at this attempt I call parenting – the fighting that goes on between my offspring is so common place that the lounge-room resembles Fight Club more than the Swiss alps of Sound of Music, but I am telling you this house comp worked! After 5 days I had a non –conflicting peaceful calm house. Fighting had reduced by an estimated 70%, conflict resolution had progressively improved in epic proportions, my nerves were lovely and crazily in-tact and the house felt like an over 80s knitting party on a Sunday. I am not kidding!

The acts of kindness that went on were blissful to see, albeit at times they were faking it till they made it- (always fun to watch.) But it seems my children have enough of a competitive streak to make the challenge a success. The irony of them trying to out-do each other with kindness would have the most impressive passive aggressor bursting at the seams! But all humour aside- it worked. Surprising but true.

Lets face it, as parents we want our tribe to be kind, we all crave peace and calm and for our kids to be happy positive contributors. Perhaps a bit of well -positioned bribery laced with competition and good intention is good for the soul. I think the most important thing to remember is that we are all in this soup called life together, none of us is perfect and putting our heads and hearts together makes all the difference.

Some Questions to get you going when stumped with acts of kindness for your little humans:

Did you see someone sad at school today?

Did your teacher need help with anything?

Was there a way you could have helped?

Could you open the door for someone? Give a compliment? Help carry something?

What are the ways you could help at school?

Did you accept someone different today?

How could you support your friends?

How do you stay positive with your teachers?

Did you see someone in your class that needed help with something?

Remember Do something Kind for someone today and learn something New and don’t forget to try this on big humans too. You can replace the “Choose the Dinner” with “Choose the sport on TV and all sorts of other interesting Grown Up things, this is especially good for Romantic Relationships (My tongue is firmly in my cheek right now!….) If you want to be really super kind, you could change a legislation and pass a new law even! Now wouldn’t that be exciting?

Do you like being married? Was it fun growing up as a Heterosexual? I bet it was awesome, you were never questioned about the un-natural state of your romance or progression in front of God and Your Tribe making a commitment to have and to hold, honour and keep from this day forward, in sickness and in health. It is so much more convenient isn’t it? You didn’t have a choice you were just born that way! Lucky duck! The strange thing is, its a kindness to let all sorts of people have this choice too, let us not be greedy! Let us be kind and let us be human, its good for the soul I promise, and it won’t hurt anyone.

PS- putting the toilet seat down is truly a kindness. No really. Put it down. 

Thanks for indulging me in my little escape. Sending you all blessings and lots of copious laughs because a giggle a day can keep the doctor away. x

#marriageequalslove