peace in my kitchen

i get home from work and the dishes are dirty and the rubbish overflowing and they should have cleaned the kitchen but they are watching the tv and i feel frustration and sadness and anger.

i want to slam something and tell myself that they simply don’t care but today i remind myself that i can hold the peace here and remember that i can have order and harmony and community, remember that all i need to do is ask – and listen – gently. and i go to speak to them and see they are watching bombs go off in paris.

oh, paris!

yet there is peace in my kitchen. it’s a small thing, something i can hold

something i promise to hold and grow.

my ‘first home’

About a year ago I asked myself what it might take to be a first home buyer – and buy a beautiful and affordable home for my family. I now know the answer. It takes a lot.

It takes dedication. Hours of driving and viewing houses that we had no intention of buying, months before we were even ready to buy to get a feel for different areas, and for value. Watching prices go up and seeing the difference between what people asked and what they received (often a big difference!)

It takes persistence. Dealing with a bunch of people all with their own agendas: agents, bank managers, solicitors, and then with the bank itself! Plowing through paperwork, providing what they ask for, asking questions and more questions because everyone speaks a different language, and even though the words sound familiar they have a different meaning. Forms!

It takes communication skills. I have used all the nonviolent communication tools, all the Landmark Education tools, all the conflict resolution skills I have. I have never been so stressed, wired, anxious, high, excited, fearful and probably all the other emotions as well in my whole life. Trying to reconcile our needs/wants and budget. Following up with the bank when they missed a deadline – and not making a mess of the fabulous manager who sorted it out for us. Fending off agents trying to sell us things that were nothing like what we wanted. Keeping it together for the kids who were plowing through their own studies and needing some sense of home right now.

And finally, it took a community. My husband dealt with the solicitor when I had to go to work (that stuff is usually firmly in my domain!) My daughters cooked and cleaned and no doubt they all did stuff I have not even noticed. My extended family were great too, I got plenty of empathy and sympathy too 🙂 My workmates were fabulous as well – so caring and understanding, especially in the past month as a heap of dramas unfolded.

It takes a lot!

And here she is. A little Queenslander cottage in very tall boots! We move next week.

first_home

the ocean inside of me

There is an ocean inside of me
Breathe in

and out
Hear the gentle waves wash over sand and shells and smooth-ed stone let the waves break long and slow from one end of the vast horizon to the other
Breathe in

and out
This ocean has existed for a million thousand billion years and reaches to eternity
Breathe

Listen to the ocean

I am standing in the train with someone’s briefcase pressing into my back waiting in a phone queue to discuss a payment that bounced sitting waiting for a job interview

And I listen to the ocean inside of me
The only thing that’s real.

 

Back in the habit… I hope!

Ok, I got out of the habit of blogging while getting into the habit of doing some other stuff. Like walking heaps and falling madly in love with all the bush near my home and rediscovering a love for PALEO COOKING and working really hard to become an awesome teacher of LEGAL RESEARCH! (I hope). And I also started another non-violent communication course and grabbed myself a second empathy buddy to practice the homework with and still looking for a ‘first home’ to buy. Oh my goodness.

Not all of it has been fun – I have a bit of an RSI from too much typing and crochet. I totally stressed myself out for weeks trying to catch up to speed with legal research and devise fun interactive lessons with heaps of group work. And I’m afraid I shared that stress liberally at home 😦 And then when it all worked out I was on a high and probably that was just as annoying for long suffering family!

Maybe I should have blogged about it instead 🙂 But instead I kept thinking I didn’t have anything to say (!) Anyway now I have broken the ice I will be back soon and hopefully will be more ‘writerly’ next time. Or not! Who cares 🙂

Comments – getting what I want?

Last week I told about the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) – a 100 day team competition based on steps taken per day. I reluctantly entered this challenge, created some personal goals to suit myself and am now really enjoying it. One aspect I particularly enjoy is participation in the GCC Community.

The GCC Community is an online space where participants and organisers can post a ‘story’ and others can comment or like. So I posted a story and got comments, but not the ones I was looking for.

My story: Non-conventional diets: Paleo

Is anyone else trying out a different diet as part of the GCC? I am getting back on board the paleo wagon after a few years of paleo + anything else I want to eat 🙂
Oh, Tim Tams, white bread and just about everything I find delicious served up at work morning teas – I hope it will be worth it!

And I got heaps of comments about how you ‘need’ to use the food calculator.

Or did I? Re-reading the comments to write this blog, I suddenly don’t see that at all! Just 6 people wanting to lose weight and telling me they are using a variety of means, including three who are using the food calculator! for example: Trying to stick to healthy eating plan too entering my food on the food calculator… The most strongly worded was: …you need to use the GCC food calculator as it really shows you how when you fall off the wagon… In the pleasantly chilly light of morning I can see this person was using a general ‘you,’ like an old fashioned ‘one.’ (one needs to use…)

In short, I got six terrific supportive comments and I somehow mangled them into ‘bloody advice I don’t need.’ I am really going to work on my *non-violent listening some more! Big dramatic sigh.

*non-violent listening: the ability to hear what someone is feeling, needing and wanting to express rather than what you expect them to say. Frequently requires getting my own ‘stuff’ out of other people’s faces 😦

Yes, I made non-violent listening up – but that does not make it untrue!

being part of a ‘thing’: global corporate challenge

So, at work a while ago I took on the role of Wellness Ambassador. Immediately afterwards, I was seconded to a very busy position so have relied on my wonderful teammates to step up and do most of the organising: wellness walks, picnics in the park, gallery visits… they do lots of fun stuff 🙂

Anyway, partly because I felt I ‘should’ and partly because I felt guilty for leaving said teammates in the lurch, I agreed to participate in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).  This is a 100 day wellness competition that advocates taking 10,000 ‘steps’ per day, with options to track calories, engage in an online community and some other stuff that I have not yet explored.

Why I was reluctant: Stuff that annoys me about the GCC

  • 10,000 steps per day does not acknowledge that people come in a wonderful diversity of shapes, sizes, abilities and preferences. Not all of us can step, or find stepping to be a great way to exercise. Yes, there is an option to convert other activities to steps but I would love to see ‘steps’ replaced with something inclusive.
  • Also, personally speaking, I need a day off now and then to just be and do nothing more strenuous that a little pottering about. Ten thousand steps after a day of 29,000+ steps was too much for me yesterday and I just had to take a little nanna nap. Luckily I was not at work… Yes, averages are tracked, but the emphasis is on 10,000 steps every day.
  • This is a team competition, but I have not come across any guidelines for the teams and teamwork – I can see whether my GCC teammates have not entered steps, and (If they forget, or are unable to change the privacy settings) their average and PB steps. Workplace bullying anyone?
  • The nutrition stuff drives me nuts. The ‘calories in calories out’  + regular weigh-in model has failed several generations now – maybe it’s time to encourage people to do their own research and experiment with some new ways of being with food that will work for them – I can think of hundreds of small and large things people might like to try ( calorie counting is just one possibility).
  • There is no mental health component. Sleep does get addressed, but not mental health. Why not? I have an awful suspicion that some corporations may be reluctant to participate if their employees become more informed and start questioning things like work-life balance, allocation of shift work, workload and such.

Things I am unexpectedly enjoying about the GCC

  • I have been motivated to do some things I want to do but never get around to (see goals below)
  • I am enjoying the online community aspects
  • I was pleasantly surprised to find I am more active than I thought

Things I am doing to make the GCC work for me: my personal goals

  • be the first person to get chucked off the rink for skating too fast in the Friday night ‘beginners’ speed skating session. This will never happen, but it has me up and having fun at the rink more regularly
  • get all the things checked that I should have checked but never get around to: I am off to the dentist, optometrist, gp, physio, hearing people (don’t know what they are called yet but suspect I will soon be able to spell it well) … and my car is going to the mechanic too
  • keep my Sundays free. Starting next week… hehe
  • go paleo again. Yay!

I think that is quite enough for 100 days 🙂

reminder to self: what it’s like to be stuck in a low

It’s like this. I have a stone in my shoe. I know its there. It hurts. I know it will need to come out sometime, but not just yet. I can’t stop now in the rain, in the middle of a great sea of people pushing me along, hurrying me. I can’t sit here and remove my shoe, and maybe my stocking too, and be all exposed. No way. I need to find the right space, to be safe.

There is a stone in my shoe. Sometimes I forget that it’s there and I don’t remember why, but I am looking for a safe place, a chair, or a step even, out of the rain, out of this crowd of people pushing at me where did they all come from? Noise is coming out of their mouths, but it does not make sense.

There is a stone in my shoe. I think I have been here before, but the people around me are obscuring my view and they make so much noise, I can’t hear my own thoughts. Am I walking in circles?

My foot hurts. I want to sit down and rest, but I can’t find the right place. I am so tired. I want to tell someone but everyone is pushing me on and on and I don’t know why.

My foot hurts. Is there a stone in my shoe?

things that are sustaining me right now while my Granny is fading and my secondment is is not as fun as i expected

subtitle: reminder to self to keep doing these things 🙂

yoga – Melissa West’s current series is on working with the inner critic

actively engaging with nonviolent communication, reading, doing exercises, writing in my nonviolent communication blog and just feeling my feelings as they occur

allowing myself to really enjoy and appreciate my relationships with my partner and children and to express that to others even when it feels awkward

being creative when and as I feel like it, enjoying having a number of crochet and sewing things on the go and attending to each whenever I feel like it

getting outside for a stroll around the block, or moving my craft stuff into the sunshine and working there

keeping things in order at work with weekly and daily to do lists and if stuff does not get done bumping it to tomorrow and going home on time and not thinking about it even if everyone else works a bit over

feeding the chooks and spending a little time with them

life moving on

My old Granny is fading. She has been in and out of hospital for the past few months with a number of infections, including one in her chest that seems intractable. At one point it seemed she was actively dying, but it does look like we will have her for a little longer, that she can go home again at least for a bit, and enjoy all the attention she is getting from her children, grandkids and great grandkids. (And she is enjoying it too 🙂 )

Gran has started to reminisce. We all love listening to her old stories, but it is a bittersweet thing for her, to remember and to be the only one left. She has outlived all her friends from the old days, her parents, all her siblings, all those connections to Ukraine, to her childhood, her teens, her young adulthood, all gone.

Personally, I am also feeling some emotional impact, apart from the grief about Gran. That is, I keep getting washed over with nostalgia. I look at my young adult daughters and I wonder where my babies, my little ones went. Where is the girl who wrote in grade one I will be a carpenter and build my mum a house and we will all live in it and we will love each other? Where is the four year old who confidently pronounced that we could fix the shower leak with zelly zorclan (Selly’s all seal)? Where did my little miss who perched on the loo with her nose buried in her skirt disappear?

When I was a girl in primary school one of my teachers said to me you won’t believe this but your life will go by in a flash. Make the most of it! He was right. I didn’t believe him and also, here I am, 46 years and two days old, marvelling at it all. How wonderful it has been, how glorious, how hard too, and how blessed I am 🙂

what i get up to when i’m not on facebook

I totally quit my facebook habit in December, and in February reopened it but only check in about once a month. Yes, its inconvenient and I am missing my friend John’s wildlife photos and at least one invitation to something fun, but my everyday life has become so much better… In the morning, I chat to my kids (if they are up), I walk to the train a couple of times a week, and I feel so great not being so exposed to all the sadnessed and badnesses of the world. I get up in the morning happy.

I am also well on the way to fulfilling my dream of sewing my own wardrobe with sustainable/ethically produced fabrics (I only exploit myself and my sister who ‘leant’ me her machine – thanks Cat 🙂 )

Here is my latest dress (and my first selfie). The dresses I will continue with, but maybe not the selfies – I think I sprained a finger… 🙂

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