December 06, 2011

pictures in my head

A little introspection and a few questions. Will you indulge me?

The thing is this, I have noticed recently that I seem to spend quite a lot of my life rushing. I have four kids at four different schools, plus an energetic hound and a fledgeling business just for starters, so I suppose it isn't suprising. This morning for instance I did the school run without socks on,(nice warm boots though), because I didn't have time to put them on! What? Here is the thing though, rushing makes me crabby. If when I hear myself being short tempered or snappish to my children (oh dear!), it is often because I am in a rush and feel under pressure. Cursing like a sailor under my breath? Usually in a rush. And in the run-up to Christmas, this feeling of everything being under time-pressure gets more intense, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day.  I mentioned a couple of posts ago, that I was a bit out of love with the idea of a majorly fluffed-up Christmas, and ready to try a calmer approach. So far I have noticed something really cool, which I really knew before, but this week has crystallised. When I slow down, I discover things, I learn things, I appreciate things and I communicate  better. My priorities shift back into their rightful place along with my pulse-rate. Slowing down my natural tempo makes me a happier and better person I am convinced. I see more beauty in simple things, I notice quicker the kindness and needs of those around me and I get inspired and energised. Life has so much more shape and colour, when the blur of  speed makes way for the clarity of a steadier gaze. Do any of you find this?

Sooo, I am going to do something totally anti-intuitive and quite possibly bonkers in December - I am going to properly slow down. Yes indeed. s l o w d o w n.  I am going to list, (ye gods, LIST, you know like a grown-up!), a few things that absolutely have to get done each day, and then I am going to step off the crazy conveyor belt and just be in whatever the day brings. Play with my youngest without multitasking on the side, cook and enjoy the creativity rather than moan inwardly at yet another midweek meal to rustle up, wrap gifts as a pleasure rather than a this possible, is it?? I don't think it is all the time, but being a bit more mindful, and in the moment, well I'm giving it a go!I may sometimes run out of time to put my socks on of a frosty morning but we are all human, right?

And as a postscript, part of all the rushing about this time of year, at least for me, is chasing a nutso fantasy of what "Christmas" should look like and as Foxtail Lily said on her blog recently, What screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it's suppose to be". Well ain't that the truth? Not just at Christmas either. I mean I am all for goals and hopes and plans for the future, but not constantly trying to measure up to unrealistic "pictures in my head", (mainly plopped there from a height by the media in one form or another). When actually enjoying the loveliness we can find in our realities, however budget-strapped or quirky or suprising they may be is so much more achievable and satisfying. Because life is full of suprises isn't it? Things not quite turning out like the picture in our head, but still full of beauty and meaning if only we embrace them. (I am not talking about devastating life events here, but just that chasing after the unrealistic 'perfects' of home, family, fashion, taste, accomplishments etc.) Because it is easy to feel mildly offended if life doesn't quite fit our mental blueprint, easy to feel disappointed or uneasy, when infact rolling with it and embracing our own unique circumstances makes for contentment. Relishing the present moment, not squandering it in misplaced aspirations or rushing about like a blue-arsed fly. Ack, I just keep forgetting it! 

Do you feel inspired or imprisoned by your dreams? Do you ever feel you are struggling to measure up to the perfection you see in the media, on blogs even? Does it make you feel you need to rush ever faster to achieve your desires? Step off the pedals with me if you like, lets see how it feels! Let's be kind to ourselves. It is the Christmas present I am giving myself. xxx


  1. Well said! I think we often don't see that we are self-driven, and that so much of what we 'must do' isn't necessary at all. I too forget that I can slow down, but when I remember, and start to do things one at a time again, or leave them undone if they aren't pressing, I find I'm more productive and less stressed. And probably nicer to be around, too.

    And the whole idea of Christmas is so much more attractive after I've crossed out (rather than crossed off!) half the to-do list - keeping it simple has made it much more enjoyable over recent years.

    I'm with you! Keep us posted as to how you get on, won't you.

  2. I wish I could. Thanks for writing this, I hope I can still learn. It is like being constantly worrying, trying to achieve something. I have learned not to rush, mainly, that I have learned, but I keep worrying about what needs to be done, what didn't go right, what can be done about it, perfection always keeping a watch on every movement.

  3. Excellent gift. Getting rid of that ideal picture in one's head is difficult, but oh, so liberating! It really doesn't matter if the house is not PERFECTLY clean and picked up, or if dinner is not PERFECTLY presented, or even if the children aren't PERFECTLY turned out and behaved, but it's tough to let go of it.

    Good luck! We're here for you. xoxo

  4. I suppose it is being bold enough to be ourselves. Sometimes it means we don't quite fit - but it is being true and it is not rush then, it is growth.

  5. Oh I hear you! I've recently been trying to stop with the multi-tasking - I know we are women and we're meant to be great at it but...I'm over it. And blogs are often very sanitised versions of our lives, no arguing, mess etc. It's good to remind ourselves we all face the same dilemmas, no matter where we are in the world! Thanks.

  6. Wow this is a helpful and inspiring read! I'm learning that working within my capacity makes life much better (but as a result I often don't measure up to my or others expectations!).

    Stress-less living is just so worth it! I'm starting today, thanks for the encouragement! Xxxx

  7. A wonderful post, Belinda. Taking time for the necessary and the things that feed you is important. It's taken me a VERY long time to let go of the idea of a "perfect Christmas" and hated Christmas as a consequence. The idea of good-enough parenting has been around a long time and it's time to apply it to Christmas and all the other pressures as well. Don't forget that you can enlist help from other members of your family as well. Older children can rise to the challenge if they have time to get used to the idea. xx

  8. I'm with you; less rushing, less pressure, less stress xxx