I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately. Tense. A feeling of tightness in my heart, for no particular reason. But I know the difference between how I’ve been feeling and what it feels like to feel content and relaxed and happy.
Why, you ask? Oh well, there’s the big stuff like the imminent climate emergency and destruction of the planet we depend on for life. (The planet will survive, by the way, but perhaps not all of us).
And then there’s the daily grind. I’ve never been one for the 9 to 5. But that’s life right now, for the most part.
There’s a desire to hide, to disconnect, to retreat. Yet a resistance to that. A resistance to the natural and needed winter phase. There’s a judgement on my self to do, and be, and connect, and socialise.
There are shifts and changes in relationships. Petty squabbles.
Yet, there is change ahead. Last week was winter solstice. The middle of the darkness. The beginning of the light.
And perhaps that’s where the world is in general. The middle of the darkness. The beginning of the light.
Have you ever heard people say, “you have to love yourself first before you can love anyone else” or something like that?
I’d agree with this for sure. But then again, I see people in relationships who are still obviously in process with their own wounds and lack of self-love. Hhhmmm.
And hold on, what kind of relationship am I referring to hear? Of course, the first assumption is romantic. And that’s what I meant. But it’s a trick. A trick to get you to open and read even though you’ve got other things to do. A trick that makes you think I’ll expose my deepest darkest secrets, and I still might. But in fact, I'm not in 'a' relationship, I'm in many.
Do I love myself? Some days. And I’ve learnt to embrace the idea of this as a priority. But it’s a practice.
Yesterday we had a professional development day and a woman who was an expert and influential person in the child safety/ child protection area ran a session. I fell in love with this woman. Compassion, intelligence, style, power. Wow. I know who I want to be like when I grow up. (I know, I can’t be her, I can be my own unique version of awesome! But still.)
Imagine someone moved in next door. They’ve had dramas and some stress as part of the move, but they’re grateful for the people that have helped out, and that they have a new place to live. How does it feel to interact with them? Do you feel inclined to welcome them and be supportive?
Now imagine that this person, in exactly the same situation, complained about the stressful things that had happened, people were late, didn’t keep their promises to help etc. How does it feel this time? Chances are you feel less included to be supportive.
This is how you work. Feel gratitude for the things that go well in your life, and more things go well. It’s not hocus pocus. Even if you’re don’t openly express gratitude. People around you can feel it.
And it’s good for you. Stress is bad for your body. Gratitude, compassion, joy etc are good for your body.
“Thank you” is more often a politeness than a genuine feeling in our culture.
For a lot women a sense of importance is found in the role of mother. In fact, the words have come out of a friend’s mouth, “I feel like my life has meaning now”... now that she’s a Mum.
But is that really it?
Can you imagine that of a man, that the meaning of his life is to be a Dad. And that’s all. Yes, to be a good father is so important. To be an involved Dad that helps with childcare and housework.
Shit. “Helps”. It just slipped out. Even though I know better. Dads “help” with childcare and housework. Mums do - that’s women’s role.
(The word here should be “share”!!!)
But we see women’s role of mothers and carers as primary. And men’s role as everything else - artists, leaders, bankers, policy makers, speakers, doctors, etc. etc.
Even in the world of work the professions dominated by women are underpaid and undervalued. And the vast majority of totally unpaid care and volunteer work is done by women.
We’re just there. In the background. Helping out.
I feel out of integrity. Not with the disclosure of my court appearance and criminal activity, I feel OK about that. But with my subtle, or not so subtle, manipulation.
Those of you who have received my emails in the past, signed up to receive either my free ebook or free 5 day Mindful Mums ecourse. Last week, I decided to write regularly again after about a year or so.
In the last year I’ve been working as a social worker with a youth homelessness service, have continued to organise and run Radiant Woman Retreats, organised a gathering of about twenty women who are actively involved in girls’ Rites of Passage work in Australia and New Zealand, have been in conversation with women in the Kimberley (Western Australia) about contributing to a healing program for young Indigenous women there, and have started to talk to schools about running one day workshops.
So, my plate has been full. But actually, I missed these blogs. They are an opportunity for me to reach and connect with a broad audience, and also to connect with myself and have a disciplined practice and creative outlet. I don’t often know what I’ll write about it advance, and often it’s like pulling teeth to actually sit down and get it done. But it’s a process in which I connect to something beyond myself, something that knows truth and wisdom and can navigate a tricky situation I’m confronted by - either personally or in my external world.
If you don't want to receive these weekly blogs feel free to unsubscribe… you see, I’m a criminal…
The charge… possession of dangerous drugs… psilocybe cubensis… otherwise known as magic mushrooms… a substance that “researchers from Johns Hopkins University have recommended… be reclassified for medical use, potentially paving the way for the psychedelic drug to one day treat depression and anxiety”.... and can actually be quite fun...
Now chances are I won’t actually get a criminal record... and I could just keep this whole situation quiet for the sake of my professional reputation…
“Don’t be the poster girl”... an older wiser woman advised me…
But there’s something in me that simply can’t keep quiet…
Why? Because despite the risk of the consequences… I call bullshit…. I’m not a criminal… and I know that criminalisation of recreational drug users is NOT effective… members of the Australian police, most of the Australian public, and the National Drug and Alcohol Research centre… recognise that “you can’t arrest your way out of this”....
So what to do instead… be like Portugal… they decriminalsed the use and possession of all illicit drugs in 2001, expanded investment in drug treatment, harm reduction, and social integration…
The result of all this craziness… kids gone wild and society gone to ruin???... quite the opposite…
Do you have a 7 - 11 year old daughter?
It's never too early (or too late) to spend some one on one time together. In fact, connecting in this way well before the teenage years will make the whole journey easier.
Time out from busy lives and so so many distractions to really connect, share stories, and have the opportunity to express to your young one how much you appreciate and care about them.
Plenty of fun and play as well.
Yep, you could go camping just the two of you or with other families - and that's a fantastic thing to do. But to have a team of facilitators guide you through a process of fun, connection, sharing, and honouring together with a group of other fathers and their daughters.
Yep, this one's for the fathers.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go through life childless?
Most of you reading this are Mums and have a different lifestyle than someone like me with no babies.
And I’m in awe of you. The love of mothers. The challenges mothers face at all phases of their child’s development. The societal expectations and pressures to be perfect - the perfect homemaker, cook, wife, lover, mother, and successful career woman. And thin and well groomed and with 1000s of insta followers.
I’ve had friends with babies tell me their life now has meaning.
But I know that you are more than your role of mother. That even without the work you do to mother, your life and who you are still has meaning.
You are more than your role of mother. Your creativity and drive to contribute to the world in other ways didn’t stop when you gave birth. Am I right?
Have you ever gone to counselling?
I hope so.
What? Does that mean I hope you’ve had some really hard times or serious mental illness in your life?
Well, no. There’s this stigma around counselling that says it’s only for the seriously messed up, or for the weak. "Resilient people don’t need counselling. Strong people can manage things on their own."
Other people will say that if you have good friends and support around you then you don’t need to find professional support.
Some people feel strongly that this kind of support should be free and get upset at the idea that everyone thinks they need to “buy” solutions – that is, pay for professional services.
I can see how people could get these ideas. But I have to say I disagree.