Archive for January, 2009

Grace in small things – 2 of 365

My five things for today….

1. Cake at day care.

2. Joy in my friends’ pregnancy that has been long awaited.

3. Newly found podcast.

4. Bananas

5. Baby Beethoven.

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16 things….

dare I say it….about me. Cringe, shirk, hide.

No, I’m going to face the music and share some things about myself. I love reading these things on other people’s blogs so why should it be so hard for me to do? The little person on my shoulder is saying things like “who cares?”, “why would anyone want to know?”, “this is sooo boring,” “no one’s going to read this anyway.” But I say, stuff you Ms whoever-you-are-on-my-shoulder. I can do this and I’m going to and someone’s going to read it and not care less.

So, here it goes…..

1. I have 2 beautiful sons, one 3 (A) and the other 6 months (S). I a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y adore them. Pant for them when they’re not with me. Want to eat them when they are.

2. I have always loved wine but recently am finding myself very passionate about it and wanting to perhaps (gulp) make a career out of it…..

3. I should have done acting. I did it at school and there aren’t many things in my life I can acknowledge I am good at. I was at that and it bought me joy. Maybe one day.

4. I am in the process of exploring what faith means to me. Not Christian faith. Not even religious faith. I just think it’s a beautiful word that could potentially open up for me. Even if it’s simply faith in myself. I need some of that.

5. I grew up thinking I was an extravert. High extravert. Last year, during a course on personality psychology, I discovered, in fact, I’m an introvert. That discovery bought me peace and strength. For so long I’d felt out of my skin. I felt the expectation on me to always be ‘on’ in social situations and to constantly give myself to people. It didn’t always fit my skin. In fact, rarely. Accepting that I actually am more comfortable in moments of solitude or with very close friends was such a relief. I have felt more myself in the last year than since I was a child.

6. I asked my husband to marry me, 8 1/2 months pregnant on New Years Eve as the midnight fireworks were launched. Sydney’s theme that year, unbeknowns to me, was love so huge hearts lit the sky as I popped my question….

7. I am often debilitated by the thought of those less fortunate than me in life. It can cause me to burst into tears at any moment. Sometimes I feel other people’s sorrow so strongly that it paralyses me. I would like to learn how to deal with this.

8. I always thought I’d be spectactuarly successful at whatever I did (maybe even famous) . I have not yet found a career and I have done little of public note since I left school (having won the region’s Student of the Year:). Do you think they have Person-whose-never-done-much-in-their-life-but-has-learned-to-be-in-that-life-and-love-it-anyway-Award? They should.

9. I am an obsessive reader. I always have been and always will be. I feel bereft without a book.

10. I come from a family with a strong history of depression.

11. I was once engaged to a white-goods magnate (not magnet).

12. I have to sleep with something over my eyes as soon as the sun begins to peep its head over the earth. It’s become somewhat of a security blanket.

13. I have an awesomely successful mother whose impressiveness sometimes makes me feel I should do more with my life.

14. I teach and can say with confidence (now that I’ve been doing it a while) that I’m not bad. I love interacting with my students and talking about BOOKS.

15. I won the ‘Dancing Queen’ award at high school.

16. I’m about to send my youngest to day care  a couple of days a week and it’s killing my soul. We need the money…..

Grace in small things – 1 of 365

I found this project here which I think is just wonderful. It’s a challenge for me especially recently having gone ‘drug free’. I’m trying to recapture the feeling I had towards life a month or so ago, unaided by pharmaceuticals and I think I was meant to find this today. I think it’s going to help.

So here’s a clever explanation from the website

The world we live in is loud and harsh and bright and demanding, and it is easy to slide into a less than thoughtful survival mode in which we do what we have to do to make it through the day with the least amount of strife possible. This robs us of the time and energy to be mindful of ourselves and those we love and to recognize the grace that exists in small things.

It is with this thought that I am beginning one year of posts called “Grace In Small Things”. Every day for 365 days, I will post a list of five things that have graced my life, either on that day or at any time in my life. Feel free to join me. Or mock me. Or, you know, do whatever’s in your heart. You can start on whatever day you want, so if you come across this six months from now, don’t let that hold you back.

So here are mine for today:
1. Coffee from our machine which keeps getting better and better thanks to C’s tutelage.

2. The top of S’s head (as I carry him in the sling). Fluffy and soft and warm.

3. Friendly, helpful people in retail making sure I find A the perfect present.

4. splendid table podcast because it inspires me to appreciate life’s culinary offerings in a gentle way.

Ok, because it’s only 2pm, I’ve only got four today. I’ll update tomorrow but I think that’s a good start and honestly? it works!! I felt positive, warm thoughts as I came up with me three ‘graces’.

seal-11

Ah to remember…

promise of blissThis makes me feel quiet when I look at it. I remember what it felt like to sneak through here. How my body felt. Peace, joy, tingle.

Questions about faith

Keep coming up for me. I am circling this idea, looking more closely at what spirituality means to me and what role it might play in my life. I’m fearful that faith requires me to abnegate my mind but I am getting the feeling increasingly that there’s something more, something bigger than this world that you and I inhabit. This is quite a change for me. I’m not sure if cynicism has been my naturall, intellectual response to date or a response to something I simply did not have the answers to.

I am reading this helpful book in an attempt to become clearer about how my spiritual side my work. I came across this quote as I sat down to my morning coffee (at 1pm since it’s a holiday here and I have the boys together – ‘morning’ coffee’s hard to come by):

Faith is the ability to offer our heart to the truth of what is happening, to see our experience as the embodiment of life’s mystery, the present expression of possibility, the conduit connecting us to a bigger reality. When we feel torn away from connection and purpose, we can end up so caught in our state of mind that the whole world seems to exist in reference to our pain.

This resonated for me for reasons (as yet) unknow. I think that the difficulty I have, and have had, with faith is that it requires me to have faith in ‘something.’ Something that is ill-defined and by its very nature, unknowable. It seems to me that we’re told to have faith in (a) god which means “don’t question him/her/it – have faith and your life will be filled with so much more. Don’t seek to understand. Believe, with faith, in all that this god represents and you will be enriched (and have somewhere cool to go when you leave this life).” Kind of thing. Does this make any sense? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I always thought faith was about giving yourself and your intellect up to a belief in something difficult to render tangible. And for this reason, I’ve felt that faith is or can be quite dangerous. It’s asking you to give up your rationality.

Now I’m not so sure that ‘rationality’ is always the key.

Why I liked this quote is it seemed to me to be suggesting that it is faith which makes sense of those things in life that are so difficult to understand. These things are part of a mystery, a possibility that need to be embraced in order for us to go forward with richness and fullness in life. I shun away from the things that don’t seem to make rational sense. Til now, I’ve rejected mystery, unknown possibility. It now strikes me that this is an incredibly egotistical and self-oriented thought process as it does assume that you are the centre of everything. Too often this means that I blame myself always when something goes wrong or doesn’t work out the way I’d hoped. When I hear bad news, I assume it’s because I haven’t been as good a person as I might have been and as such, this bad news is my fate. This is self-flaggelation at its worse.

Now I see that faith is accepting the bad things in life but knowing simultaneously that there will again be good. I’m beginning to understand impermanence and how faith in this impermanence impels us forward and allows us to accept so much more of who we are and the life we lead.

And so we say goodbye

tomorrow. I just want to be quiet now as you can imagine. I just want sleep and softness. I want the heat to slide its way off my body. I want cool zephyrs and iced water.

I will miss his half-voice and the lass I was to him. I will miss his special relationship to his evening drink. I will miss what role together, Granfer and Ganny played in our lives. I will miss seeing my father succeed in chatting with his father with whom he had little in common. I will miss his kindness to my mother so long an ex-member of his family. This kindness, I’ve always felt, was about his love for us as his grandchildren.

I will miss his tolerance with A – so unusual for him. I will miss the Kingston biscuits served with a very strong (Dubbo) cup of tea. I will miss mystery bags and cocacolarotsyamola. I will miss the stale neatness of their home. I will miss the extreme gentlessness and love he gave my grandmother as she slipped further and further into her illness. I will miss the sea view from his window. I will miss his eagerness opening the door when we visited.

Goodbye Granfer. I will miss you.

Do go gentle into that good night

My grandfather is dying and the world feels very quiet now. I held his hand over my father’s yesterday and listened to the rattle in his chest. I wanted to say I Love You but he never was a demonstrative or wordy man. He said little but let you know how he felt in other ways. A casual arm around your shoulder as you entered the house, a cup of tea (which he hated making but did it anyway), the offering of a cold beer, many questions asked about my life.

He lay unconcious yesterday but clearly wanted always to be holding someone’s hand. For me, touching and holding his hand was my way of saying how I felt and good bye.

Sure he’s quite old but his deterioriation has been sudden and the whole thing just both frightens and saddens me at the same time.

I had S with me. It was the first time they met. Granfer tried to open his eyes but every time S squealed (and god knows that’s often enough), Granfer’s eyes would flicker. Funny thing is, he always hated the sound of children. He wasn’t good with his own, or our generation. Things got better when we could share a drink with him and got to know a bit more about sport.

My uncle appreciated the irony that his last days were being filled with the sound of a baby.

I worry about my father. He is so fragile in many ways and I’m frightened this may cause the ground to fall out from under his feet.

Anyway, today is a quiet day. Filled with reflection and work I am trying to plough through.

But I’m thinking of you Granfer and shedding tears for the life that is leaving us. You are surrounded by so many that love you. You have given so much life and your love for Ganny has been unfaltering and so giving to the end. We will all miss you so.