Thursday, February 23, 2012

most important

(sorry for the unrelated visuals, isabelle had a belated birthday party a few weeks ago. we made perfume. great fun!)

quickly, quickly, before the baby comes out and i forget everything i know (why does giving birth do that to me? well, who knows, maybe not this time...), here are in the disorder the most important things i have learnt from this whole 'let's see what happens if my entire life falls apart' year.

1) no matter how madly the world is turning (spinning and spitting out in its wake some enraged ex-husbands, collapsing finances, distressed children, reluctant friends, complex new relationships filled with more land-mines than your average 20th century battlefield, etc.), there is a quiet place right at the heart of the storm where i can be totally and utterly safe. and despite repeated claims to the contrary, i do know how to get there.

2) there is simply no excuse for not doing my thing. fear is not an excuse. timing is not an excuse. age is not an excuse. work is not an excuse. money is not an excuse. children are not an excuse. a husband is not an excuse. the absence of a husband is not an excuse. neither the presence nor the lack of anything is an excuse. there is simply no excuse.

3) there is a difference between asking for help and asking to be carried. the former is an empowering and real way of taking care of oneself. the latter is slavery in disguise both for the person asking and for the one being asked.

4) i am totally blessed. i live the life i want to live. the choices i make fit me like a glove. my life is filled to the brim with everything that i love (time, love, connection, fresh air, movement, laughter and passion) and it has remarkably little in it that i don't (and i'm working damn hard on learning to love that too ;-). it's actually possible to be in an 'officially' crappy situation, and have a total ball. and if that's possible, then hey, the sky's the limit i say ... (note that i'm also aware of the fact that it's very very possible to be in an 'officially' great situation and be totally miserable, been there, done that, still, though, it's kind of fun to figure out this side of it)

5) having friends is a great great treasure.

there must be more things. if i remember them, i'll make sure to write them down. so you can all remind me, when i forget.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

portable comfort zone

for a couple of years now, i've been getting an e-mail every day from Scott Noelle, teaching me bite by bite how to parent with more gentleness and grace. it's been an invaluable companion on many many days, uncannily hitting the nail on the head time and again, always talking about precisely that which i am struggling with.

of course it did not take me long to realise that the daily groove is not just about parenting. it applies to every bit of life, and every single relationship you might be involved in, including the one with yourself.

and today, once again, the daily groove delivered the right goods. it suggested that since it is not always possible for circumstances to keep us within our comfort zone, it might be helpful if we were to carry a portable comfort zone with us at all times. concretely, the brilliant suggestion was to take a card and write on it ten things that bring you back into your comfort zone within a few moments, including a good mix of outdoor/indoor, with/without children, day/night and at least one thing that can be done entirely in one's head.

i didn't get around to finding a card today (because i was busy taking good care of myself so i wouldn't give birth while dying of the flu) (and yes, that is a good excuse), but i thought i would share my list here.

my portable comfort zone

1) metta meditation (may I be happy, may I be safe, may I be healthy, may I be peaceful)
2) tonglen meditation (inhale pain/discomfort/fear/etc. from all who suffer, exhale spaciousness/peace/relief for all)
3) drink a large glass of lukewarm water with some drops of fresh lemon juice
4) sing out loud
5) hang upside down
6) dance or shake (preferably to music)
7) cuddle a lovely person (if available)
8) eat an apple
9) open my mouth and make whatever noise wants out.
10) step outside. breathe.
11) breathe.

What about you? what does your portable comfort zone look like?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

in-line skating (I)

Toini is learning in-line skating (i found a pair of never-yet-used ones at the kringloop for a few cents. god bless the kringloop). out of a two-hour session in the park, he spends approximately five minutes on the skates, and the remaining 1 hour and 55 minutes either falling down or getting up. or sitting on the floor wailing. he cannot do it, he says. he will never learn it, he says. everyone else knows how to do this, he says, except him. it hurts, he says. he hates it, he says. he wants to go home, he says. now, he says. he shouts, he cries, he swears. then he gets up and tries again.

looking at him, i don´t think ´he will never learn this´. i don´t think ´he is wasting his time´. i help him up, hold him when he´s down, and simply witness his incredible learning drive. and i know he will soon, very soon, not even believe us when we tell him that there was a time, not so long ago, when he thought this was soooo hard.


what a mirror my children provide. in these last few weeks, or days (last days! last days!) before the birth of my third baby, i too, am trying to learn a life skill that i find very very hard to master. one that i really want to master, because i can no longer live without. and it´s true that out of any two hours of learning, i probably spend five minutes on my psychic in-line skates, and 1 hour and 55 minutes falling down, wailing, and getting up again. and yes, i hate it. and yes, it hurts, and no, i will never be able to do it, and yes this makes me indignant, and angry and frustrated, and sad. and yes, i curse and i scream and i cry. and shake my fists at the universe.

but then i do get up. and i try again. and the minutes on the skates are bliss. and maybe, just maybe, it will be 6 minutes soon, rather than 5. maybe it was six minutes today. and who ever said that this is not learning?????

Monday, February 06, 2012


had the most amazing photo shoot this morning. with a very talented photographer. smiling all day now. because of the sunshine. the snow. the music. inside and out. life moving through me. Cesaria Evora and Wisława Szymborska are dead. and still. there is life moving through me. and tears taste good too.

here is a documentary. and here a bit of music.

Friday, February 03, 2012

3 february

what is wonderful about the '3 things february' is that it turns out i actually have to choose which three things to name. because there are many, many, more. every day. kind of kills the whole idea that my life is so hard. speaking of which:

- here is the first reason to smile today,
- then there is the smell of freshly brewed lapsang souchong which a loving woman made for me, and
- the sight of four delighted homeschooled children on a virginal carpet of fresh snow

Thursday, February 02, 2012


i found this. a beautiful idea. and exactly what this iron-deficient, utterly overwhelmed, recently divorced, completely stressed out, homebusiness running, pregnant mother of almost three needs: irreverent daily gratitude.

so here goes. three things that made me smile today:

- Toini pretending to fart by blowing onto his arm, and doing it so hard that he ended up farting for real. and not a little either.
- Toini being attacked by his own remote control driven robot/dinosaur/monster which he was trying to set up to attack us when we walked out of the living-room.
- the sight of both of my little ones jumping from one frozen molehill to another in a mysterious game of their own, in the middle of a freezing cold but sun-drenched clearing in the woods.

what about you? what made you smile today?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012