Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Eight years to calm

Almost eight years ago I was told that part of my destiny was to learn calm. To be calm. Might not sound like such a feat but at the time I had just emerged from severe exhaustion and ever-slowly out of what felt like an all-consuming frantic auto-immune disease and back into health. I was still recovering, and learning so much about my body and what worked and didn't work for me. 

I knew the opposite of calm had got me to that state. I knew I was learning calm. Very slowly. I was better at creating calm. But to be calm? That seemed impossible to me. And being told my destiny involved this invoked tears. Because what was calm anyway? And how? Staying healthy seemed so hard. Tell me how to be calm, I begged. 

Just the thought of having to somehow find calm as a natural state made me much less than calm. But of course, that was the whole point. Calm can't be controlled or manipulated. Calm just is. It can be invited though. And created, and embraced. And the instant this dawned on me, I surrendered - and all at once gave up on pushing myself to be the me I needed to be to remain healthy. 

Instead I focused on what felt happy to me, instead of doing and moving all the time I stayed still and breathed (and it was hard at first), I pulled away from anything that might equal busy which meant learning to say no (and that was especially hard for me). I read a lot, I spoke to a lot of people, I researched, I tried new ways of being/eating/moving and learnt so so much. And most definitely the eight years to this point right now (insert three babies, three house moves and various job changes) have seen me fine-tune my calm-for-me skills. 

Yesterday I cancelled plans (because rushing doesn't agree with me), a fortnight ago I booked into yoga classes again for this term (because I know my body, heart and mind will thrive in that one hour) and last week after setting up various creative pursuits for the kids I decided it was what I needed too and spent an hour drawing and painting. For the past three months I've been reading books and more books (on to my fifth) and for the past five days I have turned my meditating-whenever-I get-a-free-chance-habit into a nightly rhythm for as long as my mind, heart and body choose (sometimes five minutes, sometimes twenty). 

And today while I walked in the sunshine I wondered how my energy could feel so good when I'm on broken nightly sleep thanks to my beautiful teething almost-five month old baby. My answer to myself is this sense of nurture and self that's come from my investment in calm pursuits. Suddenly all the little things I've taught myself over eight years have come together. And I'm sure it's not one of them, but all of them. And I suddenly realised I'm doing more than okay. And I think I'm coming close to working out this calm caper. Well, for me anyway.


How do you do calm? And any book recommendations?

Friday, 4 September 2015

No coincidence

Before I gave birth to Ruby, I noticed my body calling me to slow. And the week before her birth, slow was just about all I could do. And I chose {what I felt at the time was a conscious decision} to stay present with my baby and maintain as much of that slow for her first few weeks. 

But that slow has lasted so much longer. Almost four months in, and I'm just emerging. In slow, I found myself meditating before sleep, waking to practise yoga before the baby fed and reading so so many books. And I found that when rushing presented itself {hello school mornings} I could deal with it much more effortlessly than before. 

I have found myself so full on love, and with so much love to give. And that boundless love has surprised me so much. Not that it wasn't there before, but because it seems here more often, and love is my first response so often right now. And because it's shown me a second time what I know to be true - that when another baby comes into your world, that love we share as a family evolves - expands, increases, heightens, grows stronger with every experience we share. 

Today I picked up Sara Avant Stover's The Way of The Happy Woman, which I find myself doing as the season's change. And I realised that my desire and need these past few months to retreat from the world, nurture my nest, and write just for me were in line with winter's calling. And my readiness to write for here again, to venture our with friends and be outdoors has arrived just as spring emerges. And I'd say it's no coincidence at all.


Have you read The Way of The Happy Woman? And do you find yourself moving with nature's rhythms too? xx

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Ruby // sixteen weeks later

Our darling baby girl arrived in a whirlwind 16 weeks ago now. It felt as though the wait to this point in the pregnancy had been so very long; the last weeks drawn out with a mixture of exhaustion, stress, soreness and anticipation. 

On Ruby's day I spent the morning and then later in the afternoon with a new feeling, a shift within me - a knowing that our time was soon; and as though cradling me in support the universe saw that five friends sent messages of love and support in those 24 hours before labour began. 

The two days prior I spent in quiet anticipation - making time for reading, yoga, meditation; turning away from social media, walking solo and slowly, and finding myself in conversations that spoke of beauty, wonder, divine timing and support. I felt grateful and ridiculously tired. I thanked and praised my body for growing my baby and supporting us both. I slept a lot. 

That night I went to bed before our two girls. My exhaustion had reached a higher level and it felt like I had no choice but to stop, rest and sleep. In bed I placed a hand on my heart and one on my belly and I tried so hard to hold onto the feeling of my baby girl within me and send her my love. I meditated and drifted into sleep. 

A few hours later our journey to each other began. And after just three hours of intense labour she was safe in my arms. I birthed our baby girl surrounded by my husband and four amazing, strong, calm, confident and loving women. I felt supported and loved. For this, and to them, I am forever grateful. 

In those three hours of labour I heard "You've got this!" from four different people - said with confidence in me, my baby and my body. It became my mantra. And it's stayed with me these past four months. It's stirred a quiet confidence within me. A trust I've never felt before. A trust in the part of me that is home: heart & soul.

And so for the past four months I've lived in a little cocoon with our Ruby - doing what needs to be done, and little extra. I've thought about writing sooner, tried twice but then retreated back to the busyness of loving my three babes. It's a beautiful space, right here right now... and I haven't wanted to venture further til now. I didn't give myself this time or space or allow myself to feel this joy in the early days with the other two girls. And I'm oh so grateful I have this time round. Part of me wants to stay here, and another part of me is ready to emerge, calling me to write again. Slowly, slowly.   


~ A big thank you so so much too for the beautiful messages of congratulations, love and support I have received on the arrival of our baby girl when I shared the news on facebook and instagram, So very grateful. Elisa xx