Monthly Archives: February 2012

Reaping What You Sow. Eventually.

Sunday morning, 7am:

Scene 1: At the breakfast table.

Brooke is eating a cheese and tomato omelette. She is enjoying every delicious morsel. She interrupts her breakfast to change a nappy, break up an argument and pour the coffee. She returns to her breakfast and finishes her omelette.

You may imagine this (boring, suburban) scene is not extraordinary in any way. But, I’m here to tell you that it is extraordinary, in two ways:

  1. I have sworn, for years, that I hate omelettes. It makes me feel sick in the stomach to even think about eating them.
  2. The eggs and tomatoes in said omelette have been produced/grown in our own backyard.

Can you see how exciting that is? (Especially #2. Obviously. Because who else cares about #1?)

If it wasn’t for us feeding and caring for our chooks, the eggs wouldn’t exist. If it wasn’t for the time we put into watering and fertilising our tomato plants, that delicious, red deliciousness wouldn’t exist. At all.

Point being, it took months for our chickens to start laying. And months for our seedlings to grow, flower, set fruit and ripen. Those months saw us putting in lots of effort for seemingly no reward.

Except – and here’s the funny thing – I feel like I benefited a lot before we saw a single egg or even one red tomato. The work that goes in – the everyday, easy to forget, doesn’t feel significant work is where the joy is. The payoff is wonderful, of course, but finding the joy in the work is exhilarating.

I’m coming to discover that life’s a lot like that.

If we can find the joy in the work, the everyday, the seemingly mundane, then the journey is actually as good as the destination.

Cliched, yes. But true? Also yes.

This passage appeared in the most recent post from Courtney Carver, and it didn’t just resonate. It rang the bell next to my head.

One of my favorite yoga teachers told me it took him years of yoga practice to touch his toes and when he finally did, his life wasn’t any better or worse than it was before. The joy isn’t always at the finish line. Beauty is not always found in completion.

Sure, the omelette was delicious (and I now have a standing order every Sunday morning from Sparky’s Kitchen) but the real joy came in the work beforehand.

Tell me, what work do you find the joy in? Do you think you can enjoy the journey as much as the destination?

Happy-Making: Do Something Real

{via Pinterest}

It’s so easy to get caught up in the virtual, the day-to-day, the to-do lists and the should-do lists.

I do it all the time. One minute I’m waking up, making the bed, having a stretch. The next I’m doing the lunch routine and wondering where the morning went. Suddenly it’s six at night, the kids are exhausted and mama wants bedtime to hurry up so she can go for a run. Or drink a glass of wine. (Depending on the day).

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits once wrote:

How can you bring calm and peace to the middle of a stress-ful, chaotic day?

The answer is simple, though not always so easy to put into practice: learn to be present.

He goes on to talk about finding contentment in whatever it is that you are doing – right this very second. Regardless of whether that is ironing, playing in the sandpit with your kids, working on a paper, gardening or paying bills. Just be totally present and soak up that single act. Then move on to the next thing.

To me, it sounds great, and I can appreciate that it does help promote happiness and contentment. But sometimes, to be perfectly honest with you… it’s just not going to happen.

There are interrupting phonecalls, there are sick kids, there are appointments that run late, there are neighbours who pop over at inopportune times.

So I suggest this:

Once a day, or more if you can, do something real.

  • Go for a run in the rain
  • Head outside and dig in the dirt, breathing in that incredible scent
  • Water the garden
  • Yoga on the balcony or lawn
  • Draw a picture
  • Do cartwheels

I’m an introvert, so my real things are often alone things, or quiet, contemplative things.

Whatever your real thing is, make sure it speaks to you. You’ll know it when you feel it. It feels restorative. You get a buzz and feel refueled. You feel proud and strong.

Two or three minutes is all you need. But the benefit will last for hours, maybe longer. Days even.

So this weekend’s happy-making mission is:

Do Something Real.

Then come back and tell us about it.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

{PS. For anyone wondering: the decision has been made. Exciting times ahead, and we don’t look back.}

 

K.I.S.S: Big Decisions

Ever been smacked straight in the face by life? (In a good way. If such a thing exists…)

Ever needed to make a big (BIG) decision in a short period of time?

Sparky and I face this right now. And it’s good. Great even. But terrifying.

And that fear reminds me of two things:

This fabulous Seth Godin quote

that I gleaned from Nicole’s amazing and wonderful blog, Planning With Kids:

Real change is uncomfortable. If it’s not feeling that way, you’ve probably just adopted new words.

And this post from my previous blog, The Lavender Experiment:

One of my dearest friends is moving to London today, indefinitely. We had dinner last week (such a pleasure, let me tell you! Great company, amazing Italian food, delicious wine…) and I was struck by how calm and committed to the move she was – no nerves or cold feet or second guesses. Not that it would be warranted mind you, I think this is going to be amazing for her, but you could be forgiven for feeling a little jittery about such a massive shift.

It got me thinking though about keeping decisions simple and owning your choices. Sparky and I have made a lot of big decisions in a seemingly short amount of time – the decision to sell our house in the city and move to the mountains was made early one morning and we were looking for property the same day. We also decided very quickly to close down Trove, just as it was becoming very successful. Both of these decisions have been life-changers and choices we’ve never once regretted. We made the best decision for ourselves and committed to it. There’s no benefit in second guessing after the fact because the alternatives were never an option.

It’s such a welcome relief when you commit to a decision and then simply move forward.

I once read an article on happiness, and one of the suggestions to creating more happiness was to simplify our decision-making process. If you need new shoes you should visit just two shoe stores and make your choice. More options doesn’t mean you’re going to feel more satisfied once your decision is made, it just means that making that decision will take longer and likely be more stressful.

These two things will spend the next 24 hours marinating in my brain, and we will hopefully definitely come to a decision shortly.

2012 in 2012 Update: January

 

Mission: Declutter is still underway.

Mission: Keep Myself Accountable is resuming.

January was a big month for clearing, cleaning and culling. Certainly that has something to do with starting afresh? Clean slate and all that?

Sparky and I spent a few hours decluttering our wardrobes, and I took an hour to clean out the bathroom cabinet completely. (Rock’n’roll. That’s us.)

Here is what we’ve said goodbye to since our previous update:

Items Donated or Given Away:

  • kids clothes x 31
  • my clothes x 38
  • Sparky’s clothes x 11
  • accessories x 8
  • home decor x 5
  • shoes x 2
  • electrical items x 2

Items Thrown Away (Beyond Repair or Use):

  • my clothes x 32
  • perfumes x 2
  • shoes x 3
  • Sparky’s clothes x 11
  • misc. toiletries x 23
  • make-up samples x 7
  • enormous bag of coat hangers

Total = 176

Add that to the 231 items from the previous update and I’ve decluttered our home of 407 items in January. That’s just under 20%! Things are getting serious…

Some Universal Truths

{via Pinterest}

You are not alone.

You are the only person living your life, that is true, but you are not alone in your worries and struggles.

I often need to remind myself, when I feel like I’m surrounded with people who’ve got their shit together, of these universal truths:

  • Everyone struggles at times
  • Everyone worries about their kids/their partner/money/their health some times
  • Everyone has bad days
  • Everyone has good days
  • Everyone hopes they’re doing a good job

 

Please, do yourself a kindness and remember these universal truths when it feels too hard.

xxx