Monday, 8 November 2010
Join me as I explore the gaps in our lives – between how it is and how we want it to be; between who we are and who we’d like to be; and many other areas… I’m a single mother of a nearly three year old, writer, yoga teacher, and I’m curious about creating balance in my life and meeting both my needs and those of my son.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Monday, 7 December 2009
I've spent this evening singing Christmas carols for charity with the Roundhill Choir, the neighbourhood of a friend I'm staying with. It's another example of the way I've changed since becoming a mother.
Monday, 23 November 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
This poem emerged out of a homework exercise for my mothers' writing group, which was to write from all five senses about a scene or place you haven't been to before. I cheated a little, because I wrote about a festival I attended last year too, and about fire dancing, which I've often seen - but I certainly got in contact with my senses in a way I hadn't before. Here it is:
The Fire Dancers
Their ropey muscles entwine with man’s oldest force of nature:
Dancing their fear out
Under the empty smell of stars
We, watching, taste the burning oil on the air,
Hear the crack and whir as chains spin,
Their hard metal a safe distance from my
Boy’s soft yielding skin.
The wine fills my pores as my eyes trace the
Fire dancers’ fluid motions,
Hear the swell and hush of voices
And the expectant
Punctuated by a baby’s cry.
Feedback welcome! And now for a little update. J is doing well in nursery so far - his settling in sessions and the first two proper sessions have been absolutely fine, with no tears at all. And apparently he didn't even ask for me until the end of the session at the last one! I'm still looking for another job, and went for an interview on Thursday that seemed to go well, for a company whose ethos I really resonate with...so fingers crossed...I should hear soon. I'm also waiting to hear if I've got an interview for two other jobs, and I'm able to do some work-from-home freelancing for the company I currently work for, to tide me over. So I have hope that things will work out.
My living arrangement plans have changed a few times since I last wrote. The community plan didn't come through for various reasons, but mainly because I decided I didn't want to be the only person with a small child in a house full of childless people. Much as they might love children, everyone wants a little peace at the end of the day (or in the middle of the night, or on a Saturday morning) and I would feel too self-conscious and apologetic if my son was the only cause of disturbance.
I then decided to look for a place on my own, but looking at studio's, more in my budget, was rather disturbing, and one-bedroom flats far too expensive when you factor in agency fees and deposits. So...now I will be staying at friends' houses for two weeks until I move in somewhere in the middle of October. This might be a houseshare with a single father, an acquaintance I've known since I moved to Brighton who is also into yoga and meditation; his daughter, and two others, which feels like something that could work. Plus the house has a garden, always a bonus!But my final decision will wait until I see the house - it's about to be painted and have some repair jobs done on it first.
I was astonished to see that I now have 108 complete typed pages of my novel, when I was splicing bits together last night! Somehow I hadn't realised it was that much. I'm going to get my good friend and fellow writer Lou-Ice to have a look at some of it soon (no, I won't lumber her with the whole thing!) and tell me what she thinks. I finally feel ready to let my 'baby' see the light of day.
I've been reading two fantastic books, 'Broken Open' by Elizabeth Lesser, co-creator of the famous Omega Institute, and 'The Value in the Valley' by Iyanla Vanzant. Both are 'strong women' books about how to tough out difficult times in your life and find the lessons therein. They are powering me up as I continue to face uncertainty and challenges with a steadfastness and patience that I never knew I had. Either motherhood has increased my stamina or my long-term practice of yoga and meditation is bearing fruit in a faith that I actually feel grateful to be able to manifest; grateful for this opportunity of broken dreams and new beginnings to access my warrior heart. Bring it on!
Monday, 31 August 2009
It seems that uncertainty is to be my friend for a little longer. At this point I don't know where I will be working or living in a month's time. Something that probably wouldn't have unduly disturbed me in my pre-motherhood life, but is now requiring a lot of concentration on 'letting go and letting God'.
The company where I started a job just over a week ago, can only offer me a month's contract due to needing someone to work full-time. 'Discrimination', says a little voice in my head - after all, I'm a mother of a pre-schooler, I'm not on an even playing field here - but I'm trying to see it more as a sign that there's somewhere else more suited to me.
So...my search begins again. Exciting things are happening on the living situation front, though: together with a friend, I am looking at creating a 'conscious community' of like-minded people to live together in Brighton or Hove, from October. At the moment fliers are circulating on the web, and soon to be distributed in real life too. I feel positive about finally creating a living environment that reflects my values, and sharing it with people who feel the same about the planet and about spirituality.
A big 'letting go' is coming in the area of childcare arrangements....as with so much about parenting, I've discovered once again the truth of 'never say never'. Never say you won't do something, because you probably will, whether it's shout at your child, give them sweets or...put them in nursery.
After reading Oliver James' Affluenza and Steve Biddulph's Raising Babies: Why Your Love is Best - Should Under 3's Go to Nursery, I was dead set against the idea of J ever going to a group care situation before the age of three. There are lots of reasons which I won't go into here (I've probably discussed it on another post anyway), but basically I'm now finding that a nursery for 4 hours a week is the best way to meet my childcare need. A good friend whose little boy went to nursery at 10 months and has thrived, (to the point where he doesn't want to come home sometimes!), has reassured me a lot, but even so, I feel sad about letting go of one of my 'big ideals' in parenting. J starts his first 'settling in' sessions at a small private nursery next week.
The funny thing is, everything seems to be coming together at the right time. Even two months ago I would never have imagined J being ready for this amount of separation from me, and not being left with people he knew well. He has always been incredibly 'attached'. But just recently, he's taken great strides forward in his 'independence' (I hate using that word in relation to such dependent beings as babies and toddlers, but you know what I mean) and ability to withstand separation. He is genuinely enjoying the company of other children and seeking them out. Just a few days ago I watched him run around the park, with complete confidence, initiating games with children older than him and not looking back to me once. I felt proud - and, yes, a little sad. But more relieved than anything else.
After investigating child-minding options and finding that they're basically the same as a nursery but with less staff, I decided a nursery would provide more safety and peace of mind for me - and having seen the staff from this nursery out and about with children several times, and being impressed with their warm, natural and 'non-hovering' interactions, I decided to try this particular one. My other childcare hours will be taken up by a very kind friend who's doing a 'swop' with me, and by J's dad who has a day off. So...it's not that bad really.
J has, so far, adapted remarkably well to all the changes, but at the moment he has a cold and his need for 'mummy' has come out a bit more. I'm finding an unexpected side-effect of working part-time is that I appreciate my time with him more, and am more able to focus on him when necessary (except when I'm stressed!) We spent a week at a friend' s house and he loved playing with her children, barely noticing that we were outside of our usual environment.
What's been getting me through all of the uncertainty and change is a very simple, yet amazingly effective breathing exercise from Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, which I got from his book 'Be Free Where You Are'. Doing it twice a day, and whenever I feel tense or need a 'pick-me-up', is helping me to stay calm and be in the present moment. I highly recommend it! Prior to that, I was doing a Kundalini Yoga meditation called 'Creating Self Love' daily for a couple of weeks, and I'm now also doing the Buddhist metta bhavana (loving-kindness) meditation - on myself. As a mother, continually giving, I'm finding I need to give some of this energy to myself.
And it's coming out in unexpected ways, with more energy and inspiration for my creativity. My novel has sprung back into my consciousness again this past week, and I've been scribbling away, really enjoying the characters and feeling them come alive. Who knows when I'll ever finish it, but for now it's great to be inspired to write.
Well, I think that's enough from me for now! Next time I hope to update you on the developments with the budding 'conscious community', and on how J does with nursery.
Sunday, 16 August 2009
Has it really been two weeks since I last posted? I've been running around like a whirling dervish, applying for jobs and going for interviews. It's been both nerve-wracking and exhilirating. I'm sad at having to let go of my Stay at Home mom role, but necessity calls now that I am officially a single mom. Big transitions all round. I'm doing a trial first day at a new part-time job next week - nothing creative or particularly inspiring, alas, but in a way I like to save my creative energies for my writing and parenting. The main considerations right now are, of course, money, and using as little childcare as possible - so, this audio transcription job having flexible hours appealed to me.
This is a really mind-blowing book - beware! It is all about letting go of control, in favour of authenticity. I think if everyone parented this way, we'd have a hell of a lot less neuroticism and fascism in the world. It's all about treating your child with the same respect you would any adult. Letting go of the notion that you can control any other human being. All you can do is gently guide and show them through your own behaviour, how to treat other people, and help them to deal with their emotions lovingly.
The SALVE formula involves first of all, separating yourself from your child's behaviour and emotions with a silent self-talk. When our child does something, an automatic tape starts to play in our head: for example 'He is naughty. He shouldn't do that. If I don't stop it, he'll be an out of control brat' - sound familiar? When you can work through that in your own head, realise that it is only old beliefs and not 'the truth' in this moment, you are able to resist reacting automatically, and give yourself space to respond authentically and lovingly. You are then able to apply the 'A' of the formula: 'Attention on your child'.