Expand/Contract – Contract/Expand

Gratitude for what was, instead of resentment about what lies ahead.

Different from how I used to react to the physical crash part of the boom-crash cycle.

Hoping I’ve done enough paring back of our belongings. Enough so that I’ll never have to work so hard again in the future. This time it feels different. I learned a lot. So I’m happy with the situation & optimistic overall.

Good news is as I lie here, my arm aching & heavy from typing on the iPad, eyes watering, bradycardia (the switch has certainly flicked now) I feel peaceful again. No more bear with a sore paw. White knuckling over and done with.

Into the next phase.

 

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* In Māori language, ‘tinana’ = ‘body’

 

 

 

 

Vague sense of preparation

It’s been about 7 weeks now, of physical labour.

Working until I cannot anymore, then resting to the point when I’ve gathered just enough energy to have another whack at the mess.

The mess. I had to sort the garden as well of course (the amount of junk was unbelievable). And hold a garage sale to try clear the bulk of the final stuff, quickly. I went through the last room to declutter in the house (the den) and found there was still so much junk in there despite the pre-Christmas sort out A and I did, that it prompted the garage sale. All the cheap items remaining at the end of the sale were taken straight to the op shop. I’ve also managed to give away (and have people pick up) multiple items that would otherwise have needed to be taken to the transfer station where we’d pay for disposal. Today I still had another 7 rubbish bags to lug by the roadside though.

My body is winding down. My right hip feels like something has torn/wrenched in there and I’ve tweaked my back. There are days when my work is interrupted by stomach problems that are only solved by curling into the foetal position and pretending I’m asleep for a couple of hours (between dashes to the bathroom).

More and more is adding to the pile of symptoms & pain to ignore in order to keep on going with this quest. The weather has turned and it’s cold, damp, thundery, rainy. Winter is imminent.

Why am I still doing this? Why now? Why the rush? All I can say is there is a distinct feeling that I’m preparing for something. What, who knows; I can’t figure it out. But I’m stuck with a constant, compelling sensation willing me onward. “Get this stuff sorted”

Mindfulness practice has fallen to the wayside. Ignoring symptoms and trucking on always leads to a bad attitude from me. I’ve not been treating D and A in accordance with my intention of late. Screwing up over and over. I’m truly trying… but failing. This is my main reason for attempting to s l o w   d o w n. I don’t like the exhausted, snapping version of myself. The family deserve better.

This week I’m working on maintaining the tidiness/cleanliness of the house, finishing up my Māori studies course, and carefully organising what is left inside drawers, cupboards etc after the massive declutter I’ve done. Everything will have a proper, tidy, place. It’s getting there. By previous week’s standards, this one is pretty low key.

I’m reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert at the moment. You know I’m taking it easier now that there’s time to read a book…

It’s delightful so far. An escapist, gently humorous, poetic tale.

I’ve read the scathing reviews that refer heavily to Gilbert’s privilege. Meh. Here in NZ my family would be considered lower middle class. I’m writing this on an iPad 3 with bung audio. The majority of people in the world might consider me wildly (grossly?) privileged, for so many reasons. I am a privileged human being. Chances are anybody writing on the Internet a shirty review of Gilbert’s book based on her income bracket is a little privileged themselves.

In short, I’m enjoying the book. Though wasn’t sure if I would – being one of those who used to seethe about the privilege of rich white people. You know in the book, Gilbert refers to the fact she was suicidal at times prior to her overseas adventure. That’s serious stuff. Curious how we can be blind to the suffering of those we envy.

 

To end, please forgive me if this post doesn’t quite make sense. I’m feeling slightly asleep-with-my-eyes-open.

Best wishes everybody. Hope you all are well and happy Xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling mothered, safely

It’s one thing to parent ourselves when our biological parents were not able to do the job; but it’s different to feel mothered from a force or being outside of us. This can be a tricky scenario to navigate however. In my own experience, any ‘mother substitute’ I’ve known has been just that… a virtual copy of my own mother. Not actually loving; but a controlling and manipulative personality. Since I came to this realisation, I have an aversion to relationship with those who may seek to ‘mother’ me. It’s not healthy for me, and not healthy for the other woman either.

For Mother’s Day I received the ‘Mother Mary Oracle’ by Alana Fairchild – with (deeply gorgeous) artwork by Shiloh Sophia McCloud.

On page 3 of the guidebook, there is a passage:

I have many names and faces.

Beyond those names and faces,

I am your loving mother always.

I come to you in light and darkness, through joy,

and even, my beloved, through loss and tragedy.

I am always your loving mother. I am seeking you.

If you can know this, then great peace and

spiritual power shall be yours

and you will help me bring love to this world. 

Remember me. I am your loving mother always. 

 

Well, if that’s not enough to get an unmothered woman right in the gut…

Yesterday (Mother’s Day) I drew a card from the deck. Funnily enough, it was the one card I pulled out to show A when I first looked through them all. Was immediately attracted to it. Each card has an overview of meaning written in the guidebook, along with an extended description – ending with a recommended visualisation and affirmation.

10. Our Lady of Creative Choice.

Here is a snippet of what I first read about this card:

“Do you know that you are a slave to no thing and to no one? You are a divine being. With the power of creative choice, you can create worlds, my beloved.”

That first sentence really brought me back to earth. Throughout yesterday my mind kept going to my mother, and her potential hurt feelings on the day. I felt guilt. The relationship with her almost cost me my life; I was inches from death on a handful of occasions. Yet the pull toward my mother remains. It was so comforting yesterday to be brought to my senses by these loving words of the oracle. A safe harbour.

 

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Today I drew another card…

30. Our Lady of Growth Assured

“There is a beautiful manifestation, which you have long desired, coming to fruition now.”

The ending affirmation for this card brought tears to my eyes.

 

I look forward to getting to know Mother Mary. After two experiences with this deck, I truly am feeling a connection with divine ‘mother’ energy. Just to have a kind, safe, motherly input… it’s meaningful to me and could prove meaningful to other motherless people. That is why I’ve shared this.

 

Best wishes and love Xx

 

 

Many things

 

Since I’m no longer a person who wears her dressing gown all day, it dawned that I needed a jumper to wear around the house. It was too cold to sit and play my piano, what with the Autumn nip in the air.

After careful deliberation, one jumper seemed to fit my needs (needs mostly relating to sensory preferences) – but it had the word ‘Lovely‘ written across the front.

Hmmm. In the past, I had a bright red tshirt with’Weird’ emblazoned across the chest in Coca-Cola script. People looked at me like I was that way, too, whilst wearing it out. (Fair enough)

But… ‘Lovely’? That’s a lot to live up to, isn’t it. Even just around the house.

D encouraged me to get the thing. I went ahead and did it. You know, there was a jumper-esque item available to me until recently… a very oversized blue polar fleece zip-up; one of my mother’s hand-me-downs. It used to swallow me up; make me cosily invisible. I got rid of it last week.

So, here I am in a jumper with ‘Lovely’ stitched into it. Lately I’ve been thinking about  this Saint/Demon dichotomy that seems to be prevalent in much of the abuse survivor community. Heck – virtually any advocacy community for that matter. I’m not comfortable with it any more. It’s too simplistic for me, this game of goodies & baddies. Us and them. Comforting, in a way… but also somehow bordering on self hatred.

After all, each of us knows we’re no saint. And if not that – what’s left?

 

Life isn’t a chequerboard. We’ve been missing the gradients.

 

I’ll wear my jumper with pride. It’s no false advert; Lovely is one of the many, many things I can be.

I wrote that last bit with a sly smile.

Xx

 

 

 

Throw-It-Out Thursday

Today is Thursday here in New Zealand, which makes it Throw-It-Out Thursday in decluttering land.

Kathy Roberts (The Tidy Tutor) introduces people to this idea over on YouTube. You can visit Kathy’s page here:

Kathy Roberts, The Tidy Tutor – YouTube

Kathy runs an online Tidy Tutor University. I’m certain the course would be fantastic, though I cannot justify the financial outlay right now. Her free book and YouTube vids are great though – very encouraging and supportive in teaching the basics. I’m very grateful to Kathy for making this information available to people worldwide.

Back to Throw-It-Out Thursday. By ‘throwing out’, that really just means getting stuff out of the house. Not necessarily to be sent to landfill. Now that I’ve done the main purge on the house we’re mostly left with items to take to the op shop, and I’m sure there’s a bit of paper recycling left in the den to tackle one day soon.

Today I decided to work on something easy – after finding a place for everything I was aware we had many duplicates of office supply items in our home. The items were in two drawers in the house, so I got my trusty washing basket and went around filling it up with the target items:

 

With everything collected, I sorted like with like on the table (note, the empty table – how long it has been!):

 

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That’s a lot of stuff. I’ve allowed 3 pairs of scissors to remain in areas where it is useful to have them to hand, as well. So the scissors in the pic are not all we have. How did we accumulate all these items? No idea. The decluttering process (and finding everything a place) was what alerted me to this issue.

After testing items and choosing my favorites, I was left with the following:

 

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The items on the left are to stay in our home – for now. I may very well cull them again in future. The pile on the right is to be taken to the op shop this Saturday; Saturday drop-offs will be regular for some time to come I’d say. It’s important to move unwanted/unnecessary items out of the home quickly – lest they become reintegrated into the ‘stuff’ ecosystem, leaving the home cluttered. I’ll bag the items and put them in the ‘op shop’ pile, ready for Saturday.

Oh – the pocket knives are waiting for D to return home so he can decide which one he wants to keep. Neither have sentimental value for him and they were in fact only uncovered during the big declutter, so I don’t foresee any issue there. Phew. I will say that D and A have really gotten into the swing of things and are truly engaged in the decluttering process themselves. I think they saw a difference in the home and noticed how the changes positively impact our ease of being; and so decluttering is appealing to them both now. D and A are also keeping up with doing all the dishes every evening after dinner. I’m one thankful and pleased woman!

 

I know all this is ‘little stuff’. But tackling a whole bunch of little things is improving my life in ways that aren’t so little. This decluttering & organisation process is part of my self-parenting, or growing-myself-up endeavour (ongoing). Kathy Roberts also teaches about showering, grooming, and dressing properly first thing in the morning. I’ve done this all week and feel more self respect as a result – self respect I didn’t even know was missing. Today I slept for about 5 hours in the middle of the day due to physical exhaustion, but I’m hoping my body will gain stamina over time. And to be honest, I choose ‘coma-sleep’ in the middle of the day but waking up clean & tidy (and able to do some more work in the home) over blobbing out in bed all day in a social media haze. So I’m choosing not to be afraid of the exhaustion – and I’ll keep sleeping when my body needs sleep.

We’ll see how it goes. Over time striking a balance should become easier because the hardest work will be over – I’ll reach the maintenance phase. Hoping to be in that beautiful place by Winter’s end.

 

Best wishes all

Xx

Update – A & I went around the house for 10 minutes and here are the spoils to be taken to the op shop this Saturday:

 

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Let me know if you try your own version of Throw-It-Out Thursday! In future there will be a blog post with links to decluttering themed YouTube videos. Xx