Squiggly lines, life skills and a question with a warning.

Inspired by the theme of Mother’s day there is a question I would like to pose. Whether you are close to your mum or not, whether you see her all the time or hardly ever, whether you have lost her – even at a young age – or she is still present in your life, whether you love and admire her dearly or not quite so much – irrespective of all of that, what three positive traits, skills, beliefs or values have you formed as a result of having your mum – as your mum.

People we come into contact with throughout our lives leave marks. Sometimes sadly as scars, but most certainly also in the most positive of ways. Ways that serve us well. Try this. Think of a specific quality of yours that you are proud of – a life skill you developed as a result of being in touch with a certain person at some point in your life. Just imagine it as a kids trail game –  follow the squiggly line to connect the skill and the person who inspired or inscribed it in you.mothers day

Even people who leave scars, can in a roundabout way, help us develop very useful qualities like for example determination, compassion, sincerity, courage or self-reliance. If our perception of the relationship is predominately negative, we don’t usually credit  the person in question, but it could be really useful to take a step back, and look only on what you took away from that particular relationship that has served you well at other times in your life.

So back to the question: what 3 positive life skills, beliefs or values have you developed as a result of your mum, being your mum? And while we are at it, we might as well throw in a bonus question. One that makes my own heart go mushy and my breath caught in my chest, so be warned. Here we go: If you had a choice what 3 life skills, beliefs or values would you love, love, love to engrave in the lives of your own children?

Wishing you all a happy day with lots of musing.

Weakness flipped

Today I felt really inspired reading the following:

“Our weaknesses are our best teachers, pointing us to the most productive ways to learn and change. We can use them to tune the orchestra and refresh the palette, creating richer, fuller symphonies and pictures.”

Source: Way of NLP by Joseph O’Connor & Ian McDermott

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I think a lot of us consider our weaknesses as belonging to our “darker side” and the word itself make us curl our shoulders and bend our heads like bashful puppies while we squirm a little in our seat if we happen to stumble on one or get asked to define what ours are.

I like how the above paragraph flips it all on its head. Turns our perceived weakness into a great big learning opportunity. Perhaps try it out for yourself. Consider something you perceive to be a weakness of yours. What changes for you when you define that weakness instead as a teacher, pointing you to a productive way to learn and change? To tune the orchestra.

…and by the way. Have you noticed? Spring is in the air.

In her sleep she reaches for my hand

A few days ago at the hour just after midnight, my blue eyed eight year old girl is sleeping next to me as daddy is out of town. She looks so small, yet so big, bundled up among crinkled sheets, the extra duvets and oversize pillows.doggy

Switching off the light to go to sleep myself, I turn to her and, with the help of the moon, can just make out the shape of her head where it meets the pillow and the tiniest of movements in her chest as she breathes little breaths of warm air, a teddy held tightly in the crook of her arm. It is March moonlight magic. And as if that kind of magic isn’t enough, in her sleep, my blue eyed eight year old girl reaches out her hands, finds mine and with a little squeeze tucks it between both of hers. My blue eyed sleeping girl. And the tiny movement that means the world.

So just in case it has not been said enough, I just would like to remind us all…… It is truly the small things that make life big.

A soft place to land

They must have been fluttering in the air and somehow ended up netted in my mind, because, one morning, when I woke up the words were just there, repeating themselves, demanding attention in a gentle sort of way. “A soft place to land”, the words said and I have been pondering what that means. The sentence has such a nice ring to it, stemming from the warm, hazy and muted images the words evoke in my mind. Of a place where you know in your core, that you can be yourself with all your flaws, imperfections and perceived weaknesses and still find calmness, support, peace, love and understanding, no matter what. february morning sun

We all need at least one such “place”, don’t we? Perhaps that place is found in our childhood friend, our family, a parent, our home, or in mountains, the sea, the woods, a pet, a coach or therapist or a unique mix of them all. It seems to me it is good to know what that place is, so that we can quickly takes ourselves there when needed.

A soft place to land. 5 words fluttering your way on a stunning Monday morning. Catch them if you like.

Being housebound – a small blessing in disguise

In the last few weeks I have spent an unusual amount of time at home as a small health issue has prevented me from moving about much. Stillness not being one of my strengths, it was very frustrating at first, leaving me fairly restless and impatient and mostly thinking what a waste of time. As the days have gone by and having settled into a different and slower pace, a few surprises have “surprisingly” revealed themselves.

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Did you know for example that if you are housebound and there is absolutely no agenda for the day, it can simply go into a kind of flow mode where thoughts can just come and go, kids can curl up on your lap for random chats and pancake dinner feels one hundred percent appropriate? Or did you know for example that suddenly you are presented with that very rare opportunity of discovering new things to do with your hands and attend to some of those projects you have said you will do some day, when you have got spare time. Like 10 years’ worth of photo albums, making pompom garlands, researching new recipes and summer holiday destinations and the perfect colour for the poor hallway wall that has been left unpainted for an unmentionable number of years?

Stillness, after all, is not so bad seen in this light. In fact, I think I may just go ahead and plan some more agenda free, housebound days for us all. Making sure first, of course, that the cupboards are well stocked with ingredients for pancakes!

About simple decisions and head space

To have pancakes or rice and beans with scrambled egg for breakfast. To swim or not to swim. To wear your raincoat or not. That approximately sums up the number and complexity of the decisions we had to make on an average day while on holiday. That, I promise you, leaves a whole lot of head space free to do other things with. Like pay attention to the people around you and the nuances of your surroundings. Or to deal with the overload of amazing sensations that naturally follows being in a place so very different from your own.butterflies

It also provides you with an opportunity to reflect more. On how you live day by day, the values that drive your choices and actions, the way you choose to bring up your children. And many other BIG topics that seldom get the chance to surface properly in the flurry of daily life. I treasured that time for reflection and love how a lot of pondering is now on-going. Quietly. In the back of my mind. With whatever head space not otherwise occupied by to-do lists and decision making.butterfly

“To wear a raincoat or not” is straightforward on a day like today. I guess that in itself, really, is to be valued. Simple decisions means more head space on a wet Tuesday afternoon. The question we should perhaps ask ourselves therefore is if we can do something to simplify our daily decisions – make them more straightforward. What do you think? How could you make your decision making simpler? And how much head space would you then have available for reflection? Or a book. Or a conversation. Or nuances. Or perhaps even butterfly studying….?

Still pinching myself

The Christmas holiday that came to an end just a few days ago was unlike any previous. We packed bags and travelled a good 24 hours to beautiful and exotic Costa Rica, the greenest place I have ever seen. Rainforest green, cloud forest green, mountain green, pineapple, mango, banana, coffee, sugar cane and rice plantation green.

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We spent just short of three weeks exploring a world so, so different to our own. We toured the country moving from low lands to high lands, from volcano to beach, jungle to city, sea to river and sea again. Swam in rough and salty surfing waves and quiet, clear bays, pools heated by hot springs, pools shaped like turtles and in lakes and rivers with goose bump creating waterfalls with milky white spray. We went to the most stunning beach where thousands upon thousands of turtles come to lay their eggs each year. We did not swim in its shark infested, rip tide pulling Atlantic water. Others did!

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Ants and centipedes spotted along the way were studied in depth as were other creatures no matter how big or small. They were all pretty amazing. Slow moving sloths, ugly crocs, fluffy opossums and coatis, cross looking (but surprisingly) vegetarian iguanas, bright green frogs, scarlet macaws, tiny hummingbirds, beautiful toucans and butterflies, tree climbing porcupines, sleepy bats and noisy monkeys. Loads of monkeys. And the list just goes on and on. We count ourselves very fortunate to have had the most amazing and passionate guide with funny stories to tell and knowledge that exceeded our wildest imagination. Leo, is his name and I think I will tell you more about him another day. Passionate people, you know. Always inspiring. Always worth sharing.

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Then there was the food of course. It was so good. Often quite simple, which I prefer, rich in flavour, healthy and made with abundant sun ripened, freshly picked or just caught, local ingredients. We picked coffee, ground cocoa beans, pressed and sucked sugar cane and baked tortillas on a wood burning stove following sweet Mama Rosa’s gestures and skilful movements. How spoilt we were and how I will miss is all.

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The greenest country I have ever seen, the food, the wildlife, the adventures, the exploring, the people, Leo. How grateful I am for this Christmas holiday. It will no doubt last a lifetime.