Category Archives: Life Issues

The Love Dare

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So, last headspace someone was talking about the ‘Love Dare’; essentially a book containing 40 days worth of ‘dares’. The idea is that, based on Biblical principles, you do one dare a day, ranging from the relatively straightforward ‘do one kind thing for your partner’ to the almost impossible ‘try not to say anything negative all day’.

This book has been a New York Times Bestseller and seems to be making it’s way across the pond. Reviews on Amazon claim that it can be fairly revoluntionary for one’s marriage but then again I don’t always believe everything I read. I am also slightly concerned about a cheesiness factor which so often follows these sorts of things. However I do believe in the principle that loving someone is a decision and often if you start to act in a particular fashion, the feelings will follow.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband deeply, but often the busyness of life, the demands of the children and just getting through the day seem to interfere with the feelings that I think I should be experiencing. All too often I find myself resentful, or viewing our relationship as a ‘contract’ rather than a ‘covenant’ (more on that later) which can be a distinct passion killer.

So often I’m so much more preoccupied on what I am getting from the relationship than what I am giving to it, and him.

Perhaps it’s time for the Love Dare…………….!

So I’m going to start on Feb 14th. An apt day don’t you think. Anyone want to join me? Let’s do it in secret. Share your experiences with me on this site

We can do no better for our children than strengthen our marriages.

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How many New Year’s Resolutions have you broken already?!

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We met this week to talk about all our failed New Years resolutions. Personally I never make resolutions because I can never stick to them, and it seemed that although there were some half-hearted attempts at sticking to some NYRs, the group was more concerned with really trying to prioritise what’s really important in our daily lives.

One of the ladies in the group has recently been on a mindfulness course in Cambridge Uk and shared some really useful bits that she’d learnt from it. On the course they encouraged the participants to meditate for 40 minutes everyday and although this wasn’t always possible it was a useful habit to get into. One of the problems people always have with meditation, is being able to concentrate when uninvited thoughts pop into their brains. The leader of the course suggested imagining a beautiful blue sky, then imagining some little white clouds appearing and pinning unwanted thoughts to the clouds before seeing them being blown away. The idea is that the person meditating acknowledes the thought and it’s importance, but puts it aside so that they can stay focused.

We also watched a Nooma video about silence and how uncomfortable it is. We are constantly surrounded by noise and action, so when we’re confronted with silence we start to feel uneasy and even anxious. With technology being such a huge part of our lives these days, we’re constantly connected, constantly updated, constantly informed and informing. There’s very little room for “headspace”, very little time to be able to think or ruminate as everything needs to be done instantly. We thought about how in the “olden days”, when people had to farm their own land and labour was mostly manual, that people had a natural opportunity to think about things and “hear” from God. Today, there are so many things vying for our attention that we rarely really listen wholeheartedly to anything.

Rachel then showed us a clip from YouTube (to follow!) of someone filling a pot with both small and large stones. If you put the small stones in first then the larger stones can’t fit into the jar, if you put the large stones into the jar first then all the smaller stones will fit around the larger stones. It’s basically making the point that if we think about what our large stones are, I.e. family, friends etc and prioritise those first then everything else can fit around them.

In the group, I mentioned how I write a blog about my experiences as a mum and sometimes get so engrossed in it that I completely ignore my children. “I can’t play with you now, I’m writing about how much fun we’re having!” It’s easy to get distracted and I think it’s the distraction we have to be careful of. We can so easily waste precious time, mucking about with stuff and fluff, when our treasure, our gold is laying abandoned.

So what to do? Again, we thought about mindfulness and being aware of the right now and giving ourselves over to it completely. It may be a tall order in the world we live in today but it is possible. So start pinning your distractions to the clouds and enjoy the beautiful blue sky!

Being Grateful

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Our last meeting was all about gratefulness, what we are grateful for, what we should be grateful for and why we don’t always feel grateful. We watched a YouTube video about a woman who used to take the bus to school with her daughter every day and find it a real chore. One day her daughter looked out of the bus window and exclaimed “Mum, I just saw a dog!” and the woman thought, “this is it, this is her childhood.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jgVKw9rXRg That really struck home with me. All the bike rides and buggy rides to and from school and nursery with the kids are it, their childhood. My daughters love riding on my bike with me, my son loves riding his bike with us, all in all it’s a precious and fun time for them, and by being grateful for that time with them I can appreciate them and how fleeting their childhood will be.

We also read from “The Happiness Preoject”, a site that looks at ways to be positive and find fulfillment in every moment. http://happiness-project.com/ and discussed how sometimes you have to actively treasure the moments you’re having in order to enjoy them. We then heard about a woman who knew she was going to die very shortly, she gave her husband a list of all the things she wanted her sons to know or do. Some things included, never go to bed angry and plant a sunflower seed at least once, we then had to think of what we’d want to pass on to our own children if we knew we were soon going to die. It may sound a bit morbid but it was a really good way of focussing on lessons learnt that have been genuinely important to us.

Later on we watched a clip from Pollyanna talking about the Glad game,. Although a bit cheesy it does actually express a fantastic life ethic of always looking for something to be glad about, even when there seems to be nothing at first. www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bhyKS_SWPM

Often being grateful is a state of mind or a decision. Not always a natural decision, but definitely a healthy one.

 

Mindfulness

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So… are you mindfull, or is your mind full? In our last meeting we discussed mindfulness and what that actually means for us. Mindfulness is really about being present in the present, savouring the now rather than looking forward or backwards. Easier said than done! For example when I read to my daughter at bedtime, I’m usually also thinking about making dinner,  my job or even an altercation with the builder! We’re constantly multi-tasking both physically and mentally, so much so that often nothing gets our full attention or appreciation.

What to do? The first step is to just be aware of how easy it is to be distracted. We miss so many precious moments and happy times by anticipating the future (often future problems…). Treasuring good times is a discipline, something to do consciously at first, and then hopefully habitually.

This is all tied into happiness/joy, if we’re always looking ahead or regurgitating the past then we never have the chance to enjoy our lives and relationships. How can we feel content when straining ahead to the next project or experience?

Action? Concentrate on what you’re doing, commit to the experience and absorb or savour it. Easy!