Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Luxury of Child-Free Time and How the Demons will be your Downfall

Finding headspace
I'm sitting in our cabin in a sweet little stream of sunshine as it pours through the French doors, and simply contemplating the absence of busy-ness that has pervaded our lives over the last few weeks. 

It's wonderful of course, and yet somehow disturbing at the same time. Instead of putting my feet up, heaving a great sigh and curling up with a fabulously enthralling book and a big mug of hot chocolate, I feel racked with guilt and twitchy. I should be DOING something. I have several 'To Do' lists around the place, on whiteboards and bits of paper and stored on my computer.... all screaming out to have their surfaces scratched, the process of DOING begun. 

And yet... there's the sunshine, and the peaceful house and the awareness that this window of time is finite and before long, perhaps only ten minutes or so, it will have vanished forever and I will be back on that treadmill (or ferris wheel?) of doing.

So I choose to make a compromise and attend to my more and more neglected blog, and share with you a little of what is going on here right now.

And I feel contemplative, so this feels right, rambling on to you about this stuff!

Amongst other things, I've recently started along my path to yoga teacher training. This in itself has forced me to hesitate a little more each day and reflect upon our choices, our lives and what we fill them with. In the West, yoga is taught very much as an exercise, like running or aerobics. Traditionally, however, it is a much more holistic discipline. In fact, through the ancient yogic texts we find that yoga, and the practice of all the "eight limbs", will lead to true enlightenment and prolonged health, of mind, body and soul. Much like Buddhist thinking, the yogi approach believes that we can never be truly happy, healthy and at peace until we surrender our attachment to external pleasures. That isn't to say we can't enjoy them, but rather our lives should not depend upon them for happiness.

And so it is with the business - the busy-ness - of DOING. We fill our lives with what we feel is important, what we feel we must achieve, complete and keep on top of, when all we want is to be free of them, and to be able to relax and have fun, enjoy life. 

At the moment Father Earthly and I are very much sharing child-care responsibilities so that we can both get enough time to do all the things we need to do. So it is that basically, we are ending up with no real family time together, because there's to much to get DONE. And that sucks!

The wall of busy-ness
And yet, on the days I have the kids, I still feel the guilt creeping up on me. Instead of playing with them and teaching them things about the world and generally enjoying them, those little demons inside are telling me I should be "just trying to get this done"; it'll only take ten minutes and then you won't have to worry about it...

Have you been there? Then you know how it feels, and how it generally goes:
"What's that darling? Hmm? Oh lovely"
"Yes, sweetheart, I'll be with you in just a minute"
"Oh don't do that darling, look - take this over there and play with it"
"Come on, guys, just give me 5 minutes!"
"Oh for F*%$ sake, leave me alone, can't you?!"

Demons, I tell you, in your head. In society. Telling you that your time is paramount and not even your children are worthy of benefiting from it over and above your other responsibilities.

Of course, you need time off. And when the kids are sleeping or they are out at nursery or with a friend or partner, what do you do? Do you clean the house, answer emails, pay bills, all the things you never get the chance to do otherwise? Or do you simply relax - switch off completely and answer the needs of your inner self?

I'll tell you now, those demons are wicked little blighters. Ten to one, if you find time for yourself and feel good about it, someone else will make you feel like shit - for daring to take a tiny window of time to attend to your heart and soul needs. They will make you feel guilty and selfish. Which of course just perpetuates the cycle.

I'd like to step off this ferris wheel once in a while, and jump back on again when I feel the need. On and off, just like that. Hop on, hop off. Sit still for a while and contemplate, and then throw myself back into the fray, hair flying and hanging on tight for dear life.

Wouldn't you like to do the same? Bring back a little balance to your lives. Recognise the need and the possibility - the NECESSITY - to switch off. Completely and utterly. Encourage others to do the same. 

Stop DOING and start BEING.

Go on, I give you permission ;)

This was linked to the Seasonal Celebration Sunday on Natural Mothers Network. Go check it out!

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