Now is all there is

Hello.  Today you can just see the top of my head over the waves. Recently I edited a newsletter for parents on Mindfulness and Wellbeing. We wanted to explore how parents in the maelstrom (or sea, to keep to the blog’s theme) of raising children could possibly find the space in time or within themselves to re-energise and take stock of their circumstances. As a writer (I was going to say would-be writer, but here I am)  and mother of four young children, aged between 8 and 18 months I want to share with you whether or not it is possible to get your ‘Head above Water’ and find that moment of what Buddist’s call concentrated awareness, the now that has depth,  slows time and gives it greater quality.

My baby gives his absolute attention to the texture of a pebbledash wall. I feed off his fascination. As a writer I need to pay attention, to notice. As a full time mother I am prey to the constant demands of requests and chores, the hands on care of small bodies and the fuelling of expansive minds.  I cannot find a quiet place in my head or imagination. Friends in the parent support group (Cuidiu) in the early days of total immersion caring for a newborn alongside their other young children have experienced it as a kind of drowning.

Today all four children were at home on their school holidays. Two had very bad colds, the four year old in particular was constantly in crises and tears from sheer exhaustion. The two older boys were in a hyperactive frenzy usually directed towards each other.  While I checked my email this morning I distracted the baby with my paper clip container, while writing this tonight I have been treated to the sound of my eight year old whistling and have answered several calls for assistance. Is there still an identifiable train to my thoughts? You decide.

There are many reasons these days why people’s head are ‘wrecked’. It’s the fashion to be on the go, to be getting somewhere. To squeeze the last out of the analogy, sometimes we are wasting our energy swimming against the tide. (Groan, okay, I’ll be more inventive next time). In this blog I’ll be looking at how we can get our heads above water and maybe even spend sometime sunning ourselves on a some well-placed rock in a more gently flowing river.  And then I might even talk about writing as well.

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6 comments

  1. Hi lovely

    I love the way you write – regardless of whether you are able to follow a train of thought or not!

    I am sure your blog will be a great hit and hopefully you will get hours of enjoyment from it.

    Last week I was off work and needed desperately to get some study done – only 5 weeks to my exams – which I am determined to pass first time. Anyway, the first day of the holidays it was bucketing down and I was getting increasingly frustrated with constant requests for the girls for my attention. This frustration grew and grew. But do you know what, I made the conscious decision to abandon the study (many late nights ensued). Once this decision was made – to be in the now – life became much calmer and fun.

    I don’t think we spend enough time ‘in now’ as our children do.

    Yesterday when I was driving Ellen to her Dance, Singing and Drama camp, I asked her how she was feeling – nervous/excited. She said – I’m feeling mostly happy – a little bit excited and a little bit nervous – all at the same time. Wow how articulate my little girl is and what a wonderful feeling to have.

    Talk soon

    Love
    Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle, Its great to hear from you and your account of your experiences was wonderful to read. I look forward to hearing more and good luck with your exams too!

  2. Hi Alison
    Delighted to be able to read you still…although I see you so little . I always loved your ‘ramblings’ (meant in the nicest possible way!). I loved your poem in the last national newsletter, will miss your newsletters greatly. I will therefore be reading your blog with pleasure, although I may not often write as I tend to be much more an on looker than a participant on these sites.
    hope to see you soon, gardening at Gays perhaps
    Fiona x

    1. Hi Fiona,

      Ramblings is indeed the right word! I’ll be thrilled if you come back to read anytime. I seem to be stuck on a particular theme right now but its sure to evolve. I’ve plenty ideas anyway!

  3. Hi Alison,

    Best of luck with your blog. I look forward to reading it. I love your way with words, they are so poetic! I started a blog but can never think of anything to write 🙂

    Emer

    1. Thanks so much Emer. I’m enjoying it which is the main thing and still have a few more posts up my sleeve so hopefully it will continue and develop.

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