27 February 2014

17 : Thich Nhat Hanh - Something Borrowed

The Reward of a Smile...

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy...
Thich Nhat Hanh

The Vietnamese Zen Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, embodies the practice of mindfulness; learning to live happily in the present moment rather than being lost in the past or worrying about the future.  He teaches that the only way to develop true peace in oneself and the world is to dwell only in the present moment.

If children can do this so can we ...

21 February 2014

17 : The Path Less Traveled - Something New ...

Today Is The Most Amazing Day!

I'm not sure if it's because I'm sleep deprived, post a 14 hour night shift, or if life is finally beginning to make sense!  All I know is that today is the most amazing day, because today is here and now!  Despite the fact that every muscle and even many of my bones ache every step I take, I feel more alive now than ever before!  

That Zen proverb tattooed on my arm has become a reality; 'The obstacle is the path' .  Face life's obstacles head on and you are rewarded with an amazing new appreciation of life's many gifts.  I'm trying to live for the moment and be in the present as much as I can.  I am beginning to gain a new appreciation of every day life and, along with that, I am shedding much of the stress that has plagued me for many years.  It is as simple as that!

It may very well be delusional or something quite magical, but whatever it is I want more.  During my morning walk today the colours of nature surrounding me became incredibly luminous.  The trees appeared to take on a life of their own and dance purposefully in the breeze, propelling me forward effortlessly.  The musical warbles of mysterious new colourful parrots followed me along the length of my walk, adding to the magical experience.

I'm still learning, slowly but surely, to enjoy the freedom from mundane stresses and savour the pure joy of living in the moment.  My body seriously needs to catch up and get used to the fact that yes it will be walking much more regularly and, despite the aches and pains and self sabotage attempts, it will just have to get used to it.  That's right 42 year old body, you're coming with me wherever I go no matter how much you protest.  I've hit the ground running and I have never felt so light and free.

14 February 2014

17 : Time For ME : Something Old!

Free TIME!

It's something old because it was something I used to have : time!  Now, I finally have it back, very limited but it IS back.  The last time I can really remember having true time to myself, that didn't include after all the kids were in bed, was when my fourth child went to kindy.  Although it was about that same time I also decided I would attend university full time, so that was the end of that! 

Here I am, 13 years and 2 more children later, back with free time!  The only other time in my life I had true free time was when I was a child myself. It's hard to really know exactly what to do in those precious hours; with so many choices I really have to pace myself.  The alleged 3 hours of kindy quickly turns into barely 2 hours, once you count dropping off and picking up and staying until he is comfortable.  Still, two whole hours ALL to myself up to 5 days a week is a real treat - not counting work days!  After three weeks of this new luxury I have pretty well got it sorted and am beginning to follow a bit of a pattern.  I do have to get over the fact that I am generally pretty tired after having to get up much earlier than my body would like and take the children to school in order to gain my free time! It's even tougher when work gets in the way and I struggle to stay awake and remain motivated following a 14 hour long night shift.

However, I am really enjoying the time to go for long walks by myself, when it's not flooding or 46 degrees that is! I even got a new app on my iPhone which records my walk, turns out it is 4.7 km long. I enjoy walking up and down all the steep hills where I live and over all of the different surfaces, road and reserve.  If I feel particularly good I spend a portion of it breaking into a run.  After feeding fish and getting myself a coffee and some breakfast it leaves me with approximately one more hour all to myself.  Lately I have had to battle between spending it reading or writing.  Reading tends to win as one hour isn't quite enough for me to get into writing mode. 

I save the household chores and fish upkeep to the afternoon, once Master Four is back and the world is a little more normal.  Turns out that my long break between university courses is over, I have decided to do some more external study.  This time doing something I am interested in other than Paramedic studies, no pressure, just to see how it goes.  I have enrolled in a couple of University Psychology subjects via distance education, this should lead me toward completing a Graduate Diploma in Psychology.  Very exciting...

11 February 2014

16 : Blue Eyes - Something Blue

I wonder what goes on behind those 4 Year old blue eyes...
As Master Four enters his third week at Kindy, things are settling down in his little world.  A lot of the other children that had been screaming and crying when their parent left are starting to settle, although not all are prepared to give up their attachment quite so easily.  Our little fella has been cautious but tackled his situation very bravely.  After learning to deal with the awful news that this was to be a daily chore for him, he has adjusted well to the new routine. 
The fact that he is actually four and a half years old certainly helps as he is clearly a little more mature than some of the other children.  Although he is a social creature he has a very innocent nature and he is yet to learn how unpredictable other children his age can be.  After daily complaints of being tickled, pushed, yelled at and sometimes even spat at by some of the other children, our little guy is learning how to cope with the world away from the safety of his family.  It is such an important step to learn to become independent from your family and to enjoy the learning opportunity of socialising with others and the beginnings of education through play.  It is lovely to witness the very beginnings of some cautious friendships.
I am very proud of our youngest child and have mixed feelings of missing him at home and enjoying the tiny bit of daily freedom Kindy brings.  Spending less and less time each day before feeling comfortable to leave my youngest child with strangers is a nice feeling, seeing him waving at me smiling and feeling confident is fantastic.  That same happy smiling face greets me when its time to pick him up and I know that everything is good in his world ...

06 February 2014

16 : 'I Can See Clearly Now' - Something Borrowed!

Inspirational New Book

I am enjoying yet another inspirational book, a memoir by Dr Wayne Dyer, I Can See Clearly Now.  This is actually the first book by this author I have read, I was inspired by Dr Dyer last year after listening to him speak at a writing workshop by Hay House (http://ajmaaa.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/4-something-borrowed-dr-wayne-dyer.html). 
After reading Dr Dyer's latest book I am now inspired to read some of his earlier work, I'm going about it all a little backwards, however, I have found I will only decide to pick up a new book if I have a particular need for it at the time.  The memoir is written in an interesting literary style, beginning each chapter with a life altering memorable event in Dr Dyer's life; the second part of each chapter depicts Dr Dyer's current perspective of those significant events from a clearer view.  It is an extremely interesting way to read a book allowing the reader and author to be able to see 'clearly' why he needed to experience all the influential events of his life. 

Personally I have always been a big believer in the fact that all things happen for a reason, however, it can certainly take quite some time before we may realise why a particular event has occurred in our life, especially if it is a particularly harsh lesson.  Sometimes things happen to us not just to teach us a lesson in the act itself, but to see how we will actually react to that event.  After all we can only control our own reaction not that of others, a quote from Dr Dyer I like is 'How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours'.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/waynedyer382838.html#m8h83fEsw4eHDRtc.99
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/waynedyer382838.html#m8h83fEsw4eHDRtc.99
Up next on my reading list will be Dr Dyer's first published book Your Erroneous Zones, I am really looking forward to reading this book now that I can understand all the events that took place in Dr Dyer's life that led him to write it.  I would also really like to read more about some of the people that influenced his way of thinking, such as Abraham Maslow; an American Psychologist that stressed the importance of focusing on the positive qualities in people, as opposed to treating them simply as symptoms.  Maslow studied what he considered healthy self-actualizing people rather than the traditional methods of studying the mentally ill.  His studies found that self-actualizing people are those that focus on problems outside of themselves; they know what is true and false and have a better insight of reality; they deeply accept themselves, others and the world; they are spontaneous and creative and not bound by social conventions.  Maslow considered important historical figures such as Albert Einstein and the American author, poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau as two examples of self-actualized individuals.   
Another strong influence in the teachings of Dr Dyer is that of the American Psychologist Albert Ellis, who famously developed a new psychotherapy and behavior change system he named Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy.  The idea of this approach to psychotherapy was to focus on changing the client's self-defeating beliefs and behaviours; once the client was helped to understand these beliefs through rational analysis and cognitive reconstruction they went on to develop a more rational belief system.
If only there were more hours in the day to be able to read all the interesting books out there ...

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