Saturday, 28 February 2015

Day 108

I once bought a laptop based solely on a friend's one line recommendation.  "I love mine," she said, "it's just so intuitive".


The word was like magic fairy dust to me.  It had connotations of tapping an inner wisdom, of somehow knowing what I needed more than I did.  Yes, please, I'll have the intuitive model in silver.

Some folks are naturally intuitive, they have insight and self-awareness by the barrow load and use it with grace and wisdom.  They are clued in to what brings out the best in themselves and what they need at different seasons of their life.  (I'm looking directly at you, darling Wendy, my dear friend and blog reader.)

But for me, in writing and in life, I can overthink things.  I wrangle and wrestle with topics and end up exhausted.  Not being naturally intuitive, I need all the help I can get. Hence the choice of laptop.   I crave a little voice that can help me find a calm way to proceed.  I am a huge fan of getting out of my own way.

Intuitive eating seems to distill all my new learning about food into one neat package.  It is a wise, calm, kind voice.  It is a sprinkling of magic fairy dust on my omelette.

Love and intuition,

Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Day 107

Yesterday I read this.

750 million people in the world to do not have access to clean drinking water.

And I felt like I had been shot, to be honest.

750 million people.

I look around my home and I see taps in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry, and, for goodness sake, the guest cottage.  Hot water, cold water and warm water just waiting to be turned on. There's even ice cold water from a dispenser on the fridge.  There's taps in the garden and a tap near the chook yard.

I am never more than a few steps from clean, fresh, safe drinking water.  Never once do I give a second thought to the quality of the water I drink.

As I type this, 750 million people are wondering how they will get their water today.  They will walk long difficult distances with leaky containers and babies on their hip.  They will endure all kinds of things that I can't begin to imagine just so their families can drink, wash and cook.

There's an organisation called who are doing great work in regards to water.  I'm going to count up the number of taps at my place and multiply it by something and donate to them.  Because clearly there is much to be done.


Indigo Kate x

Friday, 20 February 2015

Day 106

While I dither on here about health and wellness (and have I mentioned how marvellous I am because for four breaths a day I manage to breathe mindfully?) for others health is unfairly out of reach.

Love your Sister is based on two siblings, Samuel and his sister Connie.  They love each other and have done extraordinary things because of that, including but not limited to, Sam riding a unicycle around Australia.  Truly.

Connie is young and gorgeous and the mother of two young boys.  She is also terminally ill.  She is living fully with everything she has, in every moment that she has.  Her mantra is, Now is Awesome.

And if someone who is battling the brutal big C disease who is facing the unthinkable prospect of not seeing her children grow up, can adopt that approach with grace, I'm not sure what my excuse is exactly.

On Sam's epic trip, our family went to a small town he was passing through to cheer him on.  He came into town at the end of a long hot day of peddling.  He spoke about breast awareness, and of wanting to spare another family what his own was going through.  He jumped in a dragon boat for a paddle with those surviving/battling the disease.  He was delightful and unassuming despite no doubt being tired and over it and wanting to paddle a boat like a hole in the head.  He spoke to my little fellow who had just been given a unicycle for Christmas and told him that only 1 in 100 kids will perservere long enough to master the skill, and told him to practise in a hallway.  It was the perfect pep talk and it worked, within a week we had a unicyclist in the family.

Let's be breast aware.  And thank you Connie and Sam for everything you have done.

Now is awesome.


Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Day 105

I have a writing project coming up and was planning it with my colleague, when my phone chimed.  It was my Mindfulness App, which then prompted a little discussion about meditation.  A little while later her phone made a glug glug noise which she explained, reminded her to drink water, and she duly took a big swig from her water bottle.

And it got me thinking about how many things we should be doing for our health that are so easy to let slide.  So I thought about designing an App that does it all.  A chime for breast examination, teeth flossing, drinking water, applying sunscreen, eating 5 serves of veggies, walking 10, 000 steps, pelvic floor exercises, yoga stretches, meditation, cardio and strength exercises and, and, and...

Then I realised with so much chiming I would probably hurl the phone across the room.  It's hard to do everything.  Some days, it's hard to do anything.   But we can only try to put our health first, and use whatever cues work best to keep us mindful of living well.

Let me know if you have something that helps keep you on track.


Indigo Kate x

Day 104

My littlest friend has just started school, and she is given each Wednesday off to rest.  It works a treat.  By Tuesday night I have a small train-wreck of a child on my hands, completely overtired and overwhelmed with all the structure, rules and a deep desire to get everything right (beats me where that came from).  Then, magically, by Thursday morning I once again have a cheerful school girl eager to face the world again.

So, it came to me in a blinding flash - the whole world needs Wednesdays off!  Not just 5 year olds but everyone.  Look, I'm no economist and I don't know how the global financial side of things would hold up, but imagine, if we all worked Monday and Tuesday, then took a day to recharge, wash clothes, sweep the floor and have a swim in the waterhole, then headed back to the coalface for Thursday and Friday.  I'm thinking productivity will be up, blerkdom would be down.  Fewer grown-up tantrums in the workplace and less folks losing their will to live by Thursday at 3pm.

I know what your thinking, 'Indigo Kate for PM', and look I'm happy to take up the challenge, as long as I can take Wednesdays off.


Indigo Kate x

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Day 104

Just when I was starting to wonder if it was possible to overdo the self care thing, I saw this... and decided it was okay.


Indigo Kate x

Monday, 16 February 2015

Page 103

I'm still luxuriating in my newly found time for self care.  Yesterday, I saw a beautiful Australian film called Paper Planes.  In the daytime. With my husband. No babysitter required.  Extraordinary!

I laughed and cried through this film, completely engaged with a beautiful boy and his dream, set amid the exhausting hell of fresh grief.

Not since 'Lars and the Real Girl' have I loved a film so much.  And it reminded me of the role of stories.  We want to connect with each other and story is a natural platform for that.  Through hearing another's story we celebrate with them, we grieve with them, we cheer them on.  Muriel Rukeyser, poet and teacher, was right, when she said, 'The world is not made up of atoms.  The world is made up of stories.'

In my Year of Living Well, I want to hear and share stories.  It's our way through, and our way forward.  The next time someone says, 'This funny/weird/terrible/amazing thing happened to me...', please stop what your doing, and listen carefully with your ears and your mind and your heart.  It may just be the story that holds up a mirror to your life an reveals the very thing you are searching for.

What's your favourite film of all time?


Indigo Kate x

Friday, 13 February 2015

Day 102

What happened to the daily blogger I use to be? Where do some of these crazy-busy days go?
Despite a few missed blogging days, I'm exploring the idea of self-care, which I must admit is not easy for me because any phrase that sounds remotely Californian makes me slightly queasy.

But whatever you call it, the idea of looking after oneself is sound.  When I had small children, and lots of them, climbing all over me day and night, I would have rolled my eyes at anyone who talked about self care.  In fact, I wouldn't have got a full eye roll in because on the upward swivel of eyeballs I would have fallen deeply asleep with a bunch of children on top of me, like a pride of lions.  They were deeply exhausting years.

But now, magically, I wave my (warning: blatant maternal bias ahead) four fairly magnificent children off to school each day.  Bye! I say.  Have a great day! Love you, love you, love you, love you! And I send them off into the world and I experience a wave of amputee-like lightness.  I feel like I'm floating, or at least gliding, around my kitchen as I deal with post-breakfast dishes.

Hence time to think about things like self care, minus the eye rolling.  In the last fortnight, I've managed some laps in the pool and a Pilates class, neither of which are Herculian but both jolly-well impossible when you are caring for little people.  I've managed an unhurried walk with the dog.  I've had a nanna nap.  I've met my husband for lunch in a cafe.  I've had a haircut.  I must admit, I am positively giddy with the possibilities of the whole thing.

Then I see some poor mother who is trying to collapse a complicated pram with a baby under one arm with a toddler threatening to dart out into the traffic while she finds her keys and answers her phone and slams the car boot on her head, and I feel overwhelmed remembering the sheer unrelenting   scale that was each single day.  

I'm not sure what my point is exactly.  Be kind to mothers of small children everywhere.  Chances are they are tired, they are doing their very best and then some, they are wondering what happened to their life and they are worrying if they are doing any of it right.  Hold their baby, cook them a meal, tell them they are dong a wonderful job.  Just don't blab on about self care.


Indigo Kate x

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Day 101

I have a new App on my phone.  A mindfulness App.  For the dizzy sum of $2.49 I now have my very own mindfulness coach, called Natalie, in my pocket.  Natalie sends me little reminders to breathe and asks me to consider any sensations in my toes.  It's a gentle call to the present.  She gives me short videos of streams rippling, or ladybugs climbing a blade of grass, to watch while I breathe in and out.  I must say, I'm loving it.

Yesterday my little chicks returned from school hot and bothered.  Why does the hottest weather of the year always coincide with the start of Term1?  Anyway, my Grade 2 girl, walked in the door with her face red and her hair sticky with sweat and announced, 'Mum, can I just sit quietly with your phone and do some breathing exercises?'

And apart from falling in love with her all over again at that moment, I was struck by the modelling thing.  Parenting is a massive responsibility.  It's the kind of responsibility that could keep you up all night, every night, if you let it.  But modelling, I find more possible.    I can try to be more self aware, have more self-compassion, strive for wellness and hope that somehow this is planting a seed somewhere.  The next time I walk in the door hot and frazzled, I'm going to take a leaf out of Miss 7's book and find myself a quiet spot on the couch and do my breathing exercises.


Indigo Kate x

Monday, 9 February 2015

Day 100

I worried that something significant needed to be said on Day 100.  And I dilly-dallied wondering what it should be.  But in the absence of a letter from the Queen and a ticket-tek parade, I give you this.  But be warned, a long post about my 100 days so far is coming soon.

Wishing you self-compassion.  I had to think about it for a while to make sure I understood it.  And then it became crystal clear; self-compassion is the opposite of dieting.

With love and self-compassion,

Indigo Kate x

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Day 99

Handing over to the modern day prophet, Michael Leunig, for today.  He says it best, I think.

' a small sign of trust' - I love that.


Indigo Kate x

Day 98

I saw a T-shirt today that said, 'Life is a special occasion.'

Yes, I thought to myself.  Yes, it is.

And I wanted to grab a permanent marker and scrawl 'no matter what the scales say' across the bottom.  But that may have been slightly weird for the person wearing the shirt.

What I'm learning - gear-grindingly slowly it would seem - is that life is a gift to be savoured no matter what our size.  When my weight piled back on and I was in the grip of vicious relationship with both food and myself, I was socially avoidant (fancy pants psychology term for hiding).  With four children I could always blame one of them for being sick as a reason to miss a party or gathering.  I simply stopped going out because of how I looked.

I look back now on those missed weddings, 40ths and 50ths parties with a sense of remorse.  They won't come again.  I didn't feel worthy of joining those special occasions because of my size.

I don't want to miss anything else. I'd like to think my social avoidance was like, so 2014.   I want to get out there, in my bumbling introverted way, and make the most of life, and all it throws at me.  Because, after all, it is the ultimate special occasion.


Indigo Kate x

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Day 97

When my little people were really little and I had to run the gauntlet of supermarkets filled with experienced mothers freely dispensing advice, I had a rule.

I would listen and smile and then say, as sweetly as I could, 'I'm so glad that worked for you.' It was great because then I didn't have to even pretend I was going to try holding them upside down when they cried/letting them cry/not letting them cry or whatever else was being advised. It was my get out of gaol card and I kept a very tight grip on it.

Despite not knowing one end of a baby from another,  I just knew I had to find my own path.  I found advice conflicting and confusing and I loved my babies so desperately that I hoped that would be enough.  In hindsight, it more or less was/is.  Sure, I could have done with a few more hours sleep per night over a decade but other than that we've come out of it alright.

But in the health/food/wellness arena, whenever anyone had an opinion I was all ears.  I soaked up conflicting/confusing/contradictory advice like a sponge.  If someone sounded like they had found a path through the overgrown thicket, I would buy their book and try whatever it was they were on about.  I was a willing disciple following blindly, always looking around for my next guru.  

So I loved this one from the Moderation Movement.  (I also loved the image of the green smoothie because not so long ago I was on about those in a rather big way!)  So, the next time I hear somebody talking about THE way, I'm going to smile to myself and think, 'I'm so glad that worked for you' and then run in the opposite direction.  Fast.


Indigo Kate x

Monday, 2 February 2015

Day 86-96

If this blog was a little shop there would have been a wee sign on the door this last week or so that said  'Temporarily closed due to tricky family circumstances.'  Or 'Life has gone mad - back soon.' Or perhaps 'My husband has a kidney stone and keeps needing me to take him to hospital in the middle of the night and my four children need to get ready to start school and I haven't slept in three nights and I have slightly no idea what day it is or even what my name is.'

Some very lovely readers of this blog were deeply kind during this little weird episode.  There were thoughtful emails, texts messages, and phone calls. Gentle support swirled all around us as we trundled through a messy week of life unedited.

And now here we are, one kidney stone out (cue loud cheering and streamers falling from the sky) and husband has morphed back into his usual low-maintenance, capable, hate-to-be-a-bother, self.  Our four little people have happily settled into their year of learning (and yes, they do all have library bags, art smocks and matching shoes - all labelled). I am no longer breathing through a straw but taking big lungfuls of air and feeling thankful for everything, especially you all.  

With love and thanks,

Indigo Kate x