Adventuring in Twenty Sixteen

2015 presented it’s fair share of challenges and celebrations. I lost 4 relatives in the space of about a month, I had a baby, I went on to be diagnosed with Post Partum Anxiety (which was probably pre-natal, pre-pregnancy anxiety too) and I quit my job.

There are a few things I’m realising as I deal with my psycho reality… everything is important, everything is not important and mindfulness is key. Sounds pretty vague I know but I struggle a lot with my own mental health. As a social worker, I’ve worked with clients who I thought were bad and sometimes I’d put myself on par with them. I lose control and I go to these dark places I don’t want anyone to go to. And it’s weird because sometimes you feel like no one really believes you, and you’re not even sure you believe you because the difference between what you behave and what you display is so huge it could swallow Antarctica.

But alas we’re working on that. Along with attending play groups and library for Miss A, I also attend a mums group with mums who have a reality similar to my own… a little on edge, displays of high functionality, yet falling apart inside, losing control and losing ourselves.

This year, I’m also pretty keen to explore a few more things that will hopefully bring about a more relaxed, less anxious, more positive, less angry, reality of sorts. Something different, something new and yet, something old and familiar, as I seek to rediscover what it is to be mum, wife and Lani.

In 2016 we are…

  • being more committed to churching with our community.
  • being content.
  • learning about positive parenting.
  • learning about positive wife-ing.
  • rediscovering sew crafts.
  • meditating and being spiritually mindful.
  • being more active.
  • eating well: organic wholefood.
  • giving time and volunteering.
  • budgeting better (help me!).
  • being intentional about couple time.
  • loving more intentionally.
  • minimizing rubbish footprint.

I’m sure that list will get bigger but for now that’s what we’ve started with. Hopefully I’ll be better at updating as I go along. I never know who actually reads these things but I do know that for the purpose of reflection, it helps having an audience whether visible or invisible.

Ciao,

L

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Grief like cancer…

I started writing a post a couple of weeks ago. Until today, I had totally forgotten about it. I was on a plane from Christchurch to Wellington reflecting on death and cancer – my eyes welling up with tears having only moments before just learned of my cousin’s death to cancer. Here’s what I began writing…

Sunday 8th June 2014
I just finished reading John Green’s “The Fault of Our Stars”. I finished it late last night. If you haven’t read it, I highly and thoroughly recommend it. For those of you who have read it, you may understand just how ripped apart I feel.

Everyone wants to live.
Even cancer wants to live.
But my cousin… she died.

Yesterday in fact.

It’s a difficult thing to wake up and find your facebook newsfeed so full of pictures of your cousin who only a few days ago found out she had cancer. My immediate thought was that people were wishing her all the best for her battle. But the further I scrolled, the more I could see grief, loss and sympathy. That moment was so unreal so I called my dad to ask him what was going on. It was exactly as I had feared. My spunky cousin was gone. Cancer wanted to live, so she died.

It’s not always easy to hear and discover heartbreaking and devastating news on social media sites but as I sit here on this plane reflecting, I think maybe it’s easier to tell it. The internet isn’t a face. There are no tears on your screen, apart from the ones dripping from your own face. There are no awkward questions about how she died. There are no silly stutters as people search for those foreign words of condolence. You can shout it into the void of the internet, and you can walk away. And even better, you the condolence-giver have time to search for those foreign words.

 

I’ve experienced a few deaths in the last few months that have had some effect on my inner-person. I have cried my fair share of tears this year. It’s been both emotionally and spiritually draining. I don’t hold to much faith these days. I belong to a community of people who meet together once a month – who appreciate where I’m at in my current life circumstance and we journey along anyway. Sometimes we talk about faith stuff – God, Jesus, the like. After my cousin died, I kept coming back to thoughts about the afterlife. No one can really give you anything specific – like what’s happening now for my cousin. Where is she at? But there’s this comforting idea that she’s here making sure he babies are going to be ok before she passes on to something different. There’s the comforting idea that they’re all together – all our deceased loved ones.

Before they closed up her coffin, I, a blubbering mess, whispered one thing into her ear…
“I love you cuz – please take care of my Jojack.”

If there’s anything these past few tragedies have taught me – it’s that life is soooo much shorter than we want it to be. I want to write a whole lot more about it but I feel like John Green speaks them all for me. You should just read it. At the end of the day, we get our infinities. Lots of infinities. Maybe not as infinite as that guy over there, but we have today.

I also learned that funerals aren’t for the dead but for the living. I’ve seen a few this past year and I have often wondered whether the dead person would appreciate it as an accurate reflection of their life. But the grieving process is more than just an hour long church service and a few Hail Mary’s. It’s the gathering group who sit with my endlessly sleeping cousin and sing songs to her. It’s the band of boys who gather over a beer to share stories. It’s the grieving couple who sit and reflect on what kind of personality their miscarried child might have had.

This grief, the reflection on loss, the celebration of life – they all take shape in different ways or forms. And that’s ok. Surely.

 

 

Re-pondering Spirituality…

I really should be studying but I’ve been thinking about spirituality a lot lately and what better way to get it off my chest than to chuck it here in the blogosphere. If you haven’t caught up (assuming you still read this), I left my youth working job and a year after I left my youth working job, I left my church. That wasn’t because I had issues with faith but rather I had issues with form and reason. Why do we go to church on Sundays? Why should I listen to his/her sermon? Why are all these people here? Why are we singing this song? Why do we believe that? And so on it goes…

I began to develop what I call “Sermon Attention Deficit Disorder” (isn’t that sadd?? lol). I couldn’t sit in church and listen to an entire sermon. I couldn’t be part of a music team that was singing a song I didn’t necessarily agree with. I wasn’t even sure I held the same values about worship. So, my husband and I took an indefinite break from the church scene. We have moments where we look back on all the the fun other people seem to be having and I get jealous but I’m rediscovering where I sit with all of this. I didn’t want to be going along with something just because. I wanted to do it because it was my choice and desire to do it. It’s like this whole journey of weightloss at the moment. I’m not doing it because my parents called me fat half my life, I’m doing it because it’s my choice to do it. And at first I was kinda excited about getting out and making friends with non-christians, but then I realised something… actually I’m just excited about making friends with different people.

At my postgraduate course, I have 3 friends that I’ve just sorta warmed to this last year and a bit. They’re amazing. One practices something along the lines of “The Secret” (check out thesecret.tv), another loves astrology and believes in auras and in the gifts of psychics, and the other practices something similar to a form of buddhism. We all sat round a table at a Japanese restaurant last week sharing our entire life stories – they were all pretty heartbreaking but we all had these awful experiences. And that was the point that I realised that these girls were more than my non-christian friends… they were my friends. And a couple of nights later, we sat round a table at a Korean restaurant and talked our spiritual beliefs. Everyone had a place there. These are girls who have been really burnt by christians who dismiss them as stupid and not knowing anything about spirituality, and they let me sit at their table. It was a beautiful scene. 4 women with different journeys in different spiritualities and yet we experienced the same growing pains.

So that’s where I’m at on the spiritual journey. And I’m enjoying it. In fact, I love this. I love being able to express myself in a whole new way. I’m open to talking about my spirituality and in turn, these women give me air time. We all give each other air time. It’s a reciprocal relationship and it’s quite lovely.

Love & Peace,
L