We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Turn, turn, turn

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

1848 Shaker song. Listen - it is beautiful!

I started Lent with a bucketful of high hopes - all the positive changes I was going to make, all the good things I was going to do... but being human, they have dribbled away and dribbled away until I am left carefully balancing that last teaspoonful and praying that I won't spill it too.

First the dripping trail:

- clean like the Lord is coming to visit: one and a half weeks out of 4. I've kept climbing Mt Washmore (the laundry) though, and the dishes twice a day... let's say 35%.

- exercise every day: it seems worse, but it's really only this week that I've slacked off... started with TOM & high humidity, but coincided with anniversary & birthday celebrations to add to the cumulative blah effect... I'll be generous... 75%

- take advantage of study time... again I was doing reasonably well and then somewhere around the middle of last week I allowed the distractions to creep in and take control of my time again. Comparing what I need to do with what I have actually done... 65%

That gives me a grand score of 58%. PHEW! I just scraped in with a pass... but you know me - scraping in is never satisfactory. I'm an over achiever. I want high distinctions to be happy. I NEED to zoom home with flying colours. Well, the special celebrations (excuses for being naughty) are out of the way and Lent is not over yet. There are still 11 days until Easter - and 11 is my lucky number. Hmmmmmm.

Okay, here's the plan. Start by celebrating 11 successes, then set 11 goals to speed me through the next 11 days. Let's refill the bucket!!!


1. I bought a pair of shorts on special for my gym wear - $11.
2. They only had size 14 & smaller left on the rack. I took a pair of size 14 home without trying them on first - and they fit fine!!! (not that many months ago size 20 was a squeeze!)
3. I found a pair of generic orthotic insoles at Woolworths for $21 and they seem to help the pain when I walk, giving me hope I am on the right track.
4. The jade and pearl jewellery that Yeti bought me for our anniversary arrived and is very beautiful. I shall feel like a queen when I wear it.
5. I found FREEMIND - the mindmap program that I have been raving about. It is revolutionising my note taking and is so much fun to use that it makes me WANT to work.
6. There are clean sheets on the beds.
7. I have only missed saying the rosary on 3 days. If I skipped my exercise, I still did the rosary while I hung the washing or did other tasks.
8. So far so good on the don't weigh yourself commitment. Yup, I gave up my scale for lent lol... I couldn't think of any material thing I was inordinately attached to... then I thought of how often I weigh and measure myself and what a sacrifice it would be NOT TO KNOW!!! So I gave it up. And I don't know... and I'm not going to weigh myself until Easter Sunday - hence the desperate desire to turn this train around and ensure a pleasant surprise when I do :P
9. One of our cats, Sweety Follow (named by Wombat, can't you guess?) was bitten by a red belly black snake. I found him lying paralysed out in the yard. We brought him in and cared for him and thanks be after five days he has fully recovered and is back to being a happy 'uncle' cat playing with his 4 kitten siblings. We have seen two more snakes since - but thankfully the boys seem to make enough noise to keep them away.
10. I have started reading the Magic Pudding to Wombat and he is loving it ( a bit above his comprehension level, but he gets the jokes and the songs are fun to sing).
11. We (I) finished the labryinth! There's a little clearing down in the bush. Last year, Wombat and I collected loose stones and built a double spiral. This month I got more ambitious. We now have a full labyrinth next to our double spiral. Wooohoooooo! The boys seemed to find playing down in the bush every day to be more positive than playing around the house, too. I also counted an hour of rock carrying on my exercise ticker several times lol.

And now the TO DO list:

1. Take your iron tonic twice a day.
2. Find your water bottle counter - or make a new one if necessary - and DRINK your water.
3. Exercise for at least 30 minutes EVERY day - the free gym trial is coming up... this should be easy!
4. 10 minutes of parenting reading each day.
5. Keep saying the rosary.
6. Clean your desk - give your workspace a fresh SPARKle.
7. Declutter - find 11 items to throw away and 11 items to give away.
8. At least 2 days of processed food detox - starting today.
9. At least 30 minutes each day of solid study.
10. At least one small item off your cleaning list each day.
11. Eat clean until Easter - no more treats! That includes letting Wombat and the others finish the birthday cake lol. One slice is enough for you. (Don't complain - you shouldn't have gulped down spoonfuls of frosting just because you made too much. The boys were sensible enough not to take your offer - what made you think you needed to overload your system with margarine, icing sugar and cocoa??? It also includes jellybeans and block chocolate. NO MORE UNTIL EASTER - you hear me???) [Sorry for shouting... just need to make sure the lecture sank in... see what kind of a nagging mother I am? but my inner child is getting too spoilt lately... 11 days of no indulging - and all tantrums will be ignored.]

There... that should do it! I was going to post a pic of the labyrinth but my graphics program froze... I'll do a photo entry some time next week instead :D

I'm off to listen to my favourite turn-me-around song again :) Hope you liked it!

PS. just reading through this and noticed the interesting psychological point that i celebrate "MY" success but then I tell myself what "YOU" will do. I'm not going to rewrite it, but next time, I must remember to commit myself and say "I WILL" instead of hiding behind the fiction of an external authority telling me what to do (ie thus avoiding personal responsibility for my choices).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrating self worth

One of my favourite places for occasional procrastination is the Ordinary Courage blog written by Brené Brown. She is currently publicising the release of her new DVD: 'The Hustle for Worthiness' - a filmed lecture on her "new research on love, belonging, and the power of being enough." She is hosting a "week of worthiness" in the blogging community.

I just happened to follow a link to an interview with Brené, and was inspired to answer the questions myself. At first, they seemed easy, but when I thought more about it, I found myself answering "I don't know" to most of them. It actually took quite a lot of soul searching and worthy contemplation to get to this point... and then it seemed a shame to throw my answers away, so I decided to share them with you!

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in the creative zone - whether it be sewing, writing, exercise (creating a new me), housecleaning (making dull things shiny) - anything that transforms the mundane into the magical, requires my body to be occupied and allows my mind to soar free. A bit like this song clip, really... (if you don't have time to listen to the whole song, at least fast forward to near the end so you can see what she makes!)

2. What is your greatest fear?

Being unloved and misunderstood, hurting people and not being able to make amends.

3. Which living person do you most admire?

Truthfully? Myself. *Blush* I know... isn't that awful? But no, it is not. I am proud of my resilience, my ability to keep trying, to pick myself up from the depths and start again, to stare my faults in the face (and they are myriad) and to do daily combat with them, knowing that win or lose I will show up again tomorrow to fight the good fight once more. Don't you think it is important to admire the person you know best in all the world? Or perhaps I just have a greater tolerance for my own weakness than I do for that of others :P

4. What trait do you most deplore in yourself?

I too often and too easily make my children suffer for my frustrations. I am a bully.

5. What trait do you most deplore in others?

Sitting on your high horse and judging others (unfortunately, this is also the second trait I most deplore in myself)...

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Know what? I don't think any virtue is overrated lol... I even read through the Wikipedia article on virtue - very interesting and informative - searching for one virtue I could single out, and instead emerged inspired to cultivate even more virtues in my life. Honestly, I feel that the whole concept of virtue is so UNDERrated by modern society that the structure needs support, and I would be ashamed to throw another stone at it.

7. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Yeti :D We were married on the anniversary of our first kiss, so on March 20th we shall celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, and our 18th year of life together. Since I will be 36 in August, that means that as of this year I have spent half my life with Yeti! When we met, I was 18 and he was 37. I was a catholic schoolgirl, he was a Harley riding biker. I thumb my nose at all those who said we would never last, and hope and pray for many many many many more years.

8. Which talent would you most like to have?

Oooohhhhhhh.... I want to be able to freeze time or stre-e-e-e-e-e-etch it... or maybe just move at super speed, that would do it.....

9. What is your current state of mind?

Anticipatory, eager, a little anxious... actually, there's a bright blue sky of bravery, a burning sun of determination, plenty of soaring birds of ambition.... but way down below there's a tiny little darkness under a rock that is s***scared.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Motherhood... it's also my greatest challenge (see 6) and at times my greatest failure (see 4)

11. What is your most treasured possession?

Ok... I have now mentally reviewed my boxes of clutter, my shinies and my sentimental specials... yes, there are lots... but for the here and now the answer is my mp3 player / ebook reader (cheap chinese) and my Bang & Olufsen (chinese copy) headphones... at the moment I am getting in at least 30 minutes on the cross trainer each morning because I have loaded a scriptural rosary onto it so I can double guilt myself into getting out there to pray and exercise at the same time... then if I get the chance at naptime, I rush out for another 30 minutes of exercise so I can listen to Dickens' The Curiosity Shop which I have loaded as an audiobook. Sad but true :P

12. What is your superpower?

Ahahahahahaahaaaaa. I have the power to enter your mind riding a flood of words that lift you up and carry you away on fantastical journeys, all without opening my mouth or leaving my desk. As a recent experiment has shown, my kryptonite is being confined to one word lol.

13. What is your motto?

"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." (Carl Bard)

I have a book full of them, though... Some of my other favourites include:

"Even a dead lion scares the sheep." (Anonymous radio announcer)

"Bad weather always looks worse through a window." (Tom Lehrer)

"You are on first name terms with lucidity. I have to call it 'Mr Lucidity'." (The Tick)

"Rest and be kind. You don't have to prove anything." (Jack Kerouac)

14. What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, humour, acceptance of my foibles.

15. Which word or phrase do you most overuse?


16. What is your greatest extravagance?


17. What is the quality you most like in a woman?


18. What is the quality you most like in a man?


19. On what occasion do you feel the most authentic?

When I am writing - and not always about myself lol.