Sometimes I wonder…
Would it be as rewarding
Without the hard bits?
Sometimes I wonder…
Sometimes I wonder…
Would it be as rewarding
Without the hard bits?
This week I’ve restarted another #100happydays photo project (on Instagram). Over the last couple of years I’ve become more conscious of what habits and practices impact my happiness, and this is definitely one that has a significant postive impact by giving me a reason to seek out, notice and create little moments of gratitude, connection and joy.
Another positive habit is daily journalling. I’ve been using the DayOne app for almost two years and this week I decided to upgrade to the latest version which includes the ability to keep multiple journals (plus some other nice features). Journalling has immediate benefits for me in that writing often helps me to figure out what I think, but the ability to look back and kind of join the dots to make better sense of who I am (or who I am becoming) is also really valuable. I’m also beginning to realise how much I’ve forgotten from the last four years of Ella’s life so I’m also trying to capture notes and insights about the kids – mostly so that I can remember, but possibly also so that when they’re older they can get a deeper insight into who they are.
Three things that have engaged my head and heart this week…
…living with children is probably the most powerful spiritual practice that anybody could ever be engaged in if you open yourself to it that way. I like to look at them as when they’re little as little living Zen masters that are sort of parachuted into our lives to push all our buttons and see how we’re going to work with the challenges they throw at us in addition to, of course, having to put food on the table, pay the rent, build a career, have a loving relationship…
This was a podcast episode with some wise messages about mindful parenting that I really needed to hear this week (see this Sticky Wisdom post). In moments of complete frustration, imagining E and L as little Zen monks brings a smile to my face! And I’m trying to remember to ask ‘what are they trying to teach me?’ rather than ‘why are they doing this to me?’!
2. Robert Sapolsky talking behaviour and biology on the Here We Are podcast
A friend recently recommended Robert Sapolsky’s book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. I have it on hold at the library but to be honest I’m a little daunted by a 800-page book on neuroscience so I went searching for a podcast instead. This episode had some fascinating insights and anecdotes about how the brain works, including a super interesting conversation about how ‘disgust’ is perceived/felt.
3. Jacinta Tynan: Why I’m Compiling a Daily Record of My Boys’ Childhood
This article was definitely part of the motivation for updating DayOne and starting journals for each of the kids. I really like the ‘one-sentence journal’ idea and it only takes a couple of minutes at the end of each day to jot down a few words to capture how they spent the day, a special moment or a funny quote. But listening to Sherry Turkle’s interview on On Being has me thinking about what physical artifacts from my kids’ childhoods I’m keeping (I’m very ruthless and there aren’t many artworks that get kept!) for them to discover later in life, and how I might ensure that the digital memories I’m capturing can also be retained and discovered.
This #stickywisdom from Jon Kabat-Zinn on the On Being podcast felt like it was especially directed at me!
Three things that have me thinking and feeling this week….
1. The New Work Smarts Report
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) have released The New Work Smarts report which forecasts the type of activities and requisite skills/knowledge that will be involved in work in 2030. In 2030, Ella will be 17 and probably embarking on first jobs and navigating the minefield of post-school career/education choices. Of particular interest was the fact that work in the future will be much more self-directed – with less management and training. This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the future of work and what their job/career may look like in 10-15 years, but I think it’s especially relevant for parents and educators to consider what kind of skills and experiences we should be supporting children to develop.
As I work on letting go of the pressure to be self-sufficient, I see that accepting help allows others true entrance into my life, creating the stronger community that I always longed to have.
Being back in the thick of newborn life I’ve found myself doing a lot of reading and thinking about birth and motherhood and reflecting on the ways that these experiences have shaped me. This week I read Lessons of Labor – a fairly short book in which the author, Julia Aziz, uses the stories of her three births (and miscarriage) to distill a number of life lessons. Although the birth stories are the framework for the book, I found it to be more a book about parenting and it reminded me a lot of ‘Buddhism for Parents on the Go‘. There were some particularly timely insights for me about asking for and accepting help, and about accepting rather than resisting some of the daily frustrations and challenges of life with little humans!
3. ‘Kids are gross’: On feminism and agency
Consent, respect, and bodily autonomy are at the core of feminism, but this piece reminded me that even when we’re loudly banging on about these things in our own lives it’s so easy to overlook them in our interactions with children. While I try to be mindful of these values in my parenting, I often find myself underestimating the perceptiveness and capabilities of my 4-year old (and her friends). This post definitely made me want to do better – and to expect the same of the other adults in my kids’ lives.
Last week I ended up in hospital with pneumonia. After 3 days of IV antibiotics and fluids, I’m feeling like a totally different person, but it was a really tough week. Being so sick really knocked me around mentally too, but now on the other side, things feel so so so much brighter and more positive. I am grateful for the wonderful public hospital care I received and have taken on board the message the universe has been sending about being willing to ask for help and not trying to hold everything together!
Three things that engaged my head and/or heart this week…
Oprah has a new podcast – Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations – a personal selection of her interviews with thought-leaders, best-selling authors, spiritual luminaries, as well as health and wellness experts. I’ve listened to the episodes with Brene Brown and Sheryl Sandberg – two women I’ve heard interviewed many times before, but whose messages and insights are worth re-listening to. I’ve also been listening to this podcast as I go to sleep in an attempt to distract myself from my annoying lingering cough!
There is no shortage of relationship advice online, but this post had some useful reminders. Processing my thoughts and feelings through journalling is something that I’ve found enormously helpful and has probably prevented many arguments!
This advice made me reflect on how much of our weekend/leisure time revolves around Miss E (4 years old) and what she wants to do or what we think will make her happy, and resolve to plan more family interactions and outings based on what makes Jason and/or I happy instead!
A semi-regular capture of 3 things that have engaged my heart and/or heart…
1. Relationship vs transaction
I was talking with a friend last week about interpersonal interactions being motivated by either a desire to build a relationship or to complete a transaction. So I was surprised to hear these words – relationship and transaction – come up in the recent episode of the Dear Sugars podcast on saying no (with Oprah Winfrey). I believe that when the universe keeps unexpectedly throwing up certain words or phrases in front of you, it’s worth paying attention.
2. Deep work with deep responsibilties
In her email newsletter this week Laura Vanderkam asked can you do ‘deep work’ if you also have deep responsibilities? It captured some of the frustrations I had with Cal Newport’s Deep Work, which I love the idea of but struggle to see how it can be implemented in reality by people with lead parenting (or other primary caregiving) responsibilities – which are most often women. However, I like Laura’s suggestion that perhaps Deep Work can be achieved in smaller blocks or through ‘retreats’.
3. Drop the Ball
I also finished Tiffany Dufu’s Drop The Ball – a book for women about letting go at home. My friend Ruth wrote an excellent review of the book, and if you’re not inclined to spend the time or money to read the book but are still interested in the idea, I recommend listening to Tiffany’s interview on Jonathan Fields’s Good Life Project podcast.
I’m going to iterate the format of my Head & Heart posts (again) and, inspired by Dan Pink’s recent changes to his newsletter, instead of trying to comprehensively capture all the interesting (at least to me) things I’ve been consuming, doing, thinking and feeling, I’m simply going to focus on sharing three things that have caught my attention – a blog post, book, podcast episode, quote etc.
I don’t know whom I’ll meet and I don’t know if we’ll have a pleasant, but forgettable connection, or if some part of me will light up in her presence and crave to keep lighting up. I don’t know if our illumination will be reciprocal. Maybe I’ll be totally hyped by being in her presence and she’ll find me interesting enough but not someone she can’t live without. That’s the risk, and it’s part of what makes the whole endeavor so intriguing.
I love love love Courtney Martin’s writing. We’re roughly the same age, with two young kids, and often when reading her posts I feel like she has perfectly captured what’s going on in my head/life. This piece about initiating new female friendships as an adult is lovely.
This episode of the On Being podcast made me so excited about getting back into running in a couple of months time once by body is fully recovered from L’s birth.
…happiness exists in action; it exists in telling the truth and saying what your truth is; and it exists in giving away what you want the most.
Eve Ensler’s advice about giving away what you want the most is something that I often find myself thinking about and it came up again in a conversation this week, so I’ve gone back and listened to her wonderful TED talk and also to her On Being interview with Krista Tippett (which now makes me want to re-read In the Body of the World).
Some other updates…