Monday, 19 June 2017

Finding Love or Love Finding You?

So I am on a bit of a run with this 'love thing' at the moment... Feeling the Summer-like energy of others as they are finding love and the excitement of new kisses exploding like flowering buds and butterflies in the garden of joy and bliss...  So the musings this week include, am I feeling incapable of finding my great love? The answer is an unquestionable no.  Am I worried about being single? Negative again. I am indeed content with the fact that love will find me, when it is good and ready and my challenge is for my mind to allow it to happen.

The many variables of elusive love is a mission for so many, this frantic - will I won't I - will he or she? I read recently that Millennials are beginning to realise their whole ethos around love and the need to control it is not going so well.  With high expectations, vague and debatable commitment and failure to be authentic is now properly muddying their romantic waters.

So... where do we find love? When 'should' we find love or 'should' we even be trying to find love? Divorce and separation as with love, happens through all the seasons, and with it for so many come the wondrous opportunities of the jewel in our human crowns.  And this is the thing, finding love in the depths of the super internet highway of apps and websites can become all consuming. Checking dating sites can become the new FB go to, the elation, disappointments and frustrations being created when an orange message bubble pops up. Our pesky monkey minds have died and gone to mischief heaven... these sites whilst for some are the answer and love is veritably found, are for many a source of angst, disappointment and confidence wobbling exercises - as if we didn't need any more of it after divorce... 

Is it possible then to try, just for a while, to not seek love but instead allow love to find us. When I teach mindfulness I encourage my clients to try practising acceptance with 'letting go' rather than being resigned and 'holding on'. So is the thought that we could allow love find us, rather than the relentless seeking of it, not be such an enormous relief to so many? Just 'being' with the idea that if you are not on the great 'love' search that you could just possibly still find love by just 'being' rather than 'doing'?

So 'should' we be finding love, with the constant consumption of our spare time on our devices? The feverish checking of messages, a cheeky Smile or Like, noticing how we are feeling as we go through the yes's, the no's and the lack of messages or do we just sit back and wait for Mr or Ms Properly Right come waltzing through our door? I believe and trust that love will happen if you let it.  

This is not to say I am shying away from online opps for fear of rejection or disappointment, only that I am OK with not having to search. My feelings of self-worth are good, positive and I feel fully in my power.  I know love is there for me, with its sneaky unexpected boom out of nowhere pop of cherubic 'bullseye-ishness', as opposed to "when I have sorted my business out, my teenagers finished their exams or before I get my car fixed"... because I fully believe that love happens when we least expect it, when we aren't trying to control it and that I find even more exciting. 

Love is not something that should be on our list of things to 'do', real love flows like water. And when we get busy and build obstacles, scared of declaring our underbellies to another, attempting to dam the stream of water, and like water, real good sweet love always gently finds a way through, trickling around our avoidance style efforts. 

The loves in my life have been the ones least expected, the kind of loves that caught me off guard and the mind blowing serendipitous ones. I know this happens when I pay least attention to any aspect of my life. The Universe gets to work and stuff happens, it is our challenge to let go of our control freakery and fear, paranoia and perhaps a little of the social shame for not having a partner... and trust lovely folk it can happen, with a little trust.

Enjoy your week and may someone lovely bump into you...

Natasha x

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Ex's and Mothers Day After Divorce

Ok so Exs and Mothers Day... how does this feel?  Divorcing kindly takes effort, big effort and respect, attention and time... being in a good place, if possible with your Ex leads to a far more harmonious life for your kids, for you and your wider circle of family and friends.

Mother's Day is one of those such days that is important for everyone.  Our own mum's surrogate mums and even the mum of your kids, who, (perhaps you don't care to or want to remember that hurt you through divorce) can with a little stepping up, be honoured for the sake of your kids. Even for just one day of the year can make the difference and would it not be a gift to your kids to know their mum is worthy of respect and kindness for their own well being, sense of worth and development? Their mum is half of them, of who they are and children need to know that the person they were borne by, despite any marital misgivings, is important.

We all know there is merit in respecting your Ex, as the person who bore your kids and for their future in helping create a climate of respect for women in the world and this can begin at home with you.  Do we not think this is where we, as humans begin to build a firmer, more cohesive and respectful society starting in our own community?

Could it be entirely possible within your power to do something completely beyond your comfort zone, outside of the box, to ensure your kids have the resources and ideas to help celebrate their Mother's Day?  How good would you feel that for even one day, you are supporting your kids as you acknowledge the importance of their Mum in their life by helping organise a card or bunch of flowers - even from the garden? Check in to this post to see how on his Ex's Birthday Billy Flynn made a difference.

My Ex has a saying "happy ex-wife, happy life" - it works for us - we respect each other enough to support this - neither of us wanting to continue rowing or arguing after we separated and divorced.  We were all done with this during the last couple of years of our marriage and so why go for more?  Can Mother's Day be an opportunity to make some painful stuff less so? Arguing is exhausting, energetically draining and a waste of time... what we can do is help each other and if by giving the children the chance to see that good stuff can come out of sad endings, this day might just be a chance...

Mothers Day is an ideal opportunity to show up for your kids, maybe surprise their mum and surely... any level of support, kindness and effort on Mother's Day is going to be appreciated... so go do it ... help be the reason for smiles on this day.

Natasha x

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Mindful Internet Dating After Divorce


So there is a little part of me tempted to explore the avenue of internet dating to 'find' love. Having spent a weekend with a happy divorced school friend who successfully found love via the internet, I thought it about time I took a peek. Not the swipe left or right, or fishing site, but a committed, authentic and productive portal of intention and fun, honesty and laughter.

So bracing myself I logged on, thought briefly about what I wanted to say, I wrote a few lines, answered half of the questions about films, books and the like and ventured to press go... it was free to begin with and that felt less scary, with little commitment and time to explore.

I spent a couple of days looking at messages and approaches - feeling good about the attention and curious too. The site had 'hooked' me, I wanted to see faces and I liked that it was initially about who people were rather than looks, this dating site felt more authentic. I contemplated the money screen and how this was going to change things for me, payment is a mindful intention to commit to something.  

So the paying bit had me thinking, when we see an advert for a product or service, we are being sold something.  We buy into it with the full force of quality assurance and service laws behind us.  Even the big giants of second hand goods on the internet have processes in place monitoring quality, truth and integrity. So why do we not do afford the same respect to our own selves, as we sell our 'I am single, I would love to meet someone who will hold me, kiss me, cherish me, love and want to spend the rest of my life with' pitch. WOW indeed a huge order for a service or product provision.... so why are there so many dating men and women not giving each other the integrity, honesty and the respect we deserve?  

For divorcees and single folk there is a whole load of emotional pain, hurt and heartache on the cards before we even press the 'pay' button. So why do so many bypass the common laws of humanity by presenting false personas when it comes to love over the internet? Do the untruths attract back what is put out there?  Do we not all want honesty - especially second time round? My friend and her partner both lied about their ages and are blissfully happy. So is this about the law of attraction, luck or karma? What does help us find our soul mate? 

Is honesty something we all want? If you are not feeling gorgeous in your body - get fit and healthy, celebrate your extra years and believe your life experiences can only help you in the next relationship. Do the emotional work before you internet date and ask yourself whether you really are ready for a new relationship? Are you ready to make time for a relationship if the right person comes along?  If you have kids, are they ready? Is this about your loneliness? Lovely people - get comfy with your stuff, with who you are and know that you are worthy as you are... 

Be mindfully aware of how others on the site could be feeling, what they may have gone through and their reasons for pressing 'pay' too. Thank people for their interest and be interested in them, be thoughtful and kind. Try not to set high expectations or thoughts about your date, try not to pressurise yourself and focus your attention positively as to why you are on the site. Have fun, flirt and allow it to be easy without the need to control too much. Be open to meeting your soul mate and a love to get old with...

So who am I connecting with on this particular site? Kind, polite and regular smiley guys with a whole load of gentle honesty about life. I've found a group of men who have the same thoughts and beliefs about life as I do, who have been through some tough times and are on a journey of self-discovery and growth.   

I've had my first blind date for years, was I nervous - yes, disappointed - no because he was authentic. After a coffee we ended up in the local vinyl shop comparing our years of music buying and laughing... there was no pressure except for a cheeky lunge for a kiss at the end and I came away feeling that truth, gut instinct and kindness can help us all meet good and lovely people online.  

My question to you is this... is it about where you go shopping that matters or is it knowing your self-worth and being fully comfortable in your own skin that attracts the right people in? Is kindness and respect important? Is being mindful of whether you are fully ready to move on, with a positive and committed intention going to attract your soul mate or is it luck? We shall see...

Natasha x 

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

5 Ways for Divorcees to Have Happier Kid's Handovers

Handovers for parents and kids during and after divorce can be difficult, challenging and painful. 

Kids of divorced parents essentially have two homes and it is the kids, NOT us, who are on the move, packing, repacking and sleeping in different beds. Generally, we parents aren't the ones changing homes each week or month, it is our kids. So how can we best help them?

Take a moment to check in with how the kids may be feeling with all this moving, ask yourself how would you feel, have been there yourself and already know? Next take on board all the possible crapola of parental anger, guilt and painful energy you and your Ex can put out at handover - I still remember my parent's handovers today...

We hear stories of parents who stop half way down the street, their kids having to walk the final 30m of shame to their other parent's house... because these two adults couldn't face each other. The stony-faced, rushed and humiliating handovers in service stations or grandparents being meditators? Divorcees, we need to shape up! Are these not the sort of 'handovers' that make us recoil, feeling the shame and guilt inside that we couldn't try a little harder to be kinder to our Ex for our kid's sakes?  

What I know is this, working together as divorced parents is so worth the looks of love and unbridled excitement clearly visible on kid's faces as soon as they see their Dad or Mum. What a gift out of all the pain to know that handover time can be easier, more co-operative and kinder? How good does it feel when handovers are uncomplicated, simple and compassionate? Do you know how this feels?

An easier said than done reality for many couples I hear you shout. Work is needed with drop offs, they are big, impactful moments of emotion around children, and happen regularly. I am not here to judge others mean's and ways of managing their children's drop off', however, what I do feel is that it is the children left shouldering our adult life bags of "stuff" during bad handovers, and really is this what we all really want? 

So I wanted to share 5 ways for happier kids handovers.

#1 GETTING THE PARENTS ORGANISED

One of the biggest stressors for kids is not knowing what is happening and when. Not everyone is an organisational wizard, so for the children's sake try to help your Ex get organised by supporting them with helpful, not condescending suggestions. For happier handovers, give yourself permission to let go of the frustrations you had when you were married. Try to be a little flexible with your thoughts. Perhaps gift your ex - nicely, a kid's visit diary or if you are tech minded - set up an electronic diary or calendar and show them how to use it - be helpful! And use it! Help each other to help future handovers be happier.

#2 GETTING THE KIDS ORGANISED 

Get your kids ready and be on time! Helping your kids as much as possible learn valuable life skills like getting themselves organised. Do whatever is possible to have your kids feel happier that they are going to see their other parent; take favourite toys; snuggle blankets; school uniform; swim gear and have the majority of it packed ready to go. Be on time! Kids worry if they've forgotten stuff, or if they haven't packed yet... help them, encourage them and lovingly support them... oh and did I say... BE ON TIME?

#3 YOU CAN'T ORGANISE YOUR EX 

Aaaahhhh the frustrations and the lack of control... yes! Ex's can be difficult, they have bad days, no sleep nights, they feel ill, they are angry... you can't change this and some days you just have to choose your battles, let it go... Handovers are not about you or your Ex, they are about your kids. Kindness, respect and understanding for your own peace of mind, and for your kids ... and just maybe, it can be as simple as taking a deep breath and letting go of any outcome... letting the inner control freakery take a holiday...

#4 HOWEVER YOU CAN ORGANISE YOURSELF

Begin with you, get yourself in order. Check in with your own stress barometer as to how you are feeling? You'll find the stress somewhere in your body, believe me, your body will be hunching, clenching or aching somewhere.  Find your calm mojo before the handover, meditate, breathe deeply, rediscover your inner cool... don't be tempted to drink coffee, alcohol or ramp up negative energies with a bitching session beforehand with a friend or your mum. Look after and nurture yourself, helps you feel calmer and this can only be good for everyone.

#5 HAPPIER HANDOVERS 

Be smiley, smiling helps us feel better! Not the comedic, grit your teeth, frozen face smiles but genuine, warm and soft smiles. Truly wish your gorgeous children a wonderful weekend with their Dad or Mum, gift them your smile so they can relax knowing that it will be okay. Take a moment to ask yourself, how you felt after a smiley goodbye?  Was your gorgeous aching heart beating a little easier? Is your life not worth more of this gentle, kind and compassionate stuff? Is being a BIGGER person with your Ex in front of your kids really that hard?

Life is too short to have us all sad over weekends with our behaviour at handover, the school and working week too stressful to be loaded with anger and pain in families - divorced or otherwise.

Easing up on ourselves and letting go of 'fight club' at handover is a whole load better, gentler and happier for everyone. And our children's lives can only benefit from it...

Natasha x

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