Friday, 28 July 2017

How We Feel When Our Kids Go On Holiday With Our Ex...

So today I am feeling a little funny... it is indeed that time of the year when the longer holidays happen.  It is the time when those house monkeys, little people, or whatever you choose to call your children/teenagers, pack their suitcases and go on holiday with your Ex. 

So this year I was mindfully aware of those persistent wobbling shout outs of “they're leaving, they're leaving and soon” tapping at my grey matter. I took deep breaths and continued packing wet suits, hiking boots and other such requisites for a seaside holiday in the UK, getting everything ready to be packed in my Ex's car. 

So here is the BIG thing, for most of the time, these gorgeous little people of ours are intrinsically part of our everyday life. We know holidays are going to happen, and even in the most chilled of estranged households with farewells full of care, love and adieus in song, once you close that door to your home the house still becomes oh so quiet... and I have a Bjork song going off in my head at this juncture and feel for a few minutes afterwards like I might explode with sadness.

I know I have not met any divorcee as yet who whoops it up as soon as their kids have left.  It is like the life tracks switch with an almighty ALL CHANGE, and our human emotions never fail to present themselves in their raw soft 'belliedness' as a sense of loss abeit temporarily. 

I find the first day the house monkeys leave properly hard.  I mooch about really very mindlessly, I may make a cup or several of tea then let them go cold. I casually flick through my social media which can be a soul destroying thing to do anyway during the summer holidays, let alone if you are a single parent, with eyes glued to the wall of family togetherness on holidays.  

And this is OK - of course it is, but just on this particular day of loved ones departure the LONELY WHAMMY hits. This year my Ex is taking the house monkeys to good friends - you know the old ones who you are both still in contact with, but this time it is with his lovely partner.  I feel sad and yet happy for them all - well why would you not? Oh and just a little bit sorry for myself.  

So next I fire up the laptop and go straight to a last min holiday website and where, just for a few minutes – actually it’s probably more like an hour, I transport myself off on a fanciful trip to Rome or a Greek island or somewhere where I can lie on the beach for the next couple of weeks that they are away.  Except… this isn’t going to happen, not this year - why because that really would be a huge, even unbearable avoidance tactic... why so? 

Because… I am committed to writing a book, based on this, my blog with all sorts of divorce experiences, a big dose of helpful stuff and a whole load of helpful and supportive gorgeousness.  I’ve also taken step off my comfort zone cliff and signed up for a course with Shaa Wasmund of Stop Talking Start Doing book fame.  So there is no way on earth am I going to be able to, just yet anyway, take myself off to a hot sizzling beach and idly zizz around with a cheeky gin and tonic on the side.

So how do we all get through the day THEY go away?  Are we our children's dependants? Yes for me it does feel very much like it especially during times like this summer holiday thing. What I do is this, I always set myself a task and a half to keep me out of mischief… either a course to finish, a book to write or a house move – get me with the pressure thing! This year my task is to kick my book writing into touch.  

So for the rest of this first day, after the virtual mini break on said laptop, I go into being kind to myself mode. I do a little deep breathing to help calm my thoughts or combine both on a walk up into the woods near to where I live.  I perch on my fav tree stump and I breathe and I gather up the wilder, more unhelpful and busier thoughts and pop them off on their way off into the skies. I take in everything around me and think of all the wonderful things I am grateful for – this can be a long list on a day like today… I love being in nature because it works - it truly flippin' works when you need to destress – it’s magic what happens to me after time in amongst the natural green stuff.  

My house is STILL deafeningly quiet, so I may say a casual “hi” to my inner teenager. I ignore the vast array of teenage playlists on Spotify and I put some of my own shake ass crazy tunes on Spotify and I rock it out for a full 30 minutes. Exhausting and exhilarating myself all at the same time and hearing the music I love!  I smile - how can I not when my body is all tingly from dancing, with amazing energy moving and whooshing through me, reminding me I am alive and happy!  

It is easy to hunker down and want to be a little small after our kids have left for their hols. We can either take the opportunity to have a pickety unkind pick introspectively, mess with our own heads and have a cuppa with the fear monkeys, or we can be kind and compassionate to ourselves. So we can re-tune into the different energy in our homes when it is just us, ourselves there and be with the quiet. Accepting and embracing the peacefulness of listening to the background noise of our home as it moves, the birds outside or to just being with our thoughts, kindly.

This year I have also bought a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo which I am curling up with tonight... I look forward to having a sneaky clear out of my house monkey's enclosures and well, this just helps me feel a little nearer to them...  

Wishing you all wonderful holidays.  
Love Natasha

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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