Monday, 18 December 2017

Thoughts on a More Mindful Christmas...

Divorce or no divorce this Christmas stuff can be challenging. Without wanting to feel too humbuggish this year... it feels to me from chats with family, friends and clients that everyone seems to be a little 'over' the build up.

We are all tired of the excess, the stress and pressure that comes with this celebratory time of year.... so here are my thoughts and top tips for a more mindful Christmas...

So lovely people it is one meal
... notice the stress in those dear shoulders, tummies or in your temples that is happening in the buildup to Christmas. Do we not all feel that we are over the big Christmas show? Is there a more productive way we could be celebrating Christmas - offering to volunteer, help others, help save our dear planet Earth from more and more plastic, sparkly wrapping paper and the glitter that is clogging our sea creatures?  Do we need to feel the credit card pressure during the duller months at the beginning of the year? Do we not have enough of so much?

I read somewhere a wonderful post on buying presents... so basically you buy 3 presents for your children:
  • One to play with
  • One that is useful
  • One to wear
And if you are struggling with the 3, you can grant yourself permission to buy a 4th - a book to give them on Christmas Eve...

How wonderful is this idea... I have tried it out this year and my two teenagers are literally so excited by the Magic 4 - and because books are important they have the 4 :)

And finally to end my thoughts on Christmas this year... please knock on a neighbour's door, invite them in for a drink and get to know them, especially if they are elderly... loneliness is so tough, I have been at times in my life so lonely I felt I had all but disappeared... please let us all remember that everyone is worthy of being remembered...

Ohhhh and it is just one meal...... XX

My Top 8 Tips for a Happier & Mindful Christmas

  • Go for a walk - get yourself or everyone into the fresh air, be in nature and feel the stress lessen. Even better, offer to be chief dog walker...
  • Be kind to yourself - have a nice bath, a nap or treat yourself WITHOUT feeling guilty, to your favourite food or hot drink, read something light-hearted, listen to music you haven't listened to for ages.
  • Preparing food for Christmas – indulge your senses as you become aware of the rich flavours, smells, textures and sights of the feasts in store. Sensory winter wonderland...
  • Wrapping presents – use if you can, wrapping time as a meditation. Being aware of the feel of the paper, texture, sound of the cutting, sticking, the smell or feel of presents. This I appreciate can be tricky... Wrapping for me is usually beyond 10pm on Christmas Eve with a glass of red on the side...
  • Listening to family and friends - notice when you aren’t listening. Instead, you may be thinking of something else to say. Notice any tendency to jump in or add to the conversation. Gently come back to actually listening. Check in with how much you love to be listened to if this helps.
  • Standing in queues - a big one for many... Ask yourself, what is going through my mind, what sensations are there in my body and what emotions and impulses am I aware of? Take a deep breath then consciously push your feet into the floor and notice how strong your frustrations are... and take a moment to notice how stressed others may be feeling around you... had they only known this tip!
  • 3 min breathing space...  3 Step Breathing Space
  • 10 Finger Gratitude exercise - if everything is feeling too much, try thinking of 10 things to be grateful for. There is a lot we are able to be grateful for and if a few relatives for a couple of days is too much, there are many who have no one and very little else...                
Have an amazing Christmas. If you can try to remember this... whatever is going on for you is what is happening now and life never stays the same. It moves on, it does change and it is trusting that you are all worthy of the good in life...

With love Xx

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Managing a Co-Parenting Christmas After Divorce

Photo by on Unsplash
I have been having a big think about Christmas, what it means during or after a divorce and how best we can weather the emotional storms this time of year can bring. Aching hearts, angry emotions and more often than not children in the mix - it is a fine time for so much to go right or wrong.

So this year I wanted to share something with you.  

It would seem this year the co-parenting that my Ex and I have both worked so hard at, has reaped its karmic kindness, call it an understanding Christmas bonus with abundant goodwill. For real!

Here is the deal, I was due to go to my Sister's for a big family Christmas. My children love seeing their cousins and it was a rare opportunity for a family Christmas. It was also my Ex's Christmas with the teens and he generously agreed after a respectful, diplomatic and set it all out in a reasonable way - ie no dictating to, threatening or emotional blackmail behaviour that is, for me to have our teens this year. 

It was all planned, everyone content, accepting and happy. Then the call came from my sister about ongoing, laborious and slow building work at her house and thus our family Christmas was to be cancelled. Noooooooo - the decision, the disappointment and the reshuffling, rescheduling and best laid plans all came tumbling down... 

And this is life, and as is so often the way, fast side balls come out of nowhere, they do their damnedest to wobble, mess with our heads and hearts. It is then that we need to remember to try to step back from our emotions, the jumbles of thoughts and scenarios crowding our frazzled minds and to breathe. To accept that these things happen, plans change and how our mind monkeys can grab this opportunity and run with the 'disaster' scenario running through our minds, if we let them. 

So I am thinking that maybe, this plan was not what was meant to happen this year... disappointing yes! A desperately failed Christmas - no...

So I phoned my Ex, explained the situation and asked him if he could spend Christmas with our teens. He was delighted, confirming his work - literally in the last couple of days has taken him away somewhere hot and would I be okay if he flew the teens out with his partner for a couple of weeks on a warm lovely holiday? 
Photo by Chris Brignola on Unsplash

Amazing! The joy of how life rolls! We will Skype on Christmas Day, I will spend Christmas with friends and our teens will be loving some warm sea and fun beach time with their dad. Not one person in this scenario is making any demands emotionally on our children during this time. Divorce time and Christmas is heavy, this we know. 

Call it serendipity, flow or whatever. The more we notice and let go, the simpler life becomes. With kindness, understanding and being mindful of each other, the more we relax, and the more we all relax the easier everything becomes. The Law of Attraction, positive attracts positive - whatever sits well with you is what seems to fill the uncertain life spaces when we let go. 

Christmas is about our children, and we as parents need to be bigger, to let go of and stop shaking our control freakery maracas every now and then, and to trust that the right thing will happen. We feel better if we are all kinder and more understanding. To be able to work together without rigid boundaries and let life flow when...  we get out of our own way...
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Try to be open to any changes that happen, understand there just may be a reason why things don't always go the way we want them to. Celebrate and embrace the life changes, the adjustments or reworkings.  Life is too short for us to see the unexpected as always being negative...

Wishing you all a fantastically karmic, kind and gentle Christmas...

Natasha x

Saturday, 9 December 2017

How kind are we to our bodies after separation or divorce?

So here is a question for all you wonderful people facing divorce or who are going through separation...

If I asked you to name all the things that you love, care for and hold dear at this time of your life, just how long would it take for you to name yourself... this amazing, unique and extraordinary person that is you....?
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Now there are times in our lives where we definitely don't feel so 'extraordinary'. So just maybe this kind of talk about being 'special' is going to properly wake up the mind monkeys of unworthiness and have them shrieking with disbelief and lots of wtfs with a question such as this.

Our monkey minds start ruminating over the 'if I was worthy, lovable and the rest of the aforementioned malarkey I would not be sitting here reading these words feeling like a washed up battered little boat of sadness'... and it then we are more likely to turn in on ourselves, and we examine, we criticise and speak to ourselves shamefully. 

Divorce is a full on kick up the ass, knock the wind out of your life sails life event. It is up there in the big four - death, divorce, cancer and redundancy for stress.  And believe me, it is never more so than right now, when fully faced with this present moment life fast ball that a little kindness to yourself is what you are most in need of. 

I lived so much in my head in the beginning of my divorce journey, with my life, as a single mum, working and divorce discussions and paperwork. My control freakery monkeys endlessly partying, despite the high exhaustion levels and I totally forgot about my body. I was content to let my body happily tuck into not very much, powered by cortisol and not surprisingly, occasionally a little wine. If you think hangovers and marriage are not great, hangovers and divorce are an utterly miserable day out. 

The times when I bravely looked in the mirror at my newly single body and face, I pondered whether this living vessel of my life would appeal to anyone ever again. As I began to scrutinise, with varying degrees of unkindness and judgement this body of mine, that had borne two healthy, beautiful and kind-hearted children, I was suddenly ashamed. I felt the pain of the self-flagellation stick dealing out some real mean judgement. I consciously made a decision to reclaim my innate feminine stubborn side with a little chat to myself that basically went like this...  "girl you have to change this talk". 

I had this realisation that if I was ever going to have any life of love, happiness and physical joy again, I would need to begin looking after, nurturing and cherishing this pretty bloody amazing body of mine, that had never failed me.   

So I consciously chose to begin rebuilding my mind, body and spirit.  All of which, during a relationship breakdown, separation or divorce generally waves the big depletion flag of help me.  What I realised was this, I could never be the same person facing love, sex and a relationship as I was when I was married. It was like I had to unlearn and then relearn everything all over again - with a body that was different, older and changed from life experiences. 

Divorce was this part of my life journey that became the best life lesson in self-discovery, more than I could have imagined.

So I chose to celebrate, embrace and honour my life journey, with all its late wild nights when I was younger, lonely early mornings feeding my babies and an expanded body in all its glorious procreative splendour. I also chose to celebrate my now single body together with its now colder extremities feeling the vulnerability in a king size bed on my own. I decided that to berate, show disdain and hold anger about my body for what was going on in my life by punishing it with lack or excess suddenly seemed so unreasonable.  

And what dawned on me was this, my body and this face of mine was here to stay. Chasing after some aesthetic of perfection to give me confidence to jump into bed with someone and feel fabulous was pure mentalness... I decided to own every single flaw. My self-belief, positive thinking and loving energy that I was now mentally imbuing into my cells, my muscles and organs was going to bring into my life the right person who would love me as I was.   
Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

So if this is feeling like hard work, that is because it is. As women and increasingly as men we live in a society that demands, sometimes subversively that we question ourselves and our worth. The self-belief and worth monkeys walking the streets begging to be taken away. To change the way you view yourself is about beginning again. This is the part I was truly grateful for out of my marriage breakdown, I got the chance to love and properly sign up for myself with all the damage, baggage and experiences that comes with life. 

How amazing to have the chance to connect again with your body, to take control of how you nourish yourself, how you talk to yourself and how you choose to see your incredible body. That, no matter what you look like at any given hour on any given day, it still breathes for you, it still allows you the sensory pleasures of life, it carries and forgives you, it mends and heals you... 

 Every night, before I sleep, I thank my body for the work it has done for me. Every morning I wake and check in with how it is feeling, it is a time for me to notice any ageing aches, soreness or tightness. Whether I have woken with tight shoulders, or if my neck is sore, I make a mental note to work my day around being kind to my body. I stretch, I take several deep breaths and I begin my day... I drink warm lemon water first, asking it to cleanse my system. I try to juice as much as I can, sometimes I am just not that organised and I now notice when I haven't fed my body well or drunk enough water. 

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash
I stretch my muscles everyday, working on the basis that long muscles, leads to a longer life. Our pets stretch after every period of sitting or lying down, it is instinctual and what I noticed is, how fearful are we of having a good public stretch. It feels too self-indulgent, and this is the point, a kind and mindful divorce happens when we work on ourselves rather than looking elsewhere. It is about honestly working on ourselves and being vulnerable, fearful and learning. 

Our bodies tell us everything. When life is a shit storm of full on distress we mostly have not the head space to listen. A little check in with yourself in the morning, without judgement, and a morning dose of self-compassion, I now know sets me up for the day. Happier, more able to deal with divorce or business paperwork, managing bills, balancing my emotions and my children's, exploring my new world and being kind to my Ex. 

What I know now is this, I cannot help, love and support anyone else authentically, truly and deeply if I am not kind and content to live within myself.

With love


This blog is dedicated to the good work of Taryn Brumfitt. If you have the opportunity please watch Embrace a documentary made by this inspiration lady. Click this link to follow the movement of embracing and loving our bodies :) 

Then.... I would love it if you can follow me on Instagram and join my private FB Group How to be a Divorce Goddess for support, kindness and strong women.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Choosing Your Divorce Battles and Mindfully Letting Go!

Heads up on the liberal use of a powerful word...

So yesterday I had a perfect parcel of "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson arrive in my post box. And as I do, and sometimes do not give a f*ck, I dived head on in to see how good this attitude really is. How much does or does not giving a f*uck affect us?  

I wondered about the energy - be it positive or negative that fuels this powerful word, that makes us either laugh or cry, feel beautiful or ugly, small or powerful. This word gets used a lot before, during and after a divorce or breakup. It has the power to fully start argument and to end them, it is the difference to the level of heat in a disagreement or agreement. It is used liberally and the thought of using it in our lives to 'let go' rather than 'hold on' amused me.

Divorce as we know, has been, for way too many years a place where emotions, wills and narcissistic behaviours properly hand out together. It is a place in peoples lives where both men and women regularly bringing their tired asses back for a really unkind bun fight.  The sort of unpleasantness that leaves humans really depleted, exhausted and nerves raw with the kind of Ren and Stimpy cartoon character bloodshot eyes-out-on-springs effect. 
Are you not all done with fighting before agreeing to divorce? Is it at all possible that now the divorce decision has been made, that we need to give so much of a f*ck? Is now not the time to begin putting everything back in to some kind of semblance of kindness and workable order? So you can both separately, and with your kids, continue on with your lives with fewer battle scars mentally, emotionally and sadly sometimes physically?  

Why does having a divorce supercharge the dynamos of anger, hatred and fierce fighting in lovely people once the hardest decision has been made?  Surely the divorce flag stuck on the top of an Marital Emo peak has to be the ultimate in demonstrating the 'un-workability' of a relationship. So why is it that divorcees choose to climb it again and again with court filled battles, each time a little more weary, financially poorer and dragging the kids along for the epic journey of distress too?

Choosing some of the 'battles' that present themselves whilst going through divorce is surely an opportunity to subtly not give a f*ck about what you had to either go through or live with in your married life.

So how can we make calmer choices and pick our fights with our Ex's more wisely?  Think back to a bad patch - you know the one which would have left you feeling emotionally bruised and depleted of all positive energy, busily running around like an avoidance crazed person trying to forget the fight that just happened... And ask yourself this... Was what just happened all worth it? 

Could a simple email have asked the question rather than a raging phone call or turn up at the front door and be the Netflix special of the night? Being more aware of how our actions make our bodies feel after an fight with our ex can help us also to take that magic mindful step back and not enter into the fragile divorce war torn zone...

Try this: 
  • Do something different like become aware of how you feel after an argument, notice how good do you feel when you properly choose to make a decision not to go in guns blazing? 
  • Perhaps take a step back, be the bigger person and not react or fire off?
  • You may not have 'won' because you didn't react, but know that in some way you did win, you held your counsel and you did something different.
  • Notice if this feels better. Is there a sense of relief? Is this a step closer to you making a better, more conscious and calmer decision next time? By not giving negative energy to a situation, did it lose some of its fire?
Picking our battles is difficult when we are emotionally raw. Learning acceptance is about noticing how letting go of the times that really, really don't matter in the grand scheme of divorce, is better than holding on to the poison of anger, fight energy and disappointment. It doesn't make what happened right. But it could just be about the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck...

Have a great rest of the week, go with awareness and kindness into whatever you chose to do...

Natasha x

Thursday, 5 October 2017

How Divorce Can Spectacularly Screw Your Kids Up With BBCs Dr Foster

So with a week to go, I have been running through my book pitch with various friends. One was prompted to ask me if I had seen the latest episode of a BBC TV series running at the mo called Dr Foster.  I replied I hadn't, for reasons such as time and other activities.  She said "Watch this episode".

So this morning I took time to watch a disturbing, deeply saddening car crash of 57 mins of TV.  It was indeed a shocking demonstration... how parents can spectacularly screw up their child/children during a divorce.  Simply in this particular divorce, as can happen in others, the fight had really become all about the parents. We parents try very hard, when we are going through tough life events, to avoid opening up our life bags. You know the ones we hide inside of us, the ones most likely to be stuffed full of raw emotions, deepest fears and experiences or may be not... Then one day, when we are in hurtsville proper, the residue of the most painful of human emotions then seeks to find its way out in other ways. It no longer gently knocks on our conscious mind's door, but instead spills out into our lives and creates proper life carnage along the way for all involved. 

Photo by Annie Spratt 

Divorce is a separation, and really, if you have children this means that until the two of you have sorted your stuff out, it is no longer about you. We all know those ageing parents who still continue to harbour anger, bitterness and unpleasantness towards their Ex, my god, all those years holding all that toxicity inside... 

So what can we do?  We can get healthier emotionally, mentally and physically. We can be kind to ourselves first so we are able to extend kindness to our Ex's, and begin as grown ups, to build a firmer, albeit different foundation for our children. They are managing what is happening as they see it, do we really think they can handle dealing with the back log of everything that we parents have been carrying around for years too?  
Photo by Caleb Woods

Holding onto pain, shame, guilt and anger is our emotional appendix of our life.  When it bursts it is dangerous, it damages our health, our bodies and our emotional well-being. The fall out is our children carrying a whole load more than they need to.

Here are my thoughts on not screwing up your children in divorce:

Photo by Carolina Sanchez B
Communicate Away From Your Children: Until you are in a better place to show your children you are indeed two human beings who can be kind to each other know this. 

Your children are not equipped to deal with the level of emotions flying around between you, and really do you as a loving parent want them to? Find a place - go for a walk, preferably up a big hill to take some energy out of your conversation to start with. Have someone be with your children so you can talk elsewhere.  Go to meditation if you can afford it - we dug deep, borrowed and found the money to go to meditation. Wherever you go to talk, go with a positive intention to listen, talk kindly, gently and chunk it down so the topics are manageable. 

Children Have Spot on Radars - do not underestimate the obvious negative energy mass swirling between two people that your children pick up on.  They know before you do that there is trouble brewing. They know how you are feeling before you've even seen your Ex for a meeting.  Be mindful of how you are feeling in front of them before a drop off or pick up.  Take deep breaths, check in with yourself, if you need to try this mini-meditationAs parents we are in the thick of our thoughts and we do not always see clearly, but children do, they know.  They have a mighty fine 6th sense. 

Sit on Those Emails - so back in the day my grandmother used to say simply "Sleep on it".  If you have big emails, communications to have, write the email or text, put it into draft and sleep on it, sit on it for an hour, distance yourself from the emotion of it for a while. AND do not be thinking that drinking wine is going to make you a divorce wordsmith - because it just isn't - is it?  Entering into a communication battle is not going to help the situation, and ultimately is going to impact on your children's, yours and your Ex's mental health.

No Talking About Your Ex - no matter how mind exploding, anger inducing and frustrating our Ex's can be, just try not to talk about them in front of your children. I grew up in a household where this happened. It was just a whole load of stuff that I didn't want to know about, carry or hear. I am pretty sure that children in this day and age are still feeling the same. If you really feel the need to vent about your Ex - and why add more negative energy to the divorce pot? Then go do it - a good shout out at the top of a hill worked for me, go for a walk and chunter away to your heart's content, try if you can not to spread it about, it makes people feel bad.  

Even better pay to speak to a good counsellor, coach or me about your Ex, just not to your gorgeous children. If they are your Ex's children, they are half of him or her - does that make them all those things you hate about your Ex? Here's a thought
Photo by Gianandrea Villa on Unsplash
- is there any wonder we have a society lacking in self-worth and compassion, just hating the bits of ourselves that were attributed by one of our parents to the other. 

So back to Dr Foster. I had to go out for a walk, put my face in the sunshine and properly hold back tears of utter sadness of this episode.  What this has given me is more confidence that my book about changing the way we look after our own well being through a divorce, cannot come soon enough.  

Be the light for your children

Natasha Xx

I AM SO EXCITED!!!!  I have LITERALLY just created a private FB Group How to be a Divorce GoddessIf you want to be part of a positive, supportive and new divorce community, it would be lovely if you can join us.

My mission is to change the way society looks at divorce by creating a community of 'empowered, good and kind' divorce trail blazers, the showers, the way seers and goddesses and to do divorce differently! This is where I will be spending time during the week to answer any questions, share with you thoughts and tips to help you along your journey, post my FB lives and have some fun - laughter is the best medicine! 

My wish for this group is to support each other, share experiences of the breakthroughs, tips to help keep your emotional, physical and mental well-being in a good place through your divorce and meet like minded lovely people all going through big stuff.

Join me here: How to be a Divorce Goddess Community

Instagram: Tosh Brittan
Twitter: Tosh Brittan

Friday, 28 July 2017

How We Feel When Our Kids 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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