Bittersweet Endings & New Beginnings

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From this in 2000

This time of year is always a great time to reflect on endings and beginnings…I love that pause between the 2 years…..hopefully with a holiday, so there is time for rest, recharging, recovering, reflection & fingers crossed, relaxation, before a New Year fully begins!

This year, though, is a HUGE transition for me, as my 18-year-old son, my eldest, prepares to leave home to study at University!

I guess it’s not surprising that if I found the transition to becoming a Mum hard and an emotional rollercoaster…then maybe the transition to being a Mum of a nearly independent adult, leaving home, will also be a roller coaster too?

They say the more you do your mindfulness practice the more intensely you feel emotions (I can attest to that!) but the more quickly they pass through you (here’s hoping!)

I am surprised at the depth of my emotions….as yet hardly untapped….I’m sure that will come when there is more time to reflect!   I remember reading that every change, every transition, even the joyful ones, can bring some grief…some sadness too.

My friend, Kerrin, used to use the word ‘bittersweet’ to describe those parenting moments when your child makes a leap of development or independence… and you experience a rush of pride and joy and a little sadness that they are growing up too!

I’m sure for each of us parents those moments are different! I felt it when I gave away the cot, the pram, the backpack (but not the highchairs or car seats!!), the first day of primary school, the first day of high school, getting the drivers licence, last day of high school and now here we are, facing leaving home and starting at Uni – WOW!How did that happen?

Such a weird time distortion….all those days as a Mum of a young baby when time ticked very slowly…and each day felt the same…..and now here I am, 18 years later, wondering where that time went? It seems to have gone in the blink of an eye! Did I enjoy and appreciate that time enough? Have I passed on enough teachings, enough values, enough love?

I remember as I held George as a baby, while camping and not coping at all with the sleep deprivation, a woman in her late 50’s came up to me with tears in her eyes and said those are the best years of your life!‘  I wanted to throttle her and cry at the same time!!

Yet I am forever grateful at that reminder to be present to what is here….as very quickly it will change!

Now I find myself looking at Mums with toddlers, and I have rose coloured glasses on thinking aaaaaaahhhhh forgetting that, here too, right now,  are my just as precious years with teenagers and an almost independent adult…  This time too needs to be appreciated, I need to be present…..and soak up this time before it too, quickly goes!

So the next question is how to mark this transition for my son and for me…what rituals and rites of passage can I do to make the transition easier? How can I celebrate such a moment and also allow myself to grieve a little at this new transition? I look forward to pondering that over the Christmas & New Year break!

I wish you and your family a relaxing, recharging and restful break and I hope you get a chance to reflect on any transitions coming up for you, whether it is a child starting or finishing school, whether it is a new job or returning to work?  I’d love to hear your ideas of how you are going to mark that transition and celebrate and grieve any new changes/rites of passage coming your way!  And I’m wondering how you can stay present within those changes and appreciate what is there, no matter what the emotion?  Therein lies the challenge!

The best years of your life are now!?

Best wishes for a mindful start to 2018  x Sara 🙂

Georges last day of school 2017

To this in 2017….

Get Ready for the Holidays…

Get Ready for the Holidays with a Stress Reducing Morning Routine

Guest Blog by  Daniel Sherwin at DadSolo.com

Everyone knows that the holidays can be stressful. However, there are ways to prepare for the season that will help you to enjoy it more. One way to do the holidays right is to create a morning routine that helps get you out the door with as little chaos as possible. Here’s how:

Solo Dad Pic

Image Source: DadSolo.com

Additional Holiday Morning Routine Resources:

  1. Prep the night before and other tips on how to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works
  2. Easy and effective home organization tips
  3. De-stress your morning routine tips
  4. Breakfast to go and other secrets to getting the kids to school on time
  5. Get plenty of sleep and other tips on how to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works
  6. Play music (Revolutionary morning routine hack for kids)

Now that you have a plan for your mornings, you can be ready for whatever the day has for you. You can enjoy the upcoming holidays knowing that you and the kids are good to go.

Understanding meltdowns and how we can calm ourselves & our kids down…

 

For me understanding how our brain processes emotions, the triggers for the fight, flight or freeze responses in myself and in my kids has transformed my life!  I have also seen it transform many parents lives in coaching or in workshops as they understand that their child’s emotional brain is still developing and the ability to put the ‘brakes’ on is not yet mature.

Once we understand how the brain works – (in video above with this model of the Brain In the Hand by Dan Siegel) then we can begin to understand our own emotions and understand our child’s emotions.  What is the first sign for you that you are getting annoyed / irritated?  What is the first sign in your child?  What about for nervousness and excitement?  The Emotional Thermometer (in video below) is one of the best tools for developing awareness and understanding of emotions – a very important part of emotional intelligence.

Once we have this understanding and our kids have this understanding then we can begin to learn some mindful calming strategies – from simple 10 second activities to longer 5-10 minute activities suitable for young and old!

If you would like to learn more on the emotions and on calming strategies check out the NEW Understanding Emotions Online Course with short videos that you can access in your own time at your own pace and begin learning the skills needed to teach yourself and your children how to regulate emotions.

Which tool would be helpful in your house – the Flipping The Lid Brain in the hand model or the Emotional Thermometer?

The need to re-treat ourselves…

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One thing I am always amazed by is that when I go on holidays I become suddenly so much more aware of just how stressed I am – my body tense, my mind on hyper-alert, my heart all armoured up.  And it is only as the holiday progresses that time slows down, my body unwinds, my thinking slows and becomes more in the present moment and my heart becomes open with love and softness to what is happening here and now.

I was fortunate enough to have 10 days on Rottnest Island, WA this January, camping, riding, snorkelling, creating and reading with my family….no power, no cars, no outside world intrusions….and it really felt like a retreat.

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At the start I was worried about would we have enough to do??  By the end, of the 10 days, I didn’t want the holiday to finish and we still had so much to gently explore!!  Funny how fast paced our world can be that we can’t imagine slowing life down so much that all we need to think about is what to eat and which beach to visit and that fills the day beautifully!

This got me thinking about the idea that a retreat is really an opportunity to re-treat ourselves.   It is so much easier to be mindful on a retreat….to really be aware of our thinking, our stress levels and what we really need.  On a retreat it is easier to listen to our intuition, to feel deep gratitude and to feel at one with the world….although it can take a little while to settle our thinking, worrying, planning minds and process all that we have stored up in our bodies since the last retreat!

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So my intention this year is to attend 3 whole day retreats, to book in for a week long retreat and to plan some more holiday retreats for my family…knowing just how important it is.  Now is the time to book them in before the year gets too busy or I forget just how important they are to me.

So what are you going to do to re-treat yourself this year?  What can you book in?