Category Archives: Love

The Sweet Spot

I have slowed down a great deal recently and while there is still a mountain to move before this little parcel my body is carrying comes into the world, I have had time and cause to pause.

This growing baby and I have reached a sweet spot where she will not be ignored. Instead of being acutely aware of the pain in my pelvic girdle, the brace supporting my thumb, the needles of insulin and finger pricks, these all fade into the background. These niggles are white noise in the presence of her movement.

I feel her rise up against my skin and stay there as I rub and massage and commune with her being. I see her stretching and feel the pressure of her as my body gives way as much as it can to accommodate her lengthening. I feel the sudden shock of her strength as she kicks her little legs and I wonder how she can be so strong.

This is the sweet spot of pregnancy, the space we dwell together, the beginning of our getting to know one another. It is the place of our first interactions, where love existed but now blooms in full as if provided more nourishment than required. It is the space that draws in my husband to watch in awe and place his loving face with it’s prickly beard against my smooth skin to try and join us. It is the space he comes the closest, while she is in the confines of my body, to nourishing the flames of his love for her.

This incredibly special time has made all of the pot holes in this journey worthwhile. My dear sweet little one, we are already so smitten that when you are here you might just find a pair of melty heart puddles where your parents once stood. We love you dearly and you are already such a firecracker that we can’t wait to meet you, well maybe we can wait just enough to enjoy a few more weeks in this, the sweet spot <3

“I usually claim that pregnant women should not read books about pregnancy and birth.  Their time is too precious.  They should, rather, watch the moon and sing to their baby in the womb.”  ~Michel Odent

As The Seasons Change

As I sit here and hold your pale hand, weakened from the years, I am too aware how paper thin your skin is

I try to amuse you with stories and questions, a ramble of triviality and I see a glaze come over your eyes

You are looking at him, at your wedding photo and I know that in your heart you are there

The love that you shared is still wholesome and fresh, you’d give anything for him to be here

For him to see how your family has grown, grandchildren succeeding in a variety of things and oh! all the great-grandies!

You just know he’d be proud and you’ve felt blessed to have witnessed, but now you keenly feel his absence

You are nearing your time, it can be seen in your eyes by any who choose to look closely

The discomfort and frailty have seen pride and dignity start to slip out the door, it’s not what you signed up for

As I sit quietly by you a new life moves inside and I almost embarrass us both with my tears

I watch as you prepare to join the love of your life while a new force awakens, readying themselves to begin

And this is the blunt force of the circle of life, I am powerless in the face of it

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”  ~Kahlil Gibran

My beautiful nan passed away tonight, two days after I wrote this. May she rest in peace with her soul mate, my dearly missed papa <3

Freedom to Love

I was talking with a beautiful friend of mine the other day. He was telling me that for the first time in his life he has met someone that he is completely comfortable holding hands with in public. He said that was weird, not because he doesn’t like holding hands with his love but because he ALWAYS worries what other people nearby will say or do in response to seeing them.

HOLD THE PHONE. I have held hands in public with EVERY romantic interest I have had since I was 12 and not spared a second thought. That there is hetero-privilege, we don’t think about it because our partner just so happens to be “socially well accepted” solely due to the fact that they are of the opposite gender. Maybe we haven’t done more to change this for our friends and loved ones because it doesn’t affect us directly, we haven’t suffered cultural abuses because of our choices in matters of the heart. We haven’t extended ourselves to imagine what it would be like to be unable to marry the love of your life, because we can or already have. How often do we stop and think about the fact that this is outright discrimination with (as in all cases of discrimination) no damn good rationale beyond someone somewhere feels uncomfortable. I was floored that this is the experience of my dear friend. As much as I was over-joyed to hear his good news, I was saddened to hear that unforgiving heterosexual-centric culture had censored his comfortable and free expression of love at any point in time. But of course it has, I’m a naive white married woman and I just didn’t see it.

One of the ways that I think Australia can becomes more culturally accepting of folks who love  people from the same or other genders is through marriage equality. Marriage equality will legitimise LOVE ITSELF. Then we won’t have people in our society worried about the consequences of the mildest forms of PDAs (public displays of affection) and they can get on with the business of being a solid, reliable and loving partner and all around good human being. We will all legitimately have a choice about marriage. Then we can all get on with more important work like deconstructing racism and white privilege.

<Sweary addendum deleted>

Pure and simple this is ALL about EQUALITY.

“It’s a no brainer, if you’re not for gay marriage don’t marry a gay person!” ~ Whoopi Goldberg

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.” ~ John Lennon

 

The Promises We Keep

Today I finally hung up a canvas of a picture from our wedding. On this canvas are our wedding vows. It is beautiful and they are fun, heartfelt and completely free of burden and obligation.

I promise

I promise to dance with you in the kitchen and always appreciate your jokes
I promise to greet you each day with a smile and a hug
I promise to care for you when you’re sick, sad or disheartened

I promise to hold dear your dreams and help you reach them
I promise to hear you when you speak whether I like the message or not
I promise to work with you as a team through all life’s adventures

I promise to celebrate all of your highest moments
I promise to stand with you through life’s difficult ones
I promise to walk with my hand in yours through the rest

I am filled with joy when I read these over and when I see our canvas with our gorgeous selves so happy and glamorous and these words sharing space with that image I am reminded. I am reminded on the difficult days when demands are high, sleep is difficult and stress pushes every interaction in ways you don’t desire.

Work with it’s demands is an arena which can nurture growth, provide challenges and opportunities to effect change in the world. Work is not home. Carrying the effect of high demands into the home doesn’t help connect with your heart and your inner being.  An absence of sleep isn’t helped by the additional tetchiness that seems to exponentially multiply when left unchecked. Stress is not an intelligent driver of responses to anybody. Stress is a good reactor and it is a useful preparation tool, for a deadline or to present well in a public setting. Stress is a terrible reactor at home and it is quick to rebuff hugs and squash smiles in it’s far too serious and oft times grumpy demeanour.

I remember when I see these promises to take a breath and to offer that hug that I promised. I remember to open my ears and listen like I promised. I remember to slip my hand in his like I promised. These promises that were born out of joy and optimism for a full life of shared adventure bring me back to  what matters most to my heart.

I heard somewhere a long while ago that many couples who married didn’t remember their vows. Since on a wedding day we make promises to someone who we anticipate spending the rest of our lives with remembering your promises is likely really important. Maybe there’d be more happy and successful marriages if we all remembered and kept our promises. Scott-The-Lot and I wrote our promises together and we made the same promises to each other on our wedding day. We have chosen to have them be visible so that we remember and incorporate them into our everyday and our inner being. Heck if we are able to have them, even our children will know the promises we made to each other and they will see us keeping them.

I can’t help but wonder about how connected I am with these promises and about promises that I have made myself. I have set goals and I have set “new years resolutions” and I have tried to build new habits (none of these with much success) but I have never made myself a promise, certainly not with such ceremony and celebration. I suspect that I should. Since these vows bring me so much joy and create a space for me to be truly present with my Scott-The-Lot maybe it’s time for me to create some vows for my relationship with myself. It definitely would do me no harm and perhaps a very great deal of good. I’m going to have a go at writing some personal vows. I’d love to know what you would vow to ensure a harmonious, supportive and loving relationship with the person who will have your back every minute of your life, you.

“Loving you is easy, it is as natural as drawing breath and as beautiful as the breaking dawn” ~ Bel McLean Briggs

A Day Time Winter Wedding

Every wedding I have ever been to is the best wedding I have been to so far! There is something magical about them. An opportunity for a couple to share their love with their family and friends as they make one of the biggest commitments you can make to another human being (besides parenthood). The magic of each wedding and the individual expression and open displays of love live on in the hearts of your guests (well this guest in any case).

When it came time for us to plan our own wedding we had to take serious note of the fact that after such a big day we were going to run out of steam. But there are many more things to consider than just time of day. Date, location, style of food service, music, my anxiety levels if I literally have to wait all day before the show gets on the road, and so on.  We had the same simple ideas and we made all our decisions in a cafe over coffee or while walking in nature. For us it had to be simple and it had to have a glorious view. We also wanted to have our own company by early evening. We came to realise the only way to enjoy our day the way we wanted it would see us marry in the morning and enjoy a sunlit view of one of our favourite places. It would be the first daytime wedding we have attended, ever. And Winter, but it’s going to be okay because it is ALWAYS sunny here in August.

We wanted the focus of our day to be on the love that we share and our commitment to each other. Our preparations had to be as stress free as humanly possible because they were preparations for a single day, a fun celebration filled day that would be a beginning of something much greater. Scott and I would face the world together without the traditional accompaniment of a bridal party. We happened upon the most loving, warm hearted, kind and joyous celebrant we could have hoped to find. Emma made absolutely every detail of our ceremony glow with “us-ness” and she made the process so easy it was astounding. In lieu of a bridal party we asked our nearest and dearest to help with important aspects of the day itself. From invitations, decorations, flowers, hair, make-up, MC, music and the cake, every contribution was from a known place of love.  Every single person in attendance would be a loved one and a guest. It was important for our comfort and full engagement in the day that we knew each person we came into contact with personally. The preparations were shared which meant I was pretty chilled and  I got to immerse myself in the moments with each person, especially my mum and shopping for the perfect dress. It all worked out beautifully and was truly special.

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I woke after a fitful nights sleep and rose to see the sun begin to colour the underside of a wall of black clouds. I was high up on the observation deck of the hotel that was our venue. Pacing in bare feet, water soaking into the hem of my pajama pants, my hair whipped by the wind, my fatigue being blasted from my body. This was going to be a great day. I pictured Scott being greeted with breakfast by his dear ones, them giving him the card and bottle of scotch I had organised and wondering how he was holding up. A friend joined me on the deck and after a hug drew me into the day. Loved ones would soon be joining us and they were on a schedule to get hair and makeup underway.

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There was not a single moment of pause. No room for me to worry or fret. I was surrounded by an army of love set on having me ready. I moved from one person to another being lovingly prepped (and sometimes chided for fidgeting in my excitement). Hair then makeup then hair again. A quick breakfast of strawberries and champagne, throw in a little dark chocolate= breakfast of champions! Dress- check! Should I wear those large undies I bought? Oh no, where did I put them? Much sentiment with mum and dad <3 Where are my shoes… The super awesome photographer, who fit right in with the loved ones, buzzing around capturing EVERYTHING! It was fun and action packed and before I knew it, it as time to go and see my love and tell him “I do”.

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And so, at 10:30am on one of the stormiest days in August we got married in Scarborough, the same beach where we first met and where two years later Scott proposed. The only change we had to concede to the bad weather was a move indoors instead of that wonderfully windswept observation deck. As I walked down the aisle to the sound of Jack Johnsons “I got you”, hand in hand with my dad I saw what every bride hopes to see, tears in my soon to be husbands eyes at the sight of me approaching. Everything around us faded and I couldn’t get to his side fast enough. He said to me later “you told me you would look stunning, I still wasn’t prepared for just how beautiful you look”. Just now he tells me it was because he loved me so much and was just so happy that I didn’t run away.

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The show mother nature was putting on didn’t stop us getting outside for some incredible photos with our intrepid photographer! There are many blessings that come with rain on your wedding day by the way. It is symbolic for having many children, some say that every drop of rain represents a moment of joy, and it is also thought to be a washing away of all that has come before. Well we are set. It bucketed down and we have started our marriage certain of joy and from a squeeky clean slate. We’ll see about the children 🙂

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We ended up being as late to the reception as we were leaving our ceremony, but the party had kicked off. Our guests were being fed and drinks were circulating and we arrived to a room brimming with good vibes and well wishes. It was time to mingle! There is something truly special about walking into a room full to the brim with people you know and love, it is unlike anything I have experienced before. Those smiling faces, each one you know and the names for a wonder you remember! Just heart warmingly brilliant <3

Speeches of course were amazing. Tears all around as our dads welcomed us each to their respective family. Friends reflecting on our journey to here, the tears and sniffles. Naturally I spoke. I am emotionally expressive, unafraid of public speaking (especially in front of people I know and love) and had much to share about my Scott-the-lot and Team BelSco. The following #TeamBelSco attached to loved ones social media uploads were unexpected and so delightful. I got to give our loved ones “heart fingers” and tell my man “to me you are lagum, you are my alma gemela, my soul mate, my love”. Scott-the-lot also said very moving things and talked about how he couldn’t help but fall in love with my intellect and wit. In his notes, some words went unsaid because he was embarrassed. But the words “cheeky blue-eyed angel” threaded through every draft he had written.

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Of course, there must be some dancing. Although we found that there wasn’t a great deal of it. It could be that day times lend themselves to mingling and conversation which suited us just fine. We had a boogie to Glenn Millers “In the mood’ and I danced with my dad which was very precious (thank you mum for insisting that we do).

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Let there be cake! We cut our wedding cake with the same knife that my parents cut their cake with 36 years earlier, aww… Our cake was made by a dear friend out of almond meal and dark chocolate and could not have been more perfect. All of the themed cake bags mum traveled far and wide to find were made redundant because there was nothing left to go in them. Seriously, the cake was Delicious!

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We spent the rest of the afternoon snacking, sipping drinks then misplacing them, being pulled into photos, having brief chats with as many people as possible, busting a groove and recruiting help to wrangle family members for group photos! From roughly 3pm folks who had children with sitters started to slip quietly away. Some folks left to catch the footy. As the crowd slowly reduced in size we were able to speak with more people and ended up being the last to leave just after 6pm! It was a whirlwind day brimming with awesome. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Scott-the-lot and I retired to our suite, sore feet and stone cold sober. We snuggled on the couch in our finery and sat in wonder at the fastest and most wonderful day of our lives. Then we worked slowly through piles of cards and the hilarity in our guest book. We ordered room service and drank a bottle of champagne that was gifted to us. When we finally slept it was a lovely deep optimistic sleep that was our gateway to the first full day of our married lives. We woke refreshed to a clear sunlit day and a knowing in our hearts that we are going to enjoy this adventure we get to share with one another.

“You will speak with everyone and converse with no one” Jen, a family friend

Important note: All of the pictures shown here were taken by Sebastian from SM Photography. He is an incredibly talented photographer and all round great guy. You can find him and more of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/sebastianmerlephotography

If you are looking for an amazing, warm and seriously wonderful celebrant you can contact Emma here:  https://www.facebook.com/emmabasccmc

From grief and sorrow to loving rememberance

Our beautiful Sun Puppy Sheila left us on Monday. In the span of one single day we were placed in the gut wrenching position that anyone who has adopted a furry family member dreads. After 12 months or so of occasional illness, increasing weakness in her hind legs, and a kidney lesion which caused incontinence that clearly upset her, our baby girl fell very ill, very quickly. We thought we were managing, we thought she had a couple of years left still. We were not ready for the responsibility that awaited and the questioning fear and guilt, the grief that would follow.

Our Sheila puppy was, as I am sure most beloved dogs are, such a happy soul. She had a waggy tail of destruction, she liked clean blankets, scratches behind the ear, spoony cuddles, family walks, sniffing and chasing the cat, squeezing between your legs for a super firm hug, gazing into your eyes, treats and pushing the envelope of routine.

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One of our first dates

Sheila would greet you at the door with her favourite toys, croc or the blue elephant- both squeaked or used to. If she forgot the toy she would trip over herself to remedy that and hastily go and fetch one to present to you! She cried and sooked to get your attention, to let you know she was hungry, to be let in or let out, to mourn her dads going to work each day, to say “I’m lonely can you get out of bed now” or to say “I’m bored just love me”. She only ever barked to alert us to people at the door or at other dogs (puppies included) and as she got older even that quieted down.

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Settling in on a girls night after lots of dancing in the kitchen

She was such an engaging and communicative puppy. Throughout her lifetime she remained a puppy, “Shelia puppy”. Her expressive eyes could even melt my heart when I had reached my tolerance for sooking and pacing with her clippy cloppy paws. She never listened, always pushed boundaries and she asserted her own routine and punished us with more whinging, then the most delightful forms of passive dominance if we dared not obey. Her favourite form of passive dominance was to put her head on your lap and gaze up into your eyes, or push her head under your hand. I worked hard to give her affection on my own volition so that I felt it was because I wanted to give it freely rather than being instructed. Now I don’t see why it was such a big deal.

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Hugging her blue elephant

It has been easy to feel like we failed our baby girl, our Sheila puppy. The heartbreak of making the decision to “end her suffering” seems so disconnected to the days preceding because it was so very sudden. Our girl was our girl. Getting older, grayer around the muzzle but still happy and loving and well, behaving like a puppy albeit more gently and less frequently. We forget that she has been on incontinence medication that were not always effective and that she found it very distressing to wet her bed. We forget that she was incontinent because of a lesion on her kidney that the vet had gently counselled us that she was an old dog and our focus of care was to keep her comfortable. We forget that she had arthritis in her hips and knees and her hind legs were coming out from under her every day and getting out of bed was increasingly effortful. We forget that she was so very very unwell and there was no guarantees about her recovery and her subsequent quality of life.

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A rare still moment on a walk, she liked to keep moving and I enjoyed quiet contemplation

The hardest part in all of this is that you are left with silence. Because of that you question. Did we show her enough love? Did we do the right thing by her? And oh god how we miss her. We miss the morning greetings, the constant companionship and her “checking in” as I worked from home, the cacophony of noise when we arrived home at the end of the day “oh my gosh! You’re home! I’m so glad you’re home, I missed you terribly! Here have a toy, by the way I have NEVER EVER EATEN BEFORE IN MY LIFE AND I AM STARVING!”, the quiet way she would put herself to bed when she was tired, the kisses on her soft soft head, the way she leaned into your hand when you gave her ear scratches and licked the air when you scratched the base of her tail, her nose in your ear by surprise attack when you were laying on the couch, her daily sun baths, and her cheeky garden hollows where she like to sleep all cocooned up, the way she liked to be held. We did love our girl, beyond a shadow of a doubt she felt that love. In her final hours the only thing she lifted her head for was to watch her dad or I move from her and then back to her. But the trauma of her passing overshadows, for now, the loving way in which we got to farewell her- at home, in her own bed, with family, tight in our arms.

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She loved her toys and this walled bed- it was all about the embrace 🙂

Our pain now must come not from guilt about our impossible choices. She passed painlessly enveloped in love. Our pain must be simply our loss and grief for a very dear member of our little family. Her absence is strikingly loud for its silence. We miss her dearly. I think that the fact we wonder if we did enough, loved her enough, cared enough probably means that we did do exactly enough. She was our baby girl and she lived her life surrounded by love. You enriched our lives and filled our hearts and you shall forever have a place in them. Rest in peace our beautiful Sheila Puppy.

Snuggles with dad from a happier time
Snuggles with dad from a happier time

“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.”  – Hilary Stanton Zunin

If I died tomorrow

If I died tomorrow, would you want to part like this?

Would you be happy with the words we shared? Is there anything you’d miss?

Is there something that you wish you’d said? Or that you never did?

Is there something that if you could take back, you’d do it to part in bliss?

If there’s anything you think you’d regret, should this life pass too soon… take a breath and retrieve it now, before mourning, guilt and loss barrage you.

Whilst I think I’m here a while, we can’t know for sure that’s true.

We must take the chance to vocalise the kind things and leave out the rougher hues.

Speak the things that trouble you then let them go, so that you can live a life of peace and let your true love show.

That way you’ll have no regrets should life take me too soon and you’ll be able to remember us with the love that has shone through.

No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow. ~Euripides

Everybody does it

Providing feedback on a paid service should be the most natural thing in the world really shouldn’t it? You give a business some money to do a job and you need to make sure you are satisfied with said job before it’s conclusion, everybody does it, it’s no big deal…

Well no matter how lovely the business owners, how important the job, I can’t seem to woman up and be assertive (not aggressive or submissive, the “right” amount of assertive). I am always under-powered, seek to please, need to make sure everyone else is okay before I check in with me… sad. I know that this is unhelpful. I know where it comes from. I know it’s source expresses itself actively in my life in the present unchecked, because I lack the skills to tackle it.

How does one say “I’m sorry but I don’t like it” when historically that response has been ignored, railed against or used as an emotional flogging implement? I’m a grown woman and I struggled to let the jewelers who are making my engagement ring know that I didn’t like the ring they had made for me. I cried for 2 days at the sentimental loss and the knowledge that I would struggle to provide them with the feedback necessary to modify my ring.

I am driven to please and ensure everyone is okay. Your well-being before my own. On the occasions that I am assertive or voice my truth it is because for a moment I feel truly safe and like the repercussions, if any, will be repairable. I am not one to rock the boat. My sweet fiancee is the first person to have exposure to an uncensored Bel. He knows how I feel and I say what I mean. With him I am liberated and free, completely honest in all things. But god help me, I can’t seem to be able to translate that to all areas of my life.

I have a kind of motto that essentially goes like this “The day you stop learning is the day you take your final breath”. I don’t know if it is true in so far as for all I know learning continues beyond the grave. I also grant that I came across it somewhere and I am not the first to think and feel this sentiment. And so I try. I sometimes break down in unrelenting tears because I can’t muster the courage to do more than that. But I try.

With my ring, well the wonderful man that is my future husband came with me and we spoke to the jeweler together. Which was really me speaking and him standing by my side like my own personal rock of Gibraltar. The irony is that, as could be expected, the jeweler was lovely, completely understanding and wants to make certain that I leave with a ring that I love. I just needed to take a deep breath, and anchored in my strong sense of empathy, be honest.

As this difficulty expressing myself relates to the rest of my life, I’m going to try and apply exactly this premise- remain anchored in my empathy so that I come from a place of understanding love and be honest. I need to rock the boat when it is important. For my sanity and to sustain the love I have for the people that I need to be able to express myself honestly with. Everyone else seems to have the knack. I just have to practice.

To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves – there lies the great, singular power of self-respect.  ~Joan Didion

If only I could

I am a bit of a reader of books oriented to making sense of an emotionally turbulent world. I like to make sense of why things happen and why they impact us the way they do. I like to have some idea of what drives us and how we may suffer from our own and other people actions.

The more I read, the easier it is to choose a different way, and the more I wish I had known all of this much earlier. If I had been really aware that we are intelligent beings driven by primitive desires that served to keep us safe in ancient times; If I had realised that my anxiety made me vicious and mean to protect me when  I would prefer to be kind and compassionate; If I had truly appreciated how well we can care for each other, solve problems and communicate our needs from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion; Then there is a very great deal that I would do differently now. For myself, and most certainly for others.

Love is one of our most powerful drives as human beings, besides greed which is really a throw back to our ancestral days needing to secure the most resources to feed our tribe (at a time when resources were scarce- it has been suggested that as a species we lack a satiety button because we never needed one)… Love., I was talking about love. We yearn for connection, to belong, to be thought of in a positive way and cared for. We need it in fact.

Following a strange breakup- which eventually turned out not to be so strange since he had been seeing someone else- a friend of mine and I connected. Because we were on opposite sides of the country at first we had skype dates, and phone calls, and text messages. I mattered to someone and that person mattered to me. Sadly, meanwhile I was hurting pretty bad from the confusing breakup. I didn’t move far from my bed, I didn’t cook and I rarely changed out of my pyjamas. So these skype dates because pretty important to bring some colour back to a dreary and sad world.

A small amount of time went by, a few weeks. My dear friend flew from the other side of the country to see me. It was very exciting and incredibly romantic. No one had ever done something so grand for little old me before and predictably I felt very special. But not long after he arrived, I began to feel inexplicably sad. I wasn’t ready for this kid of relationship. My mind, with it’s scared and anxious thoughts started to make me believe that there was no way my friend could understand that it was just too much to contemplate a romance and let’s just enjoy each others company. Instead it made me bitchy, crabby, argumentative and generally unpleasant. Long way to come to be treated so poorly.

I realise now several things that could have made for a different scenario. I also understand that in the midst of my angst the kindness centre of my brain was somewhat inhibited and I was in survival mode. But what could have made it better would have been knowing that anxiety is an old world defense mechanism. Knowing this defense for what it is I could have worked at communicating my fears from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of allowing myself to act from anxiety. I could have held dear how far my friend had come and honoured his hopes with kindness, gentleness and compassion instead of acting like a cornered and caged animal with the surly teeth-gnashing responses he did not deserve. I could have approached our time together as a whole from a place of kindness, gentleness and compassion and allowed us to have fun and forge a lasting foundation of friendship instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater a midst waves of anxiety generated defense mechanisms based in a fear that he would not accept my need for only friendship.

This friendship was/is important to me. If I could have that time again, with the knowledge I have now, I would do so much differently. If only I could.

“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”  ~Terri St. Cloud

You mean “now” now?

My name is Bel and I am an addict.

Each day I open my tablet or computer and I find myself looking at them. Everyday, near enough that I notice what it keeps me from. But I can’t help it. I have to look. At their large kitchens, spacious yards, their high ceilings, if there are molded cornices… and the views. My god, the views!

I have a realestate problem. This is a 2 part problem for me. The first part of this problem is that it leeches so much of my time. I get into a zone where I can feel the zombie take over. With flat affect I flit from one property to another, maybe raising an eyebrow or a murmer if there is something very exceptional… And suddenly I have lost my afternoon!

The second part of this problem is that we are not in the market for a property right now. One day we will be. But right now we are not in a position to even be looking! And there are so many wonderful homes that I would love to call my own… Cue feeling sad and upset that my own home is so far beyond reach, with a woe is me and bitter reflection on having already used my first home owners grant in a relationship that didn’t make the distance. Then sprinkle on some rage about how much harder it is to get a loan and how high prices are. Some more ranting about how prices are so high because people want to make money off property instead of establishing the traditional family home thanks to tax breaks introduced by the government many years ago… SO this incessant and compulsive looking is starting to prove itself a problem.

Right. Ahem, Ok, so in moments of clarity (when I do not have my face in my computer screen) I look around and realise that now is the perfect time! To enjoy, to live, to put important steps in place for the future but to live now. We enjoy a comparatively low cost of living which means we can save and do things we enjoy- a huge luxury in this day and age. We live in a beautiful house and have security here. We have an easy care garden that is big enough for me to try some new things in, without being overwhelmed by it. We are close to many of our family and friends and we have space to accommodate over night those that need to travel a bit further.

It really doesn’t get much better than this. So what is with the extraordinary pull to even look? Am I so indoctrinated to want, accumulate, spend spend spend!? Sadly I think this must be so. When I reflect on it I am similarly inclined when it comes to new technology. When I get bored of my phone or my computer stops being super fast and responsive I start to look for the next big thing in a very single-minded way, whether I can afford to upgrade or not. I have much work to do to calm this beast.

I cannot be the only person who experiences this. In fact I know that I am not. If you are afflicted with this same obsession to upgrade your already perfectly excellent life, join me on a journey. Find a quiet moment to look around you, take in your environment. The people you share your home with. The furniture you rest on. The roof over your head**. Does it meet your needs? Can you smile about your day from here? Can you afford the things that are most important to you? I mean food of course, but also if you love nothing more than a weekly night at the movies, does living here afford you that? If you love having a night at a fancy pants restaurant once a month, does living here afford you that? If you are about to launch into starting your own business, does living here afford you the safety net you need to start? Now be grateful.

By finding gratitude it is easier to enjoy right now instead of trying to force change for changes sake. When I try to force change I lose time, a great deal of it, and I often end up where I began. I am not suggesting for a moment that you don’t plan for the future. Implementing plans for your future are essential to your organic growth. I am suggesting that when you are grateful, right now, in this moment and you are satisfied, then you have a more comfortable journey into your future. A future created by your hand with love, not fear. Enjoyed from a place of bliss rather than an angsty passing onto something ever bigger- not necessarily better.

Feet submerged

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

** Important side note- there are increasing numbers of people who do not have roofs over their heads. Something many of us take for granted. If you do not have shelter I implore you to find one. Try family and friends until you can get something permanent arranged, ask them to help you organise it. It is easier to stay healthy when you have a roof over your head and a safe place to sleep. And while many services that provide shelter and food for people who are homeless are very patriarchal and seem expensive, they are safe, they will help you get back on your feet and have access to good healthcare. Without your health, what do you have?