Thursday, 13 September 2012

Strive to be Happy

One of my favourite pieces of writing is the Desiderata. It's something I go back to time and time again, because of it's good sense. You can hear the tenderness of the writer in the piece. It truly is beautiful. It's beautiful because it's true.

While I love the whole thing, some lines in particular really stand out. The first line, of course 'Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace their may be in silence.' Our world is so often noisy, and rushed, and hectic. We fill our lives with media, fast food, fast transport, and fast living; but we need peace, we need stillness, and quiet. These things are good for the soul. The human body and spirit were nor designed to be in a permanent state of agitation.

'Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others' Passion about something does not need to translate into shouting, and aggression. In fact, doing so may lead to your message being lost, ignored, or misunderstood. There's a lot of truth in the old saying 'It's not what you say, it's how you say it.' We must also listen to others, even if we don't agree with them. Or, another way I've heard it put 'We have two ears, and only one we should listen twice as much as we speak.' 

'Enjoy your achievements, as well as your plans' Plans are good, but take time to enjoy the everyday achievements and victories, no matter how small they seem. They all matter. They matter, because you do.

'Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness' This is so true. A strange factor of our modern, media savvy world, is that many people are more harassed, and more starved of true human companionship than ever before. Social media is wonderful, and I honestly believe that online friendships are true ones, but it's not the same as someone being present.

'You are a child of the have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.'Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.' We may not always see it, or understand it, or appreciate it, but the universe is unfolding as it should. It's doing so with you in it. More than that, it's doing so because God consciously chose to put each one of us in it.

The ending I love 'Be cheerful. Strive to be Happy.' It's true, happiness is not guaranteed, it doesn't just happen. Sometimes we have to Strive to be Happy, whether this means changing a situation, or our attitude. Happy sometimes has to be worked at.

In the end though, isn't happiness much less work if we are placid, willing to listen, at peace with God, and at peace with ourselves, and our mission as children of God, helping the Universe unfold as it should?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Not as I Planned (Thank Goodness)!

I went for a walk today. I hadn't planned on going for a walk, but really, sometimes when you have toddlers, the only way to stop turning into a twitchy-eyed crazy person is to get out of the house.

I was in a horrid mood when I set off, I was having a dark, can't be bothered, want to hide kind of day. I didn't want to be around people, the timing was all wrong, and we would be hitting the local High School lunch time (trust me, that's to be avoided).

I stomped off, with my angry 'don't dare talk to me!' walk. I was angry when I reached the underpass, I was peeved when I crossed the footbridge, I was defensive when I passed by the grocery store.

And then I got down by the river, and I got calmer. I walked a bit further than usual, and would have gone further still, but nettles were encroaching on the path, and the twins didn't have socks on.

I found a bench, in a quiet, shady spot, and I sat, watching the twins, listening to the rustle of the trees. I sat with my back to the river, but aware of it's energy, it's constancy, it's flow. I sat, and was, and prayed, and felt peace.

Then we started heading home, and returned to the busier, more open main path. I sat again, to have a different few of the river, and kill some time while I waited to avoid a gaggle of teens on lunch-break. I met a woman from the parish we used to attend, who was out walking and fairy-hunting with her 4 year old daughter.

We chatted, we walked, we laughed. The little girl was sweet, funny, precocious, and totally engaging. The mother sensible, pleasant, and funny. I really hope I meet them again when I'm out for a walk.

The afternoon didn't start as I planned, or as I wanted, but by the time we got home, I'd never been so glad that it didn't.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Toddlers X 2

Ok, I no longer have babies. I have 2 toddlers, even though Gareth isn't standing/ walking independently yet, I still class him as a toddler, because he scoots around the furniture, gets in to everything, and is developing a rather, ahem, forceful personality.

Their favourite toy is usually a yoghurt pot, which they will fight over. We've tried giving them a yoghurt pot each. No good. They will still fight over the same yoghurt pot.

However, to be fair, they do work together. They take turns putting things down the ramp on their play-mobile garage. They worked well together uprooting the newly planted violas. The other day, they showed great team work when they worked together to empty Gareth's clothes out of his drawer - they even went as far as to help with washing, by dropping one of Gareth's cardigans in the tub while I was running a bath.

They like to unplug the speakers from the computer, take the phone off the hook, throw random things in the washing machine, 'help' me fold clothes, do quality control on the wet wipes, (by taking each one out of the pack to inspect it), Gareth likes to try and turn around, and climb up to see what's on the back of the sofa about 10 times during every meal,  and they like to remove the smart card from the TV.

But then again, they also like to do silly things and make each other laugh. Gareth likes to pretend to be a scary lion. Molly likes to get a cloth and pretend to clean things, and she likes to try and pull clothes over her head. They like it when I blow raspberries on their tummies, or read Monkey and Me. They like it when I sing songs, and do silly dances, and teach them the actions to 'I'm a little tea-pot.' Gareth likes to say 'Boo!' and it's very cute, because he doesn't understand yet, that you're supposed to hide first.  They like to play in the bath together, and then get into their PJ's and have a cuddle and a drink of milk before bed.

The every day slog of this stage can be hard. Writing things down like this helps me gain perspective. It helps me step back and see that yes, there are challenges, but there's also a lot of joy and fun.

The twins are mischievous, cheeky, engaging, cute, lovable, and very, very loved, but I'm still glad when 7.30pm comes and it's time to put them to bed, and settle down with a glass of wine and a good book.