Last year was interesting. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t smooth sailing. Such is life. My husband stopped the Dublin commute and started his own business, which while being the right decision for our family also was very stressful. Stress is a bastard and does horrible things to people, and families. My husband is currently on a self prescribed journey of self discovery and learning who he is, and how he wants to be – as a person, a father, a husband and a business man. I love him for it, and in a weird way the stress, subsequent ‘I hate being stressed’ and then ‘Im going to do something about this’ process has been a good thing for our family. Funny thing is, when one person starts that journey, through being more mindful and aware of themselves, and their mental health, well you can either support them from a distance, not support them at all, or jump right in and join them.
Anyone who knows my husband would not peg him as the most contemplative or profound man, but when we were chatting the other day he said this;
“this is our home, we can choose what we bring in to it”
Simple, but it really struck me and for my husband is pretty profound (love you husband).
If you live in a home full of anxiety, stress, worry and anger, your children will be a product of that, and will grow up one day, flee the nest and bring that anxiety, stress, worry and anger into their homes. We have the choice to cultivate the feelings we want in our home environment, and the over all mood of our home. So, we are trying to leave as much of that out of our house as possible. It sounds like a no brainer when you read it in black and white but really its a pretty big undertaking that takes a conscious effort. There is no way our house will be all sunshine and roses, with 5 little guys going through toddler tantrums, bedtime disasters, teething, and tweenagers (nearly) I know there will be more than enough shouting and screaming and God knows what else. But what Mr Clev and I are doing now is making some decisions and changes in how we respond to these situations to try and bring peace and love and all those other nice things into our lives!
Last week we watched a 10 min Ted Talks about Mindfulness on Netflix. It describes how practising mindfulness can really benefit you and some of the things you can be doing on a daily basis to ease some of your stresses and burdens, or actually to give you the head space to be able to deal with them. We also downloaded the ‘Calm’ and ‘Smiling Mind’ apps to our iPhones, they are free and have guided meditations you can use to help you tune out of external stresses and tune into yourself. I have always been one for Yoga, breathing and meditation so I of course am well into these, the hubby is still finding his feet but I’m insisting he use them to try and get away from the constant screens, phones, emails and design stuff. Our home and office are one place, and yes, we had got to the point where the office stress was infiltrating into the rest of our home, we felt in and im sure the kids felt it too – hey, no one is perfect. For the past two weeks or so we have really been trying to keep the spaces separate, creating little home sanctuaries where anyone can go for some quiet time and maybe a spot of meditation (using the apps) and trying to recognise when we as parents or our kids as little individuals need a bit of alone time. It sounds so easy but in reality its quite difficult!! It is so easy to sit on my phone and check e-mails instead of talking to one of my kids, especially when likewise it is easy for Mr Clev to work in the front room by the fire instead of in the somewhat colder office but this is the sort of thing we are stopping.
I feel very strongly about making these changes now, I guess the blog break and iffy end to last year have all been leading up to it. I am very lucky to have 5 little ones and while I am incredibly grateful for them, I also am very aware of the responsibility that I have too. I have five little people who, if statistics are correct, at some point in their life may suffer from some sort of mental health issue – be it stress, depression, anxiety or worse. Mr Clev and I need to lead by example now, to open up the channels to talk, to choose to bring compassion, truth, honesty, and love into our home in the hope that in the future the kids know they wont have to shoulder the burden of any bad feelings alone, and in turn can support each other, as well as friends through tough times too. I would urge everyone out there to do the same, understand, be compassionate, and be the change you want to see in the world (cbt alert* – also my sister gratified this on the bridge at the end of our road during her rebellious phase, I love it!!).
I guess we shall see where this mindfulness directive takes us, but for now we are choosing to bring nothing but good stuff into our home, our lives and our family.
ommmmmmm ommmmmm ommmmm breathing in light and breathing out darkness ommmmm ommmmmmmm ommmmmmmm…….
*cbt = cheesy but true