2012 was a year of great loss for my family and I. I don’t write everything down on my blog so you’ll have to trust me on that one. During the past year Robert and I would occasionally stare at one another and know that the other would be thinking ‘not again’.
I escaped those hard times by thinking about the future. I imagined the future to be better, more hopeful and less heartbreaking. But as the year went on I found that constantly trying to escape to a time and a place that doesn’t even exist yet was not helping me at all. In fact it was making me more miserable because no matter how hard I tried to get away when I was brought abruptly back in to the moment I hadn’t done anything to make it more bearable.
I knew that there had to be an answer to all this.
So I began to read. I read and read and read and read. I picked up every book that I could find on spiritual living and living spiritually. Some things I read I agreed with and some I did not. Some books were written by total nutcases and some were written by really wonderful people that I have found myself relating to. But I was miserable and unsettled and felt like I was living in a total fog so I reached out to anything I could lay my hands on.
But there was one through line that I found coming up time and time again and that was a lot of writing about the ‘present moment’. I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle in 2008 and was slightly overwhelmed by its profundity. I knew it held great secrets but I’m quite certain that my brain and my life experience up until that point were not formed enough to take it in. When I was wiped out for a week just before Christmas and couldn’t get out of bed for a few days due to some random bug I picked the book back up again. And I got it.
It was only through the loss experienced in 2012 ( and also from 2008 onwards) that my eyes were opened to what I had in the present moment. I had, for the last four years, been constantly running from deep pain that began in 2008 and continued until the end of last year and the result of that was that I had no idea what was right there in front of me.
I can blame the ‘trying to escape’ on loads of events that have happened in those four years, some of them pretty bloody valid, but the result of the behavior will always be the same if not a little contradictory – when I’ve finished running I’ll return to a place where I am exactly the same but I’ll have also missed a great deal.
I’ll not have been present enough with my young twins due to worrying about the future. I’ll not have laughed enough with my husband due to thinking about something that has hurt me. I’ll not take in my surroundings because I’ll be pissed off that it’s raining once again. You get the picture.
Something else I realised was that I was living my life on everybody else’s terms. If someone told me I HAD to do a certain thing I would more often than not do it.
“You have to do this for your kids because it’ll make them happier, blah, blah, blah”
“Don’t decorate the room in your house like that, do it this way, blah blah blah”
“I miss what you used to do on your website, do it again or you’ll lose readers, blah blah blah”
“You have to present yourself as this type of person or nobody will buy your book, blah, blah, blah”
“You can’t suddenly open a baking school, you’ll confuse people blah blah blah” (WHAT?!?!)
But when you’re told stuff all the time and you’re also trying to make sense of things that you want to change you become really suggestive to other people’s thoughts. And I think it’s a rather dangerous place to be. Because, as I have discovered, after four years of floundering about listening to what other people think I should be doing and getting confused about what it is that I want to be doing with my time my body stopped and sent me to bed. And so I was no good for anybody.
My week in bed showed me things about myself that I’d like to share with you.
They are -
My twins are growing up very quickly and I want to be present for every single moment.
I want them to grow up in the house we own in West Sussex. No more moving.
I am a homemaker.
I am a feminist.
I don’t mind if you can’t get your head around that last one.
I love cooking.
I love baking.
I love teaching.
I love to communicate.
I love being at home and creating within it.
I love cottage industries that are set up from home by women and I am proud of myself for being the founder of one.
I love the fact that my husband and I are a team.
I will never understand why people do the things they do.
It is not my job to understand.
It is my job to live my values, no matter what anybody else thinks, writes, emails, discusses or believes they know about me.
Because by living MY values I will be a good mummy, wife, friend, baker, cook, teacher and communicator.
And that is all.
My values are right here, ready for me to take and live by, in the very moment that I’m writing this. So no more living in the future, no more altering thoughts or beliefs or behaviors through fear or other people’s suggestions. That would be a life half-lived.
It is an absolute impossibility for me, or anyone else, to miss things that life has for them by living in the present moment. It’s by living in the past or the future that life is missed. Such is the power of now.
2013 is lovely right now. And that is all I need to concern myself with.
I love you.
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