Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.


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My heart, uninterrupted.

You know those old skeletons in your closet that you forgot about and just when you are ready to move on a bony hand grabs hold of your ankle and tries to take you down with it.

That was 2016.

Regardless, I rose again, dusted myself off and was more determined than ever to get out of this figurative shithole I have been bathing in for far too long now.

I’ve been hiding healing in a chrysalis for what feels like an age and I’m overcooked.

I’ve stood on this edge many times looking down, urging myself to jump but now I am looking up and out at the horizon.

I know that once I leap, I will say goodbye.

Goodbye to many things, and even people. Goodbye to unrequited love, to mind games and power plays. Goodbye to people pleasing and to imbalanced relationships. Goodbye to food, shopping and other such distracting ‘rewards’. Goodbye to being wasteful, goodbye to plastic and goodbye to hoarding. Goodbye to meat eating, to anger, to aggression. Goodbye to ‘checking in’ and lurking. Goodbye to parenting specialists, social research ‘evidence’, generalised guidelines. Goodbye to pressure and seriously, I mean it,

good riddance busyness.

If I do one thing from now on, I will be less busy.

I will rest. I will read. I will nap. I will free range parent. I will step back. I will take more baths. I will pray. I will stand in the grass, walk with the trees and I will whisper back to them. I will eat avocado and raw carrots and by the power of all creation I will find fresh Italian olives right here in Ireland and I will eat the bejaysus out of them. I will groom my dog and look into her beautiful eyes and feel my heart open. I will thank my girl cat for coming home and not leaving me. I will tolerate my boy cat. (It’s okay he has a sense of humour).

I will accept that some people will just never accept me. I will accept that I am an easy scapegoat and it’s a compliment because scapegoats are actually very strong people.

I will feel a field of energy surround my being, it will allow me to tread upon this planet with a glowing heart full of rose quartz-like crystal love, so open, so beaming like the over-enthusiastic lover that I am, and the Great Spirit will flow through me and touch everyone around me and they’ll glow when it touches them and they’ll feel so loved and so accepted that they’ll connect with their potential and it will spread. A wellness will spread and everyone will stop buying shit and start recycling things and going without, and eat only what they need so there’ll be no food shortage and they’ll feed the birds in the Winter and governments will supplement farmers to breed less and encourage people to eat less meat and they’ll feel the better for it as will our air and we’ll all come together and create a movement called “Reforestation” where we’ll all buy a field and fill it with trees and wildlife and return the Earth to the Earth.

Call me idealist, or rose tinted, nevertheless, that is what my heart sings when it is left uninterrupted.

That is my word for 2017. Uninterrupted.


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Trauma, depression and children.

Thinking back, in conversation with others, about the phases my eldest has gone through, has spurred on a serious whirlwind style re-cap of the last five years since I became a mother.

At first, I was seeing it all in a self-centred way. Phrasing it like I was a victim (although sometimes it did feel that way, I fully admit it was/is a self absorbed, immature kind of way). How I labelled her third year the traumatising threes. Then I’d go on and think about how I did not even have those fantastic fours which was the pep talk to get me through those threes.

You’d swear she was a tyrant. Which she wasn’t. She was normal.

These days, I see snippets of who she is becoming and she is just so wholly beautiful my heart swells. She is nearly 5.5 now. Still whinge-y and wild but I’m so proud of her. She has come a long way, through social anxiety, intense shyness and of course, this tiny little person has lived through her mothers depression. A trauma of its own.

And it is this sudden realisation where I stop in my tracks. A big dead heavy STOP and my breath sucks in deep and I hold it for a long moment; only for it to slowly stutter out of my lungs as if there were clumps of earth in my trachea. The kitchen tears away from my psyche and suddenly I’m standing out on a dirt road in a bland desert. The twisted crunch of dry hard stones under my boots has a grating echo vibrating through my body. The air is hot and dry, suffocating. There is no wind. No sound. No leaves rustling. An empty void giving me the space for this realisation to take hold.

 

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She is here five years and I was severely depressed for the first 2 years of her life and then (milder, thankfully) again after I had her sister.

There I was. So deeply stuck in my own crippling, heavy, world of depression that I never even took stock to measure how this little one was suffering too. I was so focused on my own surviving that I disassociated from hers.

Imagine coming into this world to a mother who fights daily, those thoughts that are trying to take her out of it.

I only heard it there recently, for the first time, a new narrator in my head.

It said ‘I want to be alive’.

What a smack that was. To hear, for the first time in… as long as I can remember, a new inner voice. One that actually wants to be alive.

That is intense, I know. In recent months I’ve been working to find the root of this and it seems to all fall back on the car accident I was in when I was ten. I had what some might call a near death experience. Or, well, a death experience. I just remember being sucked back into my mind and waking up, instantly alert, to give people my home phone number.

A fearful memory that subsequently has led me to teach my eldest my phone number, back when she was just aged three.

It’s since then that I’ve had this overriding feeling. Was it fear? Is that what suffocated my will to live? By live I mean to live, not just be alive. I’ve mastered staying alive through depression. I have never shared this aspect of depression with you before. That way of thinking lives on the shameful side of the depressive spectrum.

Really though, what I really came back with, was premature self consciousness. Self consciousness and an immature mind do not live well together; and I think that is what they mean when they say, ‘let kids be kids’. Leave them in their ignorance, for that is peace. I lost that peace, violently, when I was ten.

There are worse traumas; war, abuse, grief. So in one way I struck it lucky. On the other side of that coin, though, it was left for a long time because it was easy to dismiss once the physical healing took place. I never looked at it as a trauma. It was just something that happened. Once my physical body recovered and I started, as a coping mechanism, living as if a chameleon, it was easy to forget the psychological, emotional and spiritual trauma of the experience. It didn’t help that I never verbalised it. How could I? I came back into my body in survival mode. I didn’t trust life. I didn’t trust myself. I had lost faith. Everyone around me was clueless because my coping method is silence. Pretend everything is under control. Blend in.

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The voice that says “I want to be alive” does not mean that I have been saying that I want to die all this time (although there have been times, during my darkest hours). I’ve just never wanted to live. It was like, staying alive was a battle enough, a burden. To actually LIVE always seemed out of reach and much of my living has revolved around the quest to be healed.

Finding the originating factor of the depression has been a blessing. I’ve been able to see that before that time, the accident, my hazy memories are happy, content and easy going. That who I was before the accident was a settled, secure child; well protected, loved and supported.

It is easy to blend in through childhood and adolescence because you’re busy. You’re busy being directed into adulthood by guiding hands. It is only when you become an adult that the shit hits the fan because, well, you are alone. No matter how much support you have, you are alone when navigating your inner world. Until then, you’ve been told what to think, what to feel or, more aptly, what not to feel; and what to be.

So there I was, lost in my inner world while this little one went on about her traumatising threes, ferocious fours and so on. Being born onto a depressive is a trauma. It is not war, or abuse or grief. Although, maybe grief lives there at times, especially in more severe lifelong cases.

They have a right to be angry, or insecure. Or both. It’s a good thing. When they stand up and fight. When they moan, scream and whine. It means they’re safe. They know they are loved. Coming from my perspective, it is the silence that is worrisome. Silence comes from fear.

 It is a natural process, those terrible twos, threes, fours, fives and beyond.

There is a whole person evolving inside this tiny being, trauma or not.

It is precious.

I am truly grateful for the honour to bear witness to it,

and to live for it too.

 

 


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What do you think when you look at a photo of yourself?

I found a photo of myself recently, from when I was about 16.

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The only reason why it still exists is because my old dog is in it.

I hate seeing myself in photos.

Many, many, photos of myself have been torn up, destroyed, burned and thrown out.

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Is it seeing myself through a different lens that makes me so… anxious?

I think it is the thought that this is what I look like to the world.

Not what the mirror reflects but what the camera projects.

What do people see when they look at me?

I cannot possibly imagine because when I look at myself in this way I am fully exposed and also so critical and cruel.

I know exactly what is going on behind those eyes, those tense shoulders, that taut jaw.

When we look at others we can only speculate as to the meaning behind their facial expressions and the way they hold themselves. We can never know for sure what is really going on. It is always speculation, no matter how good we think we are at reading people.

When I look at a photo of myself I see the wrung out stomach, the breath holding, the un-shed tears and the conflicting personality.

The silent sensitivity -vs- excessive talking.

The lack of self esteem -vs- self confidence.

The fixer -vs- the brokenness.

I see that unshakable feeling of being so un-likeable yet I still just throw myself out there into the world.

Here I am‘, I wave excitedly and over-enthusiastically while I let myself all hang out without a filter.

I then feel exposed and vulnerable, rejected because I reject myself and like I don’t fit in yet still insist on being there really fucking awkwardly.

Still I throw myself in to the middle despite it all.

I pose for photos (vainly on my good side of course), chat on the street, join clubs and facebook groups. I call for people, organise playdates and actively get to know new people.

Just be yourself is easy to say, but, is the world ready for that? Is society ready for us all to just be ourselves?

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When I observe how looking at this photo effects me I wish I knew what people thought of me because, surely, it can’t be as bad as I think.

I imagine that the self-deprecating habit I developed as a young person has become more literate and vicious than what most people would be capable of thinking about me.

As I hear myself wishing that, that voice crops up and lambastes me for needing from others. Needing approval.

Then, when I calm down I realise that that voice feeds off of my sense of rejection and that same need for approval.

If I stop needing approval then I can’t feel rejected. I suppose.

Maybe then that voice will be gone.

A part of me does throw myself out there from a ‘I don’t need approval‘ place but when I do, I just feel weird and alone in my over-enthusiasm and the way I wear socks with my Birks 😉

When I feel this way I pull myself back out by reminding myself that my husband chose me. This man who quietly leaves fools to suffer themselves. He lets very few people in. You can count his complete trustees on one hand and of those people I am honoured to stand alongside them. So that makes me feel better. To be liked by someone like him? For someone like him to actually want my company? The most honest and loving person I’ve ever met? So comfortable in his un-coolness he’s actually cool? That’s an honour.

I realise now that I mustn’t be that bad.

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Back to the photo.

What do you think when you look at a photo of yourself?

Tell me I am not alone in the psychoanalyses?


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Easy, but depth-ful, ‘thinking-of-you’ gift

A seed was planted in my head a while back while reading a blogpost by Tric over at from My thoughts on a page. If you haven’t found Tric yet then you really should head over there if you like soulful writing.

It was an idea for a small gift that I could give to some people in my life, that came from the heart.

When I look at it tangibly, it seems like a very small thing but the intangible place the gift comes from is expansive. I nervously wonder if only a small number of people would ‘get it’, as not everyone would be into the ritual and intention I give with it. Different strokes for different folks and all.

We bought Summer bulbs when they were on offer recently. We planted some in the garden, Elf and I, and then I got to work on the gift I wanted to send to a special someone.
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The first of these gifts to be sent was to this special person who cannot even begin to imagine what they have given to me in energy, healing and love over the short period of time we have known each other. It is so hard to find something expressive enough to return to someone in terms of energy, healing and love. It is all in the intention, I believe.

Although this is such a small gesture, in my heart, in what I am giving, it is huge.

I sat in my room, the kitchen no less, lit a candle and brought in a soft light to work by and chose the bulbs I’d be sending.

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I wrote a letter on the gorgeous Cathy Kidson stationary that I received as a Christmas gift (I am stationary obsessed). I just went with my intuition on what to write in the letter. I found my pink Aura Soma bottle (colour therapy) and decided to theme the blessing to what pink symbolises which is compassion, forgiveness and self-love. I filled a small fabric gift bag with the bulbs and sprayed a cotton bud with the pink floral scent (you could also use an essential oil).
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It felt good sending the gift because this is something I would usually say that I would love to do but then don’t because I put it too far down on the list. Yet, after doing it I felt great pleasure sending someone a little blessing.

Although when it is received initially it will be just a seed, the flowers will bloom this (and every) Summer. The blessing will come to fruition and the receiver will think of compassion, forgiveness and self-love every time they see these flowers. They act as a reminder to love and to just go easy on yourself.

I was thinking that this idea could also be used as a gift for those in grief or those celebrating an important stage in their life.

Or, simply, you could just send them as a thinking-of-you gift.

Thanks for reading,

Laura x


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That eye of the storm moment in motherhood

I signed up to join the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival to celebrate the launch of new book ‘Moods of Motherhood’ by Lucy H. Pearce.

I didn’t realise just a few days later I’d be writing an intense post about standing over the proverbial edge and looking down the steep cliffs of post natal depression. You can read it here if you like. I was going to save it for the carnival but I needed to post it then and there. I needed the release.

Writing a short post about how deep the depression can sometimes go was really cathartic for me as I could never say all of that through my voice. Writing is my expression.

Of course when it came to carnival day (today) I didn’t know if I wanted to re-post it or write something else.

Synchronicity seemed to take over as last night a couple of people shared that post on Facebook and my stats blew up out of nowhere.

I felt I needed to let people know I am OK. So, here I am- I am OK.

And that, I guess is the ever changing part of the moods of motherhood.

In any given day of motherhood I can jump from joy to fear to giddiness to worry to brightness to exhaustion to gratitude to the depths of despair to smugness to pulling my hair out to laughing my ass off to Jesus Mary and Holy Saint Joseph what did you do?

On a day to day basis, the moods of motherhood can be influenced by our desire to just get through the day. It is in ensuring our kid/s hierarchy of needs are met that our own are left behind. Every now and then, when you are in the eye of the storm, you stop for a moment and time stands still while you gaze at a little face and you feel it.

You feel that intense, primal love.

Your soul stirs from it’s slumber as you float in timeless awe of creation.

In the flash of a ticking clock you are back in time and someone is screaming, someone’s nappy is leaking shit everywhere, the kitchen looks like a bomb hit it, the dog is tapping her bowl for food, you really really need to go pee, still and the phone is ringing.

That eye of the storm moment, that is what I live for. That is what nourishes me and I will endure all the moods of motherhood just to receive it.

How about you? How would you describe your favourite moment or mood of motherhood?

To read more blogposts on The Moods of Motherhood and to enter a competition to win one of five copies of the book click here.


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Children learn what they live by Dorothy Law Nolte

I love this piece. I keep it on my windowsill to remind me.

It reminds me of many things but mostly it reminds me that I am the adult in the relationship and have a responsibility. It’s hard. It’s hard controlling my own emotions and behaviour. It’s hard biting my tongue and forcing myself to be energetic and awake when I am actually just shattered. It’s hard to let go of the guilt for everytime I fail at the above. Despite all this, I believe trying is good enough. We are not perfect but can certainly try to improve ourselves and I will teach my children this.

A view from my kitchen sink

            A view from my kitchen sink

Children Learn What They Live
By Dorothy Law Nolte


If children live with criticism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.
If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972/1975 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
This is the author-approved short version.


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Three minute mindfulness

This is the first of a series of three minutes of peace I am taking for myself and hoping you might join in too.

So, if you find a quiet moment or are having one of those days and in desperately in need of one, try to switch off for just three minutes.

Invite the kids to lie down and just relax (this may or may not work depending on their energy levels). Elf will take or leave these moments and I can never predict when she will get involved.

If you are at work, pop your earphones in and face the light (if you are lucky enough to be at a window or working outdoors).

Become aware of your breath. Take a few deep, slow ones then regulate it to what is comfortable.

Imagine the air being like a deep green mist and you inhale it, bringing it down itno your heart. Imagine this green light is cleansing your inner being similar to how our green trees clean our air. Soaking up tension, frustration, imbalance and replacing it with relaxation, peace and perfect balance.

photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

photo credit: blmiers2 via photopin cc

Be aware of your shoulders. Tense them up and then let them go. Do this a few times until you get a sense of calm.

Plant your feet on the ground. Imagine you are a giant oak tree and your roots are growing from your feet deep into the Earth.

Visualize your mind sinking down into your heart, your heart opening like a beautiful flower. And just stay put in this moment for a couple of minutes.

Today, this song really brought me down to Earth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCHqXuuWI8E

If you are not into sitting down and stopping, you can still do this exercise. I do it every day when I am out walking. Tell me, what centres you?