As 2017 begins, and we embark on the challenge and joy of overseas adventures, I have opportunity to quickly reflect on an important aspect of 2016 and look ahead towards 2017....
[Travelogue: we have holidayed at our mountain village house in Lenggris, skied in the midst of Grass and then heaps and heaps of fresh snow! Cheered on both nations at the France V German Ice Hockey match (U19women teams). We have taken a horse & carriage ride, gone on a lantern walk in the snow. We welcomed in the new year with a heart warming wood fire BBQ in the snow, and enjoyed the comforts of warm spiced wine. We have spent quality family time and made a few new friends. As of yesterday, we are back based in Munich].
As 2017 begins, and we embark on the challenge and joy of overseas adventures, I have opportunity to quickly reflect on an important aspect of 2016 and look ahead towards 2017.
Back in January 2016, looking ahead at the year to come, 'Parenting - as a meditation' settled in as one of my working themes and aspirations for 2016. Frustratingly for Dave, calmingly for me - it was clear early on that this was a 'feeling into it' 'sitting with it in meditation' kind of aspiration. Minimal specific actions, goals or things to try. So in various ways parenting weaved its way into my meditation, and vice versa. From setting a related Intention in seated mediation practice, to releasing the frustrations through Lions Breath roar, or adjusting the timing of my calming rest Yoga Nidra practice to just before the kids tumbled off the school bus; thus maximising my capacity for a calming presence. Parenting had calm and chaotic moments, imperfect and glimpses of perfect. Some months it was highly present and practised - on other occasions largely absent and distracted.
Right now - some specifics seem called for. As I see it, there is always a place for both - the Heart: underlying energy, ethic, intuition, and the Head: specific 'to try' goals and actions.
We are travelling once again. A week or so ago we arrived in Munich-Germany. We shared Christmas with family who live here and will base here for the next two months. We were bleary eyed to begin with. Children and Parents alike waking at 4am, as our body adjusted to the time zone.
On some days our travel has an open and expansive nature - no day to day comitments or responsibilites to fill up the day, no busy busy schedule. There is nothing else to do, no where else to be. Just spaciousness. Other days there is tightness, timelines and drawn out moments - trains or planes to catch, coordinating with the variables of others, long days with unforseen delays .
Always there is change, unknowns and difference.
Always there is opportunity and a need for focused, conscious parenting. Parenting that benefits our kids, us two parents and adds spark and cohesivness to our experiences. This family of four is the glue that holds our travel adventure together. With a deep breath, some conversation that connects us, a lightness of perspective and cuddles or smiles to support the challenge, the space opens up and we all feel the benefit of each others efforts, good spirits and company.
But this is a full picture - not a perfect picture. There has been much disagreement. A ski day full of delays, arguments and preparations - leaving a short 20mins on the slopes. Jiggling, complaints and groaning as we wait in queues. Fingers freezing screaming times. Resistance to skiing (sigh, yes I know - you read correctly. After day 5 on the skis the kids understandably wanted a day off - it took me a while to agree!). Grumpy tired hungry times. Behaviours and responses that impact us all.
These times prompt the questions, the reflections, the learning that comes from challenge. And so far we are doing a fair job of responding and enjoying all that comes our way.
For this travel journey, Dave and I are also are taking up the baton of schooling the kids. Whoa! that will be a story for a future blog. All to say right now - this responsibility certainly has an impact on our parenting energies.
For 2017 we will add some specifics, suggestions, strategies to try.
Brene Brown's wonderful Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto has long been on my radar. We will use it as our touchstone. Lets see what those lovely words mean for us in action.
If you fancy an audio version (as is often my preference) you can listen to Brene Brown reading her Parenting Manifesto.
Brene Brown also has a current focus a new parenting collection that focuses on how we raise courageous children and build messy, beautiful, wholehearted families. To transform the way we raise our children and make the world a braver place. The link to access this program is here.
In addition to several terse and swear-word infused conversations, we two parents have also managed to connect caringly. Sharing how we are traveling, what we are feeling, what learning we want to prioritise and weave into the kids experiences. Keeping up these conversations - perhaps without the Fbomb preamble - is a great specific thing to do.
Our 'school of life' schooling will probably have the most specific defined ideas. We are sitting down as a family to flesh that out today. Our German cousins return to school tomorow - the perfect opportunity for us to begin to weave some 'formal' learning into the rich and informal experiences that surround us.
Personal reflection is perhaps at the cornerstone for my own parenting. The more conscious and aware I am, the more I can offer to others - my kids included. To continue with the Brene Brown theme, these New Year reflection prompts came through on her blog:
1. What do I want more of in my life?
2. How do I let go of what’s no longer serving me?
3. What will make me feel more alive? Braver?
4. At the end of every day and at the end of every year, I need to know that I contributed more than I criticized. How have I contributed and what will that look like moving forward?
My quick word reflection on this: 1. More? Joy 2. How to Let go? Breath out deeply. 3. Feel more alive? Braver?Breath in deeply. Breath life in. 4. Contribution? The concept and practice of 'a natural space to be'. Moving forward? Sharing this with others in the day to day.
Best wishes with your own journeys for 2017 - whatever they may be. Wunderbar! gratitude to the ideas - and realities - of raising conscious, caring, perfectly-imperfect kind of kids. Kind and curious towards themselves, each other and the world.
This blog space is for sporadic sharing...
I enjoy this forum for writing, reflection, sharing. And, at other times I am out bush or in-life and don't venture online. I take guidance from the heart and head in relation to my online connectivity. See you here monthly or so.
The Natural Space to be
Blog: Natural NoticingS