Fittingly, this post has taken an age to write. Because life moves so fast.
Elvie is weeks away from starting school. Thank goodness. It’s impossible to keep her sufficiently entertained at home anymore. She gets bored. And restless. Which leads to this…
(Yes, it’s Sudocrem. Yes, it did come out. Yes, it took five washes. And yes, it was almost instantly replaced by Pritt Stick.)
…and also this…
(Yes, it’s lipstick. Yes, it did (just about) come out. Yes, it took an hour of (Wes’) elbow grease. And yes, our bedroom floor really is that filthy. You’re welcome.)
She’s non-stop. All the time. And it seems Joel is determined to follow in her footsteps. He is running, jumping, dancing and talking. All. Day. Long. Not only that, he’s decided to drop his nap. His last precious nap. That tiny pause of childfree time in my day.
All things considered, it’s a little frantic round here at the moment. Even on the good days. It is hard, hard work. And my brain is paying the price.
I just need a rest. All the time. Even I know that’s not feasible.
A few weeks ago I got invited to join a mindfulness course. Three Wednesday nights of peace, quiet and meditation.
To be honest, I would have gone if it was flower pressing, or three intensive weeks of badger spotting. Just the chance of a cup of tea in a calm, dimly lit room on the other side of town from bedtime. Heaven.
I didn’t really know what mindfulness was. I just knew that I needed to do it. Right now.
Within ten minutes I realised that this was my sanctuary. Flickering candles, meditations, prayers, quiet conversation.
No agenda. No to do list. No expectations.
An entire hour in the week when all I needed to do was breathe.
An entire hour in the week when I felt at peace. With myself. With my family. With the world.
An entire hour in the week to be myself. Stripped back, uncomplicated, honest. Without saying a word.
It was, needless to say, a gorgeous experience. I won’t be the only one mourning the end of the course over the next few weeks. Or the only one desperately trying to figure out how to build it into my everyday life.
Because, far from translating seemlessly into a calmer, more peaceful life, those three hours of mindfulness have only served to highlight the stressed-out, manic nature of my day-to-day existence.
The pointless pressures I put on myself. The unrealistic expectations that I live by. That I put on my children.
It’s only during these last three weeks that I’ve become aware of the predominant theme of this blog. Whether it’s been dealing with Christmas, tidying shelves or packing away the things that I ‘should’ be.
It’s all been driven by an unconscious awareness, hidden somewhere in the back of my mind, that life is too fast and too complicated.
That happiness doesn’t come from being busy. That it’s ok to be completely out of touch with the ‘must-watch’ tv series of the moment. That nobody will die as a direct result of me not changing my Facebook status every day. That sometimes, often times, simple is best.
Thankfully, I’m not alone in this. Last weekend Wes had an epiphany which, if he agrees, I’ll post here soon.
Turns out we both need slow and simple. He’s a keeper.
I’m still trying to work out what it means. In practical terms. I’m tentatively writing something of a manifesto. It’s a work in progress. But when it’s ready, I’ll share it.
I’m hoping that this blog will be a companion to our snail-pace journey. A tiny record of an attempt at simpler living. With stories about beans on toast. And poo. Obviously.
Slow. Simple. Honest.
It’s a revolution just waiting to happen.
And I think it’s exactly what we need.