Day 6: The call: ‘Don’t worry but…’

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I think I was on my way home from work when I got the call.  The schools number flashed up, and I hoped it was just admin.  But it was one of those calls you hope not to get.  When you hear the words ‘now, don’t worry but…’ the first thing you do is worry!

‘Charlie’s been hit on the head, it was an accident.  There’s quite a gash and its bleeding quite profusely.  We thought you might want to take him to A&E.’

Charlie had been playing football with his mates when another pupil threw a broken hairbrush handle and it hit him on the head, sharp end first.

I drove as carefully as I could, trying to stay calm, not speed.  When I arrived to collect him he looked a mess – heads bleed so much!  The staff had patched him up with a dressing but it needed looking at.  Our doctors is very close to the school but closed that afternoon.  I telephoned the sister surgery, not too far away.  Could I bring him there?  A&E seemed a bit of overkill.  It had stopped bleeding, just needed a check.  They said come straight here.

Luckily the practice nurse had a paramedic there on a training day and they had everything ready for him when we got there.  They cleaned him up and stuck his head back together, checked he wasn’t concussed – maybe a little bit (but hard to tell as he loves a drama and was lapping up the attention!)  He had a nice clean dressing and went home asking if we could stop at the shop on the way home for ice-cream!

The school were at pains to tell me that it had been an accident but the pupil had been reprimanded for throwing things.  Charlie had already told them not to worry, he knew it was an accident, held no grudges and neither did I.  Accidents happen. Children do daft things and learn from the consequences.  Charlie had got a day and a half off school, ice cream and lots of attention – he was fine!

Stay safe!

Namaste,

Steph x

Day 5: Bloody Mother’s Day

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Mothers Day 2020 was going to be a bit weird anyway, with Corona 19 starting to turn the world upside down.  I drove to see my Mum (from a distance) and leave her a card and present.   I’d just got there when I had a call from Harrison saying “I’ve cut my thumb – quite badly, there’s a lot of blood.”  He was on a shore, the closest I could drive was a 10 minute walk away from where he was, which was 20 minutes from where I was.  I told him to keep calm – he was anyway.  I told him to wrap anything he had around it – he’d already wrapped his t-shirt round it.  I told him to put pressure on and  elevate it – he was.  Thank You Scouts for the first aid training!

We left my Mum a bit dazed at our fleeting visit and drove to the closest point we could and got out to walk, but there he was trudging along the footpath.

When we got him home and had a look it was a deep cut, but not too deep.  No major damage, no tendons severed (I assumed as he still had full movement). He’d also got a small cut on his finger but not so bad.  We decided not to put extra pressure on theNHS and keep ourselves away from potential Covid exposure and not go to A&E.  I cleaned it up and applied Steri-strips to hold it together, put a clean dressing on and hoped that the strips didn’t fall off as they were the only ones we had.

How did he do it?  splitting the end of a stick with his knife to push a flint he’d knapped into the end to make an arrow.  His knife was sharper and more efficient than he thought and split the whole stick – and his thumb and finger.

A whole range of parental emotions comes over you at times like this – mainly relief he’s ok along with annoyance at the stupidity of his actions, being mildly impressed that he knew how to make a flint arrow, glad of his clear thinking and sensible actions (after the daft ones!), gratitude for his immediate understanding that he’d been a bit daft (no need for lectures and punishment) and for his apology and humour at his enjoyment of a bloody T-shirt.

He apologised for causing inconvenience, then used the bloody T-shirt to create an apocalypse costume!  The total randomness of a teenage boy never ceases to amaze me!

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Stay safe,

Namaste,

Steph x

Day 4:Comfortable in Their Own Skin

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One of the main things I’ve always wished for my children is to be comfortable in their own skin.  To be happy in themselves and able to express themselves.

I love that these two couldn’t care less what people think about them in this picture.  They’re confident enough in themselves to let people think what they like.

Someone at school once told Harrison he was gay for having long hair, his reaction was to laugh and say something along the lines of ‘yeah, wanna kiss?’    It stopped any potential bullying in its tracks, he clearly didn’t care what they thought and embraced the idea that his appearance caused people to question their perceptions.

They’ve got long hair because thats how they like it.  Their appearance might challenge stereotypes but that must be a good thing.

They’re wearing lipstick and eyeshadow because they were mucking about with mates in the dressing room at youth theatre.  Truth be told I suspect it might have been a good excuse to get closer to some of those mates!  There was a mix of girls and boys there, they’re all great friends and if someone them end up more than mates then what a wonderful way to progress from friendships to romantic relationships.  The gender doesn’t matter.  The way they all look out for each other, support each other and have a great time together is what matters.

Namaste,

Steph x

Day 3: Never-ending piles of stuff.

Not attractive, Insta worthy photo’s.  But I do sometimes share this type of image on social media in the interests of honesty.  It’s the reality of family life.  The bit that people don’t really own up to when they feel like they have to live up to the perfection that is portrayed on Social media.

Lets be honest we all have moments of chaos and mess – don’t we?  I hope it’s not just me!    It’s impossible not to create endless piles of washing up, laundry and ‘stuff’ that needs to be put away.  That work is never ‘done’ – while you’re sorting out one pile another one is building up.

It’s easy to look upon it as drudgery, endless, thankless tasks.  But it’s a by product of a busy life, not having time to keep on top of it means we must be spending our time doing more interesting, fun or fulfilling things.

I’m always happy to welcome friends and family into our home (When we’re not social distancing in the midst of a global pandemic!) but they have to take us as they find us.  I like clean and tidy surroundings but if our visitors  happen to find us in a not tidy moment, that’s fine.  They came to see us, not give us marks out of 10 for housework (or if they did that’s weird to me but whatever makes them happy!).

Life will slow down one day, we won’t have to work so much and the children will have their own homes.  We’ll have all the time in the world to keep on top of chores then and we’ll probably miss the chaos and hustle and bustle of this stage of our lives.

Now I’d better go and fold the washing – or maybe I’ll have a cup of tea first.

 

 

Day 2: Lessons in Sport

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I was never into sport, I was uncoordinated and not competitive.  I was always picked last for rounders at school and found P.E. lessons an exercise in humiliation.  To be forced to do something you feel rubbish at, while wearing the shortest skirt imaginable  and no such thing as a sports bra, in front of all those lithe sporty types sniggering at my poor efforts. – The memory makes me go hot and prickly with the shame even now.

So marrying someone who was really sporty was a total eye opener –  I discovered that sport was not just about crushing humiliation and body shame but it was about team spirit, camaraderie, overcoming, determination, positive mental attitude and lots of other great things.  My husband told me  that playing sport was some of the best moments of his life and I could see the positive influence that it had on his life.  He had formed life long friendships and developed strong personal values while playing basketball.

I remember being stunned when at a very young age – having just learned to walk, Charlie watched his aunty throwing a ball in the air and catching it, he took the ball from her and threw it up in the air and caught it.  I was surprised enough that people actually do that for fun! but then to see my own flesh and blood not only interested but good at it was quite a shock!  Charlie’s first word was ‘ball’.  He’s not put one down for very long ever since that first throw and catch.

Being a basketball Mum mainly involves lots of driving to practice and sitting in dark, cold carparks during training sessions several times a week. But it’s worth it.  To see Charlie develop a good work ethic (at the things he wants to succeed in!).  To watch as he forms friendships and enjoys team spirit is so rewarding.  Last season we watched his team lose over and over again and take it on the chin with good grace every time.  I was so proud to see them shake hands with their opponents and their coaches, thanking the officials, conducting themselves with dignity.  What amazing life skills.  His team definitely learned a lot about how to be the underdog with style! But that first win!! The joy and triumph on their faces made it all worth while.  I found myself shedding a tear with the other Mums on the sidelines – me crying over sport! Who’d have thought?!

My inner child (who is still scared of performing in any way) was amazed at how they could be so determined, so enthusiastic still after all those losses, to keep turning up and trying so hard.  Inspiring stuff.

Sport has not only given Charlie so much, it’s taught me a lot too.

He’s really missing it at the moment (for future readers this is 2020 Corona Lockdown).  He’s not able to play with his team mates but the sound of the bounce and swish in the garden has become the soundtrack to our lives.  I know that even while he can’t play,  his passion and drive is still there waiting for the day that the basketball courts reopen and his team can play together again.

Namaste,

Steph x

 

10 pictures in 10 Days challenge. Day 1 ‘Playing with Fire’

(And a brief chat with my imposter syndrome).

There have been a lot of Facebook 10 pictures in 10 days challenges around recently.  I don’t usually do these things or pay them much attention but they are filling my Facebook feed with more joyful pictures than the fake news and miserable real news and all the other rubbish that I scroll past.

I got ‘nominated’ to do a ‘Being a Mum’ challenge.  Where I was instructed to select a picture each day that represented a day in the life of being a “Mum”.   The instructions are “10 days, 10 photos, 10 nominations, 0 explanations.  I got round the nominations by nominating anyone who wants to do it’ each day.  But the 0 explanations – that was hard!

I found there was so much I wanted to say about these images.  To express and share.  So now I’ve finished the challenge I’m putting the images and words together here….

Day 1,  Playing with Fire!97029756_10158633004129365_6549698918786007040_n

My children, like most, have a fascination with the world.  Investigating, prodding things to see what will happen.  It starts with mixing mud and climbing trees when they’re little and gets more scary and dangerous as they grow! As a parent it’s hard to sit back and let them learn for themselves, to watch them do things that are risky and trust that you’ve taught them to evaluate risks for themselves.  Hope that if it goes wrong that it doesn’t go too wrong and that the consequences aren’t too harsh.  It’s difficult to silently observe, presenting a calm and supportive exterior while inside you’re saying ‘why can’t you just take my word for it?’ and ‘ For goodness sake be careful!’ then trying ever so hard not to say ‘I told you so’ when their fingers burn.

Young people will always want to find out for themselves, to experience life on their own terms. We just have to hope that we’ve equipped them with the sense and tools to get them through their adventures reasonably unscathed.  I find that because I let my children explore and discover life for themselves, they feel comfortable being open with me about it.  They tell me what they’re up to, let me know where they’re going, what they’ll be doing and what they have done. There are boundaries obviously (if they didn’t have those to push against, they wouldn’t feel so secure), but they know that they can discuss limits with me and there’ll always be room for negotiation.  Because I’d rather know where they are and what they’re doing, even if I don’t approve, than them feel trapped, unable to be the full expression of themselves or have to lie.  I may have moments when I worry that they’ll remember my advice and guidance and be sensible when it really matters but I do trust them.  And because I let them know that they are worthy of my trust, that makes them trustworthy.

So ‘Playing With Fire’ speaks of my faith in my own parenting and in my children’s ability to negotiate life.

(In the interest of being open and honest: The old familiar imposter syndrome is kicking in here saying Ha! it works so far! – It could all blow up in my face one day!’, ‘who do you think you are to be so smug about your parenting – you’re setting yourself up for a fall!’ and it’s right – It could all go ‘tits up’ at any moment but then so could any area of life.  And so I say to you imposter syndrome – I  know that I’ve done my best with what knowledge and resources I have and what is within my control – the rest is… fate?, destiny?….Life!).

Day 2 to follow soon, in the meantime stay safe, stay healthy and raise each other up.

Namaste,

Steph x

 

 

 

 

Corona Virus, Alien invasion, a Golden Opportunity.

I’ve often fantasised about what it would take to change the world for the better, bring about World Peace and heal Mother Earth.  I envisioned, an Alien invasion, forcing world leaders to bury their differences and work together.  People would be tolerant and supportive of one another.  Compassion and kindness would abound.  People would look at the world around them, nature and all living things, with new appreciation and want to protect and preserve it.  The whole world united with a common goal.  There would be difficulty and sadness yes, but it would be an opportunity to press the reset button and start again.  To change our ways for better and for good.
This Corona Virus could be our Alien Invasion.  This global pandemic is our golden opportunity to come together in peace and hope, to work for a common good for all life.
Are we each going to take our own responsibility? Are we going to show compassion and kindness? play our part, do the work we know will help?  Can we fill this scary and uncertain time with loving thoughts and kind deeds instead of fear, judgement and scaremongering?  Have we got what it takes to rise above all previous disharmony in order to work together?  Can we humans make the positive change necessary to move through this in the best way possible?  And when its all over and we are left with the grief and the relief, and we are rebuilding our lives and communities will we carry that positivity forward?
I am a strong believer that Love wins over fear every time, keep the faith, keep the Love.
Stay safe, stay healthy and raise each other up,
Namaste,
Steph Earthbound Soulprint

February Thoughts

February sees the very first early signs of spring for us in the Northern Hemisphere.  The days are slowly getting longer and I have been delighted to spot the first snowdrops and know that this means the Earth is quickening, awaking from it’s winter sleep.  As the Earth awakes and prepares herself for new growth we are reminded to make plans for our own blossoming.  It is around now that I feel the urge to purge, declutter and make space for what’s to come; so spring cleaning begins.  
Imbolc Blessings
If you are still feeling the Winter blues try some of these tips to put yourself in a Spring mindset and the spring back in your step:

 

1, Get outside for a walk, find a peaceful spot and stop.  Breathe in the fresh air, look around you at nature awakening from her winter sleep.  Use as many senses as you can to experience this peaceful moment and let it refresh and energise you.

2, Sit with a journal and a cup of herbal tea – something citrusy and zingy would be good, (or whatever you like to drink).  Write a list of everything that you’re looking forward to this year.  These don’t have to be huge unattainable goals, just little things that make you happy like family celebrations, trips out, the changing of the seasons, days off, new challenges, time spent with loved ones, new books, films and music, decorating or reorganising your living space; whatever excites and enthuses you. Revisit this list when you’re feeling low to remind you of everything you love and give you a positive focus.

3, Put on some music and sing and dance, no one’s watching, let yourself go!

4, Light a candle or two (safely) to remind you of the returning daylight.  You could also try candle gazing: empty your mind, stare at the flame for a few minutes and see what imaged and thoughts drift into your consciousness.

5, Do  something creative, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece just enjoy creatively expressing yourself: doodle, draw, paint, use modelling clay, bake, cook, write, craft, do colouring, photography, scrapbooking, sing, dance, act.  Whatever it is try to do it away from technology or social media.  You are a wonderful creative, expressive, perfectly imperfect human being and you’re looking to express that, enjoy an inner connection away from any toxicity from technology and social media.

6, Meditate.  It’s not as hard or as time consuming as you might think.  Just relax, close your eyes, take some deep breaths then spend a few minutes visualising a beautiful spring day, see the blue sky and the green plants, feel the sun on your skin and the grass under your feet, smell the grass and the flowers, hear the birdsong and insects, lose yourself in Spring… rouse yourself gently and ground yourself by stamping your feet a few times before carrying on with your day.

7, Cleanse and purify your space by clearing out the clutter.  Burn incense or open a window to let in fresh air.  To help you decide what to chuck when decluttering repeat this affirmation to yourself: ‘If it doesn’t nourish my soul, I don’t need it” – Disclaimer – Obviously be sensible here, don’t throw away your vacuum cleaner because it doesn’t fill you with joy and then blame me when your floor is dusty! But just bear in mind that we do tend to hold on to a lot of possessions for security when actually making space would make us happier.

8, Move stuff around.  Gove yourself a fresh perspective and reorganise your space.  Move furniture and decor, re-hang pictures and mirrors in new places.  Changing things up can allow you to view your ‘stuff’ in new ways, proving you don’t always have to spend loads of money on new things to refresh and re-energise your space.

9, Pick or buy yourself some flowers that cheer you.  Or if flowers are not your thing put up some artwork that you love (a greetings card or image from a magazine would do).  Repaint a wall in a colour that makes you smile, put a new cosy cushion on your chair, use a scented candle, (remember to check out charity shops for homeware bargains), wear that favourite outfit, whatever it is, do something that makes your surroundings feel nurturing and happy.

10, Spend time with people who light you up and setter conversations away from things that you find draining.  Yes we need to address important issues but talking about the state of the world today ad nauseam just exhausts and depresses you (especially without actually taking action).  If you can’t or won’t change something give yourself a break from it and focus on something positive for a while.

11, Spend time doing what you love.  Don’t feel guilty about it, you deserve it and it’s helping you be happier person, which in turn can only be a good thing for you and those around you, those positive vibes ripple out.

I hope these ideas are helpful, I’d love to know which ones work for you add anything else you find that works to lift your spirits.

Some good affirmations for February:
I am open to change.
I let go of the need to control, I am open to positive suggestions.
I will not worry about what I cannot change.
I choose to see the bright side of life
 
I Love life and life loves me.
I am open to excitement and adventure.
I choose positive change.
I remain calm and balanced in the face of challenge.
I allow spring to inspire me.
Repeating affirmations helps you to replace unhelpful thoughts with more nurturing ones.  To help you remember you could write them on pieces of paper and stick them up or set an alarm on your phone to remind you.  If these affirmations don’t resonate with you create your own.  Remember to make it positive (stating what you do want, not what you don’t want) and in the present tense as though it is already true.   Repeat as often as you need to.
Wishing you a fantastic February.
Namaste,
Steph

A Card Reading As We Head Into 2020

I’ve drawn three cards for us to think about going into 2020…

 

Dance – Find your hearts rhythm. Step lightly and swing with the melody. Close your eyes and let joy lead the way. – Telling us to go with the flow, allow ourselves to follow our heart and be happy that life is not supposed to be all hard times and challenges and even when it is there is still joy to be found.  Your hearts rhythm is your own unique vibe and it is important to get to know and love it.  

 

Partnership – Learn to grow with others.  Overcome obstacles by working together. Touch each other’s hearts while life lasts.  – This card reminds us that we are not alone, that ‘no man is an island’ and that by working together we can achieve great things.  It is time for humans to put aside old differences and co-operate in order to build a happy and healthy future for ourselves and our home, the Earth.  This seems like a daunting task but it begins with each individual in small gestures.  Forgive the person who cuts in front of you, smile at the person who serves you in a shop, help someone in a small way, find community projects to volunteer at, get friends together and have a good time – Raise each other up.

 

Prosperity – Focus on the positive and more good will come.  Give thanks for blessings and they will multiply.  Prosperity begins in the mind.  This card asks us to approach life with a positive mindset and this can be done by focusing on the good things in life.  True wealth is in the good and happy moments.  Focusing on gratitude has huge benefits for our wellbeing and also attracts more to be grateful for.

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This card reading was taken from ‘Magical Times Empowerment cards’ by Jody Bergsma.

A depth year. How I changed my clothes shopping habits.

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Last year I did what is known as a ‘depth year’, which basically means not buying new things but instead going deeper into what you already own.  People usually pick an area to focus on during a depth year such as books, clothes, make-up, tools, stationery; whatever they tend to overspend on or have more than enough of.
I chose clothes for my depth year.  I’ve never been a fashion conscious super shopper but clothes were definitely the thing I would buy for a ‘pick-me-up’ and I had accumulated more than I needed or had space for.
You choose your own rules for your depth year so my rules were:
EmojiStart the year by going through all clothes and donating/recycling any that don’t fit/suit anymore.
EmojiOnly buy new clothes as replacement for necessary staples.
Emoji‘One in, one out’ system in the wardrobe.
EmojiRepair all clothes at least once before taking to clothing bank.
EmojiWear all clothes owned, what’s not worn gets donated (excluding ‘dressy dresses’ and very seasonal clothes)
EmojiWhen shopping for replacement items look for Fair trade, eco friendly fabrics.
EmojiLook in charity shops before buying new, especially for non essential items.
EmojiNo fast fashion panic buys as a confidence boost before going out.
EmojiNo ‘retail therapy’ buys to cheer myself up (there are many other ways I can cheer myself up if needed).
What I discovered from my depth year:
My wardrobe edit at the start of the year was not thorough enough and I need to do it again and be stricter with myself this time.
Other people don’t notice very much what you’re wearing.  I might have known that I was wearing the same thing I wore last time I saw them but everyone else is busy worrying about their own appearance and not noticing mine.  If other people did notice, it wasn’t an awful thing.
I owned several pairs of jeans at the start of the year and they all got holes/ripped seams at some point which I mended at least once before throwing them away and not replacing them straight away meant I wore other things more, getting more monies worth out of each piece of clothing.  I didn’t replace every pair as I realised I don’t actually need that many.
Having less clothes in general means wearing garments more often.  This helped me figure out which brands wash well, are the most hard wearing, last longer and are therefore better value for money.
Clothes shopping became a challenge in a new and exciting way.
I looked forward to buying a new item, guilt free because I knew I really needed it.
Finding 100% natural fibres or fair trade clothing is not easy, but more high street shops are doing more of this kind of thing now due to demand. It felt good that my choices were helping to drive that positive change.
Dressing to socialise was a challenge and I had to confront some confidence issues that would normally have been glossed over by buying a new top to feel good in.  This part I admit was not easy and I did find going out feeling dressed a bit out of my comfort zone was not a great feeling but it forced me to get over myself and realise that I was going out to meet friends and have a nice time with them, it wasn’t about how I look or feel about my appearance, it was about connections with others, fun and good times.  My depth year helped me to focus on what is really important to me.
True friends couldn’t care less what you’re wearing or how you look.
I like wearing dresses but tend to wear jeans most of the time because of my lifestyle and the type of work that some of my jobs involve, but having less clothes to choose from has impressed upon me that it is still important to me to make the most of the times when I get to dress in a more expressive way and in my own individual style.
I had held on to a lot of stuff ‘just in case’ but keeping a pair of jeans I used to feel good wearing, just in case I ever fit in them again was giving me a sense of failure rather than motivation.  Ironically, getting rid of them and letting go of those pressures and expectations and replacing them with trying to accept myself as I am has put me in a much better place to approach getting healthier from.
Only owning clothes that fit and suit me now, in this moment is a more mindful and present way of being.
I feel good and a great sense of control when I walk away from what would have previously been an impulse buy.
What feels like a totally necessary and life changing garment will usually be totally forgotten about as soon as I leave the shop.
I have saved money.
I have lost the urge to shop for fun.  Shopping is still fun but I don’t feel an unhealthy need to spend to feel better.  What is fun about shopping now is going with a friend and hunting the charity shops for treasure.
Buying a few decent, well made, good quality pieces that suit me are better value in the long run than lots of cheap, poor quality, short lived fashion items.  (Better for the environment too).  I’d now rather save up and look forward to getting one thing that I will really enjoy than buy a new item every time I go out.  
Will I be carrying on the depth year into 2020?
Yes I’ll certainly keep to the rule of replacing staple items on a one in one out basis.  I’ll also be repairing garments to get more wear from them before throwing them away.  I have already treated myself to a couple of dresses in the January sale and I know I’ll love wearing them but will continue to avoid those panic buys to boost my confidence as I know in the long run, not being able to rely on those will build my resilience and force me to dig deeper into how to feel better about myself.  Reiki and mindfulness have helped a lot already and I’m grateful to have those tools on this long and winding journey of self discovery and acceptance. 
If you’re interested in doing a depth year of your own there’s lots of ideas online about it but remember you do it for your own reasons and to your own rules.  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.
Namaste,
Steph