Have you seen the youtube video where the mum is hiding in the locked bathroom eating chocolates out of a Tampax box? It’s hilarious! I love that she is hiding, that she is in the bathroom, AND that it’s a really benign treat such as chocolate, not even alcohol or a ciggy, that she still needs to hide to consume! SO TRUE! It could even be a carrot stick, though. The treat really is in the space.
SPACE! With young ones, middle sized ones, and then caring for parental ones, we need to find space! It’s a human need (possibly an animal one, judging by the way our cousins’ cats would run away when we, the farm cousins would come to stay!) that we need to plan for. Sometimes the space is filled with work, a film, a catch up with someone else and while not constituting ‘space’ in the sense of emptiness, it does fulfill the concept of ‘me time’. Other times it is the treasured quiet, the breathing space, and time for peaceful contemplation, journaling, or blissful meditation.
Planning may take the form of ultra feeding your children so they can’t possibly disturb you with cries of hunger. As Babyology founder confessed to throwing a box of Cheezles down the stairs in order to keep her children occupied for 34 minutes of phone calls, you too can plan for a lengthy session of child-led feeding while harmonising with your adult-led soul feeding. It may mean setting a timer to go off at agreed upon intervals to enable children to take turns playing whatever is in flavour without cries of ‘MUMMMM – It’s MY TURN!!!!! every two minutes, helps set your own timer.
Question is, will that be enough, and can we actually shut off from those we are caring for when they’re around? I argue yes and no - not helpful but honest. If we can’t find time in any other way, we NEED to make this work, so first ‘yes’, is about detaching from the hyper-ness of the organising and letting it work as is. In the 5 – 10 minutes a day that you may find some peace, if it has to be rigidly organised and almost in a Houdini-style fashion, then it is such an adrenalin rush I feel it juxtaposes the outcome. The second answer, no, is harder to achieve but it’s again about prioritising and giving this the level of necessity it requires. If there is a partner, we need them to step up. Not saying they don’t already or that they need to take over, but partners do need to support this and recognise the value in order to remove any guilt or self-sabotage. No partner? Then we have the added need to see this as a necessity and may need to reach out a bit further for the help.
1. What is the timeframe and a reality in a daily routine. For those who do yoga, run, meditate, walk – how long do you need for a real session? Schedule it in as you would an appointment for a Doctor or Therapy session. It is as important.
2. What is required in terms of resources and/or caring arrangements?Practically speaking can this take place while children are asleep, when you are already alone, or do you need to hire a babysitter, ask for support during a regular time of day, or can the children attend a class somewhere at the same time? Cheezles won’t cut it for long!
3. Make this an authentic space, and an authentic ‘appointment’ that is unable to be broken, but may be changed if necessary. The more it becomes part of your routine, the more others in your life will respect your time, and you will start to notice real change.
4. Schedule some reflection points. Lock in two or three sessions with yourself to see how effective the space is. Is it meeting your needs? Have you been consistent? Are there any changes required to the routine – the time, the method, the location of your space time.
What are the changes you will expect to see? At first it may be euphoria, which like anything creating natural endorphins and releasing cortisol, will be blissful at first, but near on impossible to achieve in quite the same way ever again. This may mean after the second time, we may slow our enthusiasm, and indeed wane from the new routine. As with anything, we need to keep going – to form a habit don’t they say repeat 21 times? That’s three weeks if every day, or six if every other day, or 21 weeks if weekly. You get the drift. PLAN it, lock it in.
So knowing this about the natural release of happy chemicals, means we can also plan to ‘just be’ in the space without seeking a special feeling other than that of wellbeing. If new to this, it may be like walking on egg shells at first. That feeling will start to go the more you practice. In time, you can expect to see things coming to you more naturally and organically. A trigger may no longer trigger you. You may have access to your pre-frontal cortex, and therefore a more measured response, that you perhaps thought lost in those sleep deprived years. You may start to see different perspectives. You may start to lose a lot of the analysis and over-thinking that plagues many a meditation in the early days! You may also discover choices come more easily. You may not mind change so much and find it easier to adapt. There may be a shift in recognising what you need to own in emotions, and those that you can let go. You may not feel so needy and in search of something, as you come more into your self. And you may find that you can let it all just happen as your amazing body, connects with your amazing mind, and you shift into an easy friendship between the two.
Authentic Space for me. Not impossible. Necessary. I leave you with this, shared and inspired by my own authentic Yoga Guru, Kim Lodge: You don’t need to create balance, it’s already there, existing for balanced mind, balanced physical body, and spirit. You just need to find it.
Love Sara x