The Grateful Now Project

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Never would I have thought that I’d sit down in my study/spare room/toy room to write about a little creative project, turn business venture that I’ve been working on over the past few months.  I can barely type a full sentence as my acrylic nails are too darn long, however my ripped and torn nails were not fit for a photography session I had today…. so acrylics it was!

Before I launch into that, I want to touch base on something.  If you’re a regular here, you’d know that well being is something I assess and monitor regularly in my life.  If something isn’t right I look at how it can be changed, or what can be done to fix it.  In saying that, this past month… not the case.

I really struggled.

I took a turn and things got pretty dark there for awhile.  It was scary, there were LOTS of tears, lots of really bad parenting moments and so much fear for the life I was ALLOWING unravel in front of me.  There was no self love, my morning walks had stopped, I was vacant and certainly had no intentions for each day.  Or if I did, they were never met!  The only thing that kept me going was a bit of gratitude reflection here and there – most certainly not every day.

I was exhausted.  From being a single parent, to going to work whenever Zoe went to her Dad, to monitoring the ingoings and outgoings and to everything else in between. I was running myself into the ground.  I kept thinking back to the last post I wrote and thought what utter bullshit – I am doing the opposite of everything I said I valued.  I felt I had let myself down. Yet again.  That whole thing of you can begin again anytime you want, was quite frankly getting old.  I had no trust in it anymore.  Or myself.

It wasn’t until one day I got a text from a close friend asking if there was anything I wanted to talk with her about.

It caught me a bit off guard!  I didn’t realise how bad I was at hiding it. But boy oh boy, did I have stuff to share.

Just thinking through what I’d want to speak to her about pulled me out of my fog and into that moment.  I remember it so well.  Zoe had gone down.  I was sitting on a cane chair in my bedroom, vacantly scrolling through something on the mac.

In that moment, something clicked and I was bought back into the reality of everything I lived for… but was ultimately not living.

The potential of being proactive in that present moment.

Within a few days, I had reached out and made appointments with a counsellor. I’d dropped a shift at work and I was slowly starting to see and feel that peaceful place that I knew existed in this world of mine.  I’ve got a lot more work to do, but with the help of some key people, no drugs*, just the natural highs from being in nature, and a shift in mindset, I know that this next 12 months is going to be life changing.

Who knows what actually happened there.  Wether or not I massively underestimated the 12 month milestone and how it would affect me.  Ending a certain way of life and the realities of my new one.

Or wether it was simply a few weeks of not checking in with myself, letting things build up.  Or allowing myself to be treated like rubbish in the dating world, or endless nights of broken sleep from a child that decided she wanted to start sleeping like a newborn again…who knows.  Whatever it was I’m so grateful that it all happened.

It has reminded me that no one has to do this alone!  No one.

Well that was a bit raw, so lets end on some exciting news!

As you may’ve seen snippets over the last week or so, Grateful Now is nearly here!!

This little business (of which I feel I need to put the word little in every time) was born from my own gratitude practice.  I often had people I was so grateful for, and I guess I just wanted them to know how much I appreciated them.  So I started making cards and would post them in the mail for friends and family to receive.  I knew how much joy it brought me, so I wanted to share it.  I wanted to make this SUPER easy for other people to do too.  This is how it all started.  I starting creating kits.  Kits presented in beautiful boxes that included the cards, the envelopes, the envelope seals, the postage stamps, beautiful quotes, and even a little cheat card of ways you can make sure you stay grateful and accountable. It has been so much fun creating beautiful card designs… not so fun trying to figure out how to create a website mind you!  All in all, we are neeeearly there.  I had such a fun morning with my photographer today, seeing all that I’ve been visualising and working towards for so long, finally coming into life.  I’ve ordered other special bits and pieces that will be for sale on the website too, however that part is a surprise!

I post on Instagram way more than I blog so head on over to my IG accounts to stay tuned!

@thegroundedmum

@gratefulnow_online

I’ll leave you with this beautiful quote my mum shared with me many years ago…

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you even when you have forgotten the words. – Dave Barry

Jen xo

*I just want to point out I have nothing against medication, or anyone that may be on it. It’s just not for me.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Separation. Twelve months on…

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I remember Christmas last year.  I had been separated maybe 10 weeks.  I was in Canberra with Zoe, and in a very different head space.  I was insecure, scared, vulnerable, embarrassed and had no idea what I was doing.  I was ultimatly getting by, one moment at a time.  I remember thinking to myself, I wonder what Christmas 2016 will be like.  Twelve months seemed an eternity away.  I wondered would I have a partner?  Would I be managing working and the emotions of letting Zoe go every fortnight?  Would I be further away from my ED mindset, or would it have a complete  hold of me?  Would I feel regretful and miserable because I’d made a huge mistake?

Here we are, nearly 12 months post separation and less than four months until Christmas 2016!  Insane. I instantly tear up at the thought of it coming up to 12 months ago that I moved out.  I had nothing but that gut feeling telling me that what I was doing was right.  I hoped with all that I had that this was the path for me, but like most things, there is no certainty!   It was one of the scariest things I’d ever done, which I think is why I feel a bit emotional about it.  To now reflect and feel like I have room within to finally get to know that side of me that I knew was there… waiting to be connected with for so long, I am extremely grateful.  The universe gives pretty blatantly obvious signs sometimes – you’ve just got to be open to see them.

Im sitting here writing from a beautiful apartment I’ve booked in Melbourne.  The weather is sunny, there is no agenda, and it has given Zoe and I some quality time together.  These days I’m learning it’s about quality and not quantity for the two of us.  I’d had a tough few days leading up to taking this break.  I felt a strong pull to get away and find some fun that was lacking.  Sometimes a break puts things into perspective.  I am so grateful that it was the right pay week and that I was able to make this happen.  Having this time to reflect on the weekend has shown me what I can take from those shitty events, what I will leave behind and maybe what the universe is trying to show me.

In the car on the way down I listened to some beautiful guided meditations (safe ones for the car – I think?).  It was such a beautiful way to begin the trip and I think really helped get me out of the mindset that I had let engulf me earlier in the weekend.   One thing this separation is teaching me is the lack of control I have on anyone else.  More specifically, the lack of control around what is said about me or what assumptions people may choose to make.  There are three things we have control of;

  • Our thoughts
  • Our mind
  • Our physical actions

Just in the past week, remembering this has been very useful!   I can’t control anyone elses’ voice.   Yes, as humans we can influence others if needed, but certainly not control.  People will do and say as they please, and all I can do is control how I respond.  I’m still learning, but my confidence in who I know I am, is what reminds me to keep on going and not let it eat away at me.  It has also made me 100 times more open and gracious to the other person in a story when people tell me things.  They aren’t there to explain their perspective and to be honest, so much truth gets lost.

A beautiful reminder I’ve seen pop up A LOT lately:

I stopped explaining myself, when I realised people only understand from their level of perception.

Having this knowledge behind me is pretty powerful and has helped even in little moments of self doubt.  I was walking down Collins Street in Melbourne yesterday when a man handing out flyers said to me , ‘Hey single Mum’ blah blah blah (I was stuck on the single mum part)… I kept walking and I started thinking, Excuuuuuse me yobbo, do I look like a poverty stricken single mum?  I wondered what on earth screamed out to him single mum?!  Especially while pushing my Emmuljunga pram!  😉 I initially felt defensive and a little insecure.  I pondered for no more than a minute and then reminded myself to let it go. His perception of a single mum was potentially not laden with some of the insecurities from actually living it!  I can’t control what anyone else says but I can control how am I going to react.  I chose to get on with it.  I found a nice spot in Fed Square, and me in all my single mum glory, watched Z play with a single pebble on the ground!

Like I mentioned in my last post here, I’m learning the importance of gratitude and how mind blowingly ? amazing it is.  I’m learning how good it feels to actually have space to genuinely want to build people up and see friends fulfil dreams.  I’m learning to let go of things that I don’t need to hold onto, and to forgive people that have hurt me.

There is so much change in this world. Our head space, perspectives, the weather, fashions, finances, friends, good days, bad days, gosh even on a cellular level, we are changing all the time.  Cells are constantly dividing, regenerating and dying, so on one level you are not the same person you were this morning, nor will you ever be the same person you are in this moment.  For me this knowledge has given me even more faith in one of my ol’ favourites;

Every moment is an opportunity to begin again.

Not just a Monday, or a new day.  You don’t need to wait that long!  Each moment you have the opportunity to come back, reset and continue moving through life in a direction that is basically true to your desires.  Find what works best for you, and figure out what things help bring you back.  Carry with you the knowledge that you can change your mindset at any moment. Set a time each afternoon to make sure your doing ok that day?  A three minute meditate?  You know that how you shape your days, eventuates into what shapes your life!

So much of what feels right for me and what I enjoy has come out in the past 12 months.  It is hard to be authentically you when you are in a situation that isn’t right.  There were feelings of sadness, disappointment, resentment and failure that would not have allowed me to be where I am today, working on the projects that bring fire to my belly.  It’s not easy. but its easIER.

In all my reading prior to separating, I read about women who thrived post divorce.  Like I mean thrived.  They were happier than they’d ever been, more successful and confident in their own skin.  This is what I’d hoped for.  For some, it possibly wasn’t the right decision and there were underlying factors external to the marriage that need to be addressed.   These women were very fragile.  The relief that I made the right decision for myself and Zoe is something I can’t quite put into words (but you know me I’ll have a good crack).

I’m certainly not there yet, I don’t even know where there is, but I know I’m at least facing in the right direction.   So heres to another 12 months! Thank you for all the wonderful support and messages since starting this blog last year.  It’s humbling to know that even when you all have your own things going on, you’ve found the space to reach out!

Jen xo

 

 

When enough is enough and it’s time to get serious!

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Saturday afternoon.  I really could be doing so many other jobs right now.  The house is in quite a state (I can almost hear my friends thinking yeah right…) but for some bizarre reason it isn’t bothering me.  Lets be honest, it’s possibly because I know I will attend to the chaos tonight!

I knew I wanted to write another blog post this last week, but as busy as the week was, I settled for simple journalling every day.  If I didn’t happen to get up before Zoe in the morning, we’d sit next to each other at breakfast and write in our ‘journals’ together!  Don’t be fooled – this has not necessarily been the peaceful scene you’re imagining.  It has involved me losing my shit because I can’t handle being crawled on and nagged at so early in the morning!! Waaaahhh #mumlife

Writing helps ground me through the ebs and flows.   (Obviously need a little bit more work on that).  It helps me nut out any niggles that are causing anxiety, come up with solutions (if any) for any of these niggles and to ensure that I haven’t derailed slightly and am veering off track.  I have finally learnt, at the age of 28 , that you just can’t afford to ignore doing the things that play a huge part in your well being.  It’s not worth it.  Not for me who suffers from an ED that is never looming too far away, and not for ANYONE!  Something that sounds so simple, is the simple thing that means you can either live a life that you are basically proud of, or live your life as a spectator observing an ongoing train wreck – that being the case for me anyway!

I mentioned in my last post, that I wanted to write about what has helped, and continues to help me with an ED that developed 10 years ago.  Writing this initial post was pretty confronting, but I wrote about it when I was truly ready, so the positives have far outweighed any negatives.  There are so many wonderful people out there.   I almost feel that writing about what has helped me, would be even more confronting.  In a way it would reveal to people how much it had a hold on me, and how incredibly hard I’ve had to work to come out the other side and STAY THERE!

That post will come when I feel ready.  That same feeling I had when I published my last post, will let me know when it’s time to share the next chapter.  I have so much I want to write in terms of the recovery.  I’ve read a shit load and am learning a shit load.  To a point where I have become fascinated in how our minds work and why we do what we do.  I’ve enrolled in more study to help answer these questions and to potentially help explain it to others one day.

The time will come, but for now I’ll dance around the edges as to what has helped me.  So not quite warts and all just yet….Lets call this stage one!

  • Daily gratitude.  This simple practice shifts your focus from what is lacking to what is already abundantly present.  There is always something to be grateful for.   Don’t wait for a positive experience to allow yourself to be grateful.  Look deep, even if it is simply that fact that we have oxygen to breath.
  • Remembering that this too shall pass.  Some days life is wonderful.  Some days life simply sucks.  These things never stay the same.  Enjoy it when life is good, and when it isn’t?  Simply know that it most certainly won’t last.  When you’re down…. feel it!  Is there a message there?  When you’ve had enough and learnt what it is you needed to know.  Move on.
  • Being healthy starts from the inside out.  You need to put as much energy into having a healthy mind, as you do having a healthy body.  We feed our bodies good food to feel better.  Our minds need be no different.  Feed it faith.  Feed it truth.  Feed it love. That’s what you will get in return.
  • Spend time on YOU.  Learn about yourself, get to know what works and what doesn’t.  What triggers you to fall back into old patterns and what pulls you out.   It is so easy to get lost when you are always doing things with a sense of urgency.  Find a moment of stillness and really give your heart a chance to tell you where you need to be and what is really going on in there.  Try and try again.
  • Ask yourself each day for a month:  If I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with how I’m living my life?  If the answer is no for too many days in a row,  change something!  It’s so important to check in.  This is basically what has helped me realise when I’ve needed to make changes in my life, big or small.
  • Get serious with yourself for a moment – learn what cultivates that kick arse feeling inside you and stick with it!  Sometimes you won’t feel like it, and thats ok, just don’t leave it for too long!  Pick it back up the next day.   What creates that feeling?  Maybe writing daily in your journal, pre planning for the week ahead – looking at areas you might need to support yourself through or plan for in the upcoming  week.   You could engage with your kids, catch up with good people, get out in nature or take a warm shower (this should hopefully be a daily practice)!   Quiet nights when you feel you need them helps me stay sane,  including meditation in each day for as little or long as you need, or maybe a yoga practice that keeps your body free from aches and pains?  Sometimes it’s nice to reach out and show gratitude to people that you appreciate.  Think outside the square, send a thank you card to someone that made you smile that week.  Basically, find what fills up that cup and try and get as much of it in as possible.  The end result – less anxiety, more self trust and the ability to back yourself through the shitty times!  For so long I knew what helped me but I didn’t do it.  Don’t deny yourself of what you deserve anymore.  Rant over.
  • The magic happens when you are out of your comfort zone!  Sometimes you just need to say yes and then figure it out!  There is a lot of emphasis around saying no at the moment.  I get that!  It is important to listen to your heart and what it truly desires.  However I’ve also found that conciously saying YES to things that I’ve initially recoiled from and felt anxious about, has built up so much of the self trust I lost during my marriage and separation.
  • Prioritising good sleep, is good self love.  We know the best sleep is before midnight.  Try and get as much in as you can before 12 pm.  Having a child that now basically sleeps through every night has helped with this.  We all do what we can and work around what we need to, but just knowing how much better I feel with a good 7-8 hours behind me is enough motivation to put my phone down and go the F to sleep!

I never thought I’d get to a point where I’d say this, but the pain I’ve experienced really has become my source of strength.  When you experience moments of how peaceful life can really be,  that becomes the drive.  It goes without saying that I have hard days, ED related or not!  Like any of us!  Im just learning a little better at how to recover and find that inner light again.

I’m being beckoned from the other room.   She’s awake.  Those 2 hours went way to quick!  A deep breath to help transition into the new pace that toddler wrangling brings and see what this quiet, now Sunday afternoon brings.

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey To Recovery

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The Grounded Mum was born last year, at the end of my marriage and at the beginning of a life that I only saw in my wildest dreams.  That I hoped of anyway.  A life that I used to day dream about in our Botanic Gardens and would write about in all my half finished journals.

It wasn’t immediately that I started writing – after a few months of settling in and having some days to myself where Zoe was in daycare (to you know, heal and all that stuff) I discovered my passion for writing again.  At this point I didn’t realise it was to be the first of many passions that subsequently was to emerge.

The title The Grounded Mum was based around a couple of things:

  • The fact that I am an ex flight attendant no longer flying (hence the term ‘grounded’. And;
  • My desire to be just that.  A grounded and present Mum to my beautiful daughter.

Anyone who has been reading this blog from the start – and lets be honest there’d only be a handful, would know that this blog isn’t so much about the past and the reasons my marriage ended – but instead how I’m choosing to live NOW.  The beautiful moments and at times the not so beautiful moments.  I share the things that help me and also hope to inspire anyone else out there.

This blog is full of rawness and honesty.  It’s a blog reflective of a period where I have discovered more about myself than at any other time.  Which brings me to my next point – the reason I came into my study to write tonight.  I feel its getting to the point where I can’t continue writing, without sharing a big part of me.

Ahhhhh big breaths……

I suffer from an eating disorder.  I don’t really believe that you can ever write that statement in the past tense.  For me it is something that I manage, and certainly not something I have completely ‘gotten over’.

Rewind 10 years.  Moved away from my home town, all the way to the big smoke… SYDNEY!  I was young, incredibly naive, and thought that this was going to be amazing.  I had landed my dream job as a flight attendant and had broken up with my boyfriend at the time without a care in the world.  I was moving to Sydney – nothing else mattered.

I had ZERO life experience outside of high school antics.  Well not any experience that would help me get through what was to be one of the hardest times of my life.

It came on slowly – I was eating out a lot, and eating late.  I hadn’t had to worry about weight before.  Previously, I ate my mums cooking and life was fairly simple.  Weight crept on and I was probably at my heaviest.  I was miserable, regretted dumping my BF, felt extremely lonely, was making some pretty cod ordinary decisions in life, parents had moved overseas for 4 years, was working a lot while my high school friends were back home partying and having fun.  I was absolutely, completely and utterly out of my depth.

It was a period of so much change and I had no tools to handle it.  Eventually it all got too much.  I needed to control something in my life.  A life that was spiralling out of control so fast.  And food it was.  I went into starvation mode and lost over 13 kg.  At my lightest I dropped to 55 kg on a 171 cm frame.  I kept journals, tracked my weight and most of all kept encouraging myself to go on this ‘eat minimal’ diet.  I lived off grapes and carrots sticks.  It wasn’t until this point that I realised how incredibly hard it was to socialise with an eating disorder.  Food is everywhere!  I pushed away a lot of beautiful people in my life because I didn’t know how to have them AND my “ED”.  Thankfully, I am still in contact with some girls from my initial flying days.  I’ll always have a special place in my heart for them.

Did it make me happier? No.  I did however enjoy being skinny to some extent.  I had something to focus on.  At this point, I had no idea that it would still be with  me 10 years later.

I eventually had to quit my job and moved back home to live with some dear family friends.  It was so incredibly big of them to take me on – I can’t imagine it would’ve been easy for them either.  Looking back I probably should have got some qualified help to help aid in my recovery.  Instead, I started exercising to make up for the additional food I was eating.  I was running anywhere up to 12 kms a day to help maintain my weight.

I eventually got my own place, a job and a boyfriend and life settled down for awhile.  I put on weight (more than I would have liked) but I guess I had enough distraction to keep me from relapsing.  Life wasn’t bad.  I had good friends and was just so happy to be home again.  Looking back at that stage, it was a period where I was almost free from the ED.  I enjoyed exercising to a healthy level and for the most part had an ok relationship with food.  It wasn’t healthy food, however at that point I didn’t know the world of healthy foods!  There was only two levels of eating:

  • Eating food – any types at all, or;
  • Basically not eating at all

Four years passed and after awhile that relationship didn’t work out and came to an end.  It was the next 5 years, years filled with emotional trauma, and again emotions and experiences so far out of my depth, that saw the same issues creeping up.   This period involved other people, so I won’t go into it.

Instead of just restricting food – in came the binging and purging.  And I guess up until 12 months ago, instead of it being something that I only used in order to ‘deal with’ awful times, it became habit.  Before I knew it, it had a hold on me.  If I wasn’t physically either on a diet or at times making myself sick – I would be questioning anything that crossed my lips.  There was no peace.  Being in a relationship and subsequent marriage that I was unhappy in didn’t help the situatiuon.

Over the last 12 months I have worked so incredibly hard to break years of bad habits that made life such a lonely place at times.  In a way,  looking after yourself becomes so much easier when you are living a life true to who you are and where you want to be.

It has been hard.  So bloody hard at times.  Relapses and mistakes, on repeat.  However with nothing but sheer discipline, a discipline harder than NOT allowing yourself to eat, I am now at a point where I can see recovery as a permanent thing.

I know exactly what has worked for me and I will most certainly share that in another blog.  I am no longer naive, have lived and tried it ALL and if i can help just one other person then it was all worth it!

Being a mum doesn’t put you in bubble wrap and mean you don’t struggle with these things.  Sometimes it just means you have less time to deal with the issues so it takes longer to heal.  I am a bit like the ED natzi and can spot distorted eating from a mile away 😉

I don’t for a second take for granted where I am, especially because I know how hard I have worked to get here.

I have a daughter that I love more than anything in the world.

This recovery is as much for me as it is you my darling!

Jen xx

 

Cocktails and late nights to toddler wrangling and night lights

 

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I’m writing this post at 10 am on a Friday morning.  I haven’t had a friday off in quite some time so it feels strange.  Im as sick as a dog, but I’m having that window of grace when the panadol is working its magic – so opening my eyes is possible!  It’s not until you are bed ridden with the Flu that makes you stop and appreciate good health.  Like being able to stand up without your head feeling like it will explode!

It has been a long time between posts!  Ive missed this space.  I tend to push things aside when I’m not too confident in the direction i want it to go, or maybe something as drastic as who I am?! I think blogs are funny like that – oh so resilient and always there waiting for when you next return!

The last 6 months have been full.  Working part time, raising an extremely strong willed little girl, dealing with the ups and downs of co parenting…. And everything else in between.

I think I’ve been in la la land to be honest.  Pushing the hard feelings and decisions aside that I’m not quite ready to deal with.  The first 6 months were filled with lots of growth.  Early morning writing sessions, yoga, exercise, online courses, early nights, healthy dinners etc etc – then I think there was a shift.  I had been living in my little bubble and felt a bit more confident to step out into the big wide world again!  When you start feeling stronger it’s easy to turn your back on things that bring so much positivity to your life.  It isn’t long before you realise that those things were in your life for a reason!

I was watching The Batchelor the other night and was listening to Alex (also a single mum for those who haven’t been drawn into such high quality TV).  She was speaking to Batchie about all the other things she is, aside from being a mum.  It was nice to hear.  One of the tough things I’m finding recently is the struggle around when I have my daughter to when I don’t.  Such two different lives.  I work the four days I don’t have her so there isn’t too much time for shenanigans.  However their have been some seedy Sunday mornings dragging myself to work! (Or spritely skipping to work incase my boss is reading).

It’s the whole thing of switching back into mum mode come Sunday night, when my little girl is due to come back the next morning. I feel guilty for enjoying the time I’ve had away from her, the interaction with adults, the lack of the whine and the introduction of the only ‘wine’ i want in my life!

I sometimes doubt that I am cut out to be a good mum to her when she returns.  I feel like it’s a double life.  I go from being out at a bar on Saturday night, (lets be honest, i could count on one hand (maybe both) the amount of times this has happened)… to toddler time at the library on a Monday morning singing Incy Wincy Spider.  I feel like i don’t belong in the mum “click”.   That somehow i don’t ‘cut it’ because the way our family operates is different! Yes there are some judgy mums out there but I take full responsibility for these thoughts –  all TOTALLY in my head.  I think it comes down to the confidence thing…  It’s getting better as I become more confident in my direction and feeling more proud of the choices I’m making. …. but it’s the whole two steps forward one step back thing I guess.

While I’m at it and in the f*%# it lets talk about everything mode….Dating (or lack there of)…

Dating hasn’t been something I have really delved into yet.  The town that I live in, as much as at is called a city… is still very much a country town compared to places like Sydney and Brisbane.  I lack optimism that there is anyone here for me – but the odd fling here and there has given me a taste of dating in this era.  I was introduced to Snap chat early on which has been fun but was also reminded of the whole stupid “game” thing that comes with SOME guys.  Not really into that, so just happy to keep focussing on my little fam bam and see where it takes us!  I’d love to meet someone who I can share this crazy life with, but something like that takes time…  I’m not getting it wrong twice!

I certainly feel that the last 6 months needed to happen in order for me to realise that I can have lots of different elements to me.  As can ALL mums, not just single mums!! It’s just choosing which ones you want.  Which ones are inline with your future hopes and dreams.  I think I’m learning that there is a time and a place for it all.  It’s what you do MOST of the time that shapes your days, your months, the years and then at the very end….. you look back on and has shaped your life.

Stay aware.  Stay authentic and whatever you do NEVER stop learning!

I feel like this window of grace is closing in and the magic of the drugs is wearing off so I shall leave my ramblings here….

Jen xx

 

 

The No Baking Bake Off

As promised I wanted to share the delicious treats I made this morning incase any one needed any more temptation in their life!

So easy and the ingredients are all very similiar!

Click on the titles to view recipes……

Lime Coconut Energy bites

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No Bake Lime Cheesecake

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Maple Peanut Butter Fudge (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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Their photos are 100 times better (hence I pinched 2) but i’m sure mine taste just as good 😉

Jen xx

The Sunshine is Back….. Divorce: Four Months On

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It’s nice to be sitting here feeling slightly better than I have felt the last week or so.  Life being life, it throws you curveballs, aaaaannnnd a curveball is what I got.

Unless you are a Zen master or the Dalai Lama, it’s to be expected that there are going to be times of intensity and disagreement in a divorce.  It would be odd to be able to get along in the months after a divorce when you couldn’t even see eye to eye in the marriage!  I’ll be the first to admit that when it’s that time, it’s a lot harder to let things slide and not delve into the whys? the hows? and the who’s?

I felt pretty rubbish and was having a pretty good crack at throwing myself the best pity party ever – sugar, self pity and blame being the 3 main guests, with a few other tag alongs… Rockin’ party!

NOT.

I did get to a point one morning (thanks goodness) where I thought to myself this is getting ridiculous.  This marriage didn’t end so you could just continue feeling dissatisfied in life.  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT was the MUCH nicer version of what I told myself at 6 am that morning.

After a fairly direct email to my ex husband setting clear boundaries for our future, I slowly started feeling better again.  Sounds so basic right?!  But when you are led to start doubting what you are even saying is true, it’s hard to be clear sometimes.

It was really hard when after nearly 4 months, instead of being able to put my energy into living the beautiful life that was now in front of me. Instead, I found my self defending my decision and constantly questioning wether or not the two of us could make this work for the sake of Zoe.  At the end of the day we both knew the answer but I guess everyone processes things differently.

I think minimal contact is going to beneficial for us for the next how ever long.  This is all part of the process and we need to go through it all to figure out the best way to handle it.

Long story short, I am feeling more confident in my ability to choose my own direction in life.  Confident that my choices might just be ok!  I can even chose what we’ll have for dinner now! After feeling that I’d failed at one pretty big life decision, this area had taken quite a blow!

It’s been awhile since i’ve reflected on what I’ve learnt through this process, and as we are ever evolving and learning I wanted to revisit and see what came up.

Soooooo in the last couple of months I’ve learnt that:

  • Being direct and clear is always a good thing.  Not just with ex husbands.
  • You don’t feel very good after telling your 16 month old to F off.  That was a tough day.
  • Feelings do pass and the sunshine is only ever just behind the clouds.
  • Sleep is vital.  I have started going to bed earlier (minor breakthrough here) and the nights I haven’t dragged myself to bed until after 10:45 I’ve felt awful the next day.
  • I actually love mornings.  Being up at 5:30 doing something for me, before the day even starts makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.  The air is crisper, the sounds are still and the light is gentle. Even if it all falls to shit at 7 am.
  • Trying to mask a sneeze and make it quieter, often gets you the complete opposite result!
  • I need to be mindful of the expectations I have of myself.  Some days my to do list is the length of my arm and I set myself up for failure when low and behold I don’t finish the list.  I need to set limits and declare when I’m satisfied with the outcome.  Even if I’m not!
  • It’s ok to have desires, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have to act on it immediately.  Or ever. Like a holiday to Fiji perhaps.
  • Always have a bottle of coconut oil and medjool dates in the pantry.  Basis for most healthy treats.
  • Healthy treats aren’t calorie free.  Say no more.
  • It’s ALWAYS a good idea to meal plan!  I’ll do a post on that another day as I love it so much.  🙂
  • Sleep is vita…. Oh
  • Dreams are exactly that. Dreams. Most nights I wake up feeling so sad because I’ve dreamt something about my ex.  I’m slowly realising that even the emotions I have in my dreams aren’t real.  I might be sad about something in my dream but it doesn’t replicate real life!
  • Last but not least I’ve learnt that I am a better mum now I’m working.  ALL my friends have said the same and I am now a preacher too!  Our time is precious, even more so with not getting to see her every 2nd weekend, so I really do feel like I try to simply play with her more, look at her when I’m talking to her and put my phone away!  I wrote a note on the laundry door last week saying “the washing will wait”.  And wait it did.

Im due to go and have a coffee with my best friend and of course Zoe has decided to sleep like a trooper. I swear she knows.

I did some baking this morning as my beautiful neighbour provides me with an endless supply of limes from his lime tree and OMG YUM!!!  I needed to use them in something other than Gin and Tonic! Why did I capitalise those two words?  I must feel that they deserve it!

I’ll share what I made because each recipe has no more than 5 ingredients and are so good!

A beautiful quote that I read this morning:

All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today.

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Happy planting…

Jen xo

 

 

Nothing Goes Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

I don’t think I can start this post without saying a heartfelt thank you to everyone that has contacted me since sharing my blog.  I was so touched and felt such a sense of community around me.  I was a bit overwhelmed and so incredibly grateful and I love you all.

I came across this beautiful quote by Pema Chodron the other day.

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Sometimes I read quotes and they barely make me flinch. Then two days later I’ll stumble across the same quote and BAM my life has changed forever! Well for the next 10 minutes anyway.

When I read this I almost felt that I was off the hook for staying in a situation that was so challenging for so long.  I am now at a point where I can put down the stick because I just hadn’t learnt what I needed to know!  What I needed to know about myself before my marriage was to end.  Hey, I’ll take that… 😉

Over the past week I’ve been quietly observing a noticeable shift occurring.  It almost seemed to be happening without any doing of my own, just gently happening in the background.  God, I’m tearing up as a write this.

Im realising that this feeling, this overwhelming but liberating feeling is me leaving behind a part of me that I no longer need to carry.  A part of me that I no longer need to be burdened with because I have finally learnt.  I’m feeling stronger.  Lighter.  Happier.

And possibly the feeling that I’m noticing the most.  Relief.

Relief that this was the right decision.  I was never going to know if what I was doing was right, and to now be seeing a new world full of happiness and new beginnings unfolding in front of me.  I can’t quite put it into words.

Leading up to the separation and then when my daughter and I moved out, one of my biggest fears was that I would always feel empty and God forbid, unhappy or even regretful of our decision.

For the rest of my life.  Pretty. bloody. scary.

No amount of googling will I regret getting a divorce? tell me if what we were doing was right.  No amount of quizzes would tell me that what we were doing was right.  Yes there are quizzes for this stuff online – I bypassed these!

Nothing was going to jump out and leave me feeling totally certain that this was what needed to happen.

I had no idea what was ahead of me.  All I was going off was the intense feeling that the life we were living together needed to end.

To be sitting here today knowing that what happened last year was the right decision, is possibly one of the best feelings of my life.

It is so much easier to be open and embrace most of what you know is good for you when the basis of your life is true to what you really want.  It’s so much easier to want your ex husband to be happy and find peace within themselves when you are actively trying to make a good life for yourself too! Not to mention that we seem to be learning that word respect again!  Makes co-parenting so much easier.  This week anyway….

Now don’t get me wrong,  this doesn’t have to be as drastic as a marriage separation.  I have friends, parents and grandparents who are in the most beautiful and strong marriages all around me.  I know they exist!

It could be as simple and thinking to yourself, what do I really want now?  Do I really want this whole block of chocolate?  Or do I just need some love from a friend? (and 2 pieces instead).

Do I really want to do this workout or do I just need a nap instead?  The answer might be yes.  But the key is, you’ve stopped to ask yourself.  You’ve paused for a moment, instead of  launching into the next thing without even taking a breath.

It’s the small practices that you imbed into each and every day that make up your days, your weeks, your months and maybe even your years if you stick at it!  And then, who knows, a life that you can look back on and think, yeah I chose this and I am bloody (one more for good measure) proud of that.

Remember, you are basically a good person and you do deserve it.

Jen xo

 

 

 

2016 in 3 words

I was sitting on the couch today at my Grandparents house, with my Grandma beside me, both watching Miss Z parading in front of us.  She was walking around in circles and then backwards (her latest trick), snuggling and patting her precious (very ugly) dolly, babbling, singing, dancing and basically anything else that seemed fit at the time.

She saw some pillows resting on an arm chair and decided she wanted to pull them off the chair and onto the floor.  We sat and watched her struggle as she couldn’t quite get there.  They were heavy and it was all a bit awkward but she was getting so close.  Just one more BIG pull was all she needed to do.

As a 15 month old, she obviously couldn’t see the progress she was making or how close she was and eventually stomped off in a huff.  My Grandma and I were sitting there saying ‘you are so so close, just one more pull and they will be down, KEEP GOING’.

She had given up and that was that.

I thought to myself, wow, if only she knew how close she was and how far she’d come.  She would’ve literally been only seconds away from marvelling at her own accomplishments.  Instead she gave up too soon and was left feeling defeated.

Now because of the girl I am, and possibly because I am looking for anything to help spur me on through these days post separation, my brain started ticking.    To think how often we may have been so close to achieving something, only to quit because we thought it was impossible or too hard.

It is all too easy to question the progress you are making when you can’t physically see it.  It makes it doubly hard when you have NO idea how far you’ve got to go, like 99.9 % of the time!

You can talk yourself out of anything if you let yourself.  Sometimes you can actually convince yourself that it is easier to give up.

You may have been one more step away from making that break at work;

One more step away from finally cutting yourself off from your ex in a way that meant your FREEDOM;

One more step away from the workout that makes you love exercise again;

And only one more message away from your ex actually listening to your pleas at leaving you alone.  Messages that test every part of your being, when all you want is a big hug telling you that everything will be ok.

Giving up crosses my mind often and the concept of just being miserable forever almost seems inviting in a f%^*ed up way!

But seeing my little girl trying so hard today, to then just give up so easily, so close to succeeding, has lit that flame within me again.  By no means is it burning enough to give off any heat, but still enough to keep me getting out of bed each morning and remaining optimistic.  Optimistic about my future as a single mum, about my future with any relationships and the future as me!

Although I can’t see the progress and sometimes I actually feel I am going backwards, the wonderful thing is that I could be so close!  Close to start feeling the rewards of walking away from a marriage that was slowly soul destroying….   The hardest thing I hope I’ll ever have to face in this lifetime.

Some may call this clutching at straws!  Some may even call it simply being hopeful and yes, I’m with you on both there.  I’m liking the word optimism because it leaves everything open!

Instead of looking forward into 2016 and making resolutions and putting any big plans in place, I’d like to just add two more words to my ‘word’ of the year (currently freedom thanks to our home made Christmas bon bons)…..

And add optimism and perseverance!  I’m sure there are no rules for having 3 words for the year?!

I will try my very best at remaining optimistic that I will gain a sense of freedom and space in my mind for new wonderful things, through sheer perseverance!

Jen xx

 

 

My First Video!

I have to start off by saying I’m pretty darn proud of myself.  After countless hours and a missed yoga class I have figured out all on my own (with the help of google of course) how to:

  • Increase the upload size limit on my blog aka my safe space, The Grounded Mum
  • Create and edit a video that I made on iMovie
  • Open a Youtube account; and
  • put it all into a post!

It’s amazing how much you can do without a small child around.

Miss Z went to her Dad today.  Oh I miss her! Her cuddles, her beautiful smell, her sweet laugh, her cute attempts at trying to say the word apple…. Appa and of course the way she says Mumma.  A beautiful reminder that YES I AM HER MUM! Arrrrr what an emotional day!  It can be overwhelming at times.  I feel such an ache in my heart,  like i’m almost not a proper mum.  The joys of being a single parent.  Somedays it feels it is getting harder!

I had her for a long time this last fortnight, so it feels so empty to be childless!

I have gently reminded myself many times today that in this moment, it’s just me and now that matters.  The clock quietly ticking away and the hum of the dishwasher.  It’s all I’ve got and apparently is enough!  In a strange way I believe it.

Today is the last day of 2015!

It has been a massive year and I have so much I want to write over the next 24 hours.  I feel very sad thinking about this past year.  I’m feeing a great urge to hibernate and just stay low.  I want to really say a proper farewell to this year.  A year that saw a separation from my husband and hence broke up the family structure I once new.

This is a year I will never forget and I need to give it the closure that it deserves and the closure that I need.

Until I have done this, I don’t think I could go forward into 2016 with the clarity and strength that I KNOW I have somewhere inside.

I have my bed beckoning me, my cup of tea and my current book Almost French, so I can fall asleep somewhere in the middle of Paris!

I can’t forget my Video! Click the link below….

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Jen xx