Breathe. Remember to breathe. “If you don’t breathe, you die.” That’s what my yoga training teacher tells us and thank goodness for yoga, because otherwise, I don’t know if I would have had time to breathe last month. But breathe I certainly do, and in actuality, I am breathing in so much joy and so many blessings right now that it seems like too much for just one person. I have enough right now; my cup truly runneth over and I am happy to share it around—I hope I can!
It’s been an action-packed month and I feel a sense of peace even now by “forcing” myself to sit down and get my thoughts on the screen. It seems like all this started happening out of nowhere, but I do realize that it actually is happening because of a lot of persistence and hard work that I’ve put forth and chances that I’ve taken. It’s just incredible that it’s all happening at once!
Although I had asked at my playgroup and Drew’s school if I could practice teaching yoga, it felt like I was just too busy and unprepared to firm up the plans. I hadn’t even finished my assignments yet from the Level 1 training to get my 1st certification—how could I teach without having done the planning for the hypothetical situations in the homework?
Well, this new spontaneous (huh?) me, just decided one day that if I didn’t set a date, I never would and I wanted this to happen. I truly believe that something/someone/some force is truly leading me this way. So I set the date of the 24th at playgroup and the 31st and 1st at the school. Done! Only now, in addition to my two hours of work from home, which are in addition to my 2 days of work outside the home and are for some reason difficult to find the time to do (that seems crazy to me, but I promise it’s true), I still had the yoga homework to do AND now had three classes to prepare to teach in an area I’ve never taught before! Smart move, Mommy! PLUS, it was the month for Halloween (which Drew and I must have been on some version of holiday speed trying to prepare for) AND just 4 weeks prior to the 40th birthday party I’m hosting for my husband. I really do put all this on myself; I’m a complete wacko.
(I just have to say that my writing tonight keeps getting interrupted by Drew’s itchy butt needing my attention. If tonight is going to be my first experience with kids’ worms that seem to be so common here…..let’s just not go there. Yuck!)
Anyway, all three teaching experiences turned out beautifully. It is incredible how children respond to yoga. Watching them lie calmly in meditation after having crazy fun with them trying to imitate different animals fills me with joy. It really does. Maybe I deserve that hippie nickname I so often get! I had a ball and I hope they did, too. I spent all of this past weekend in the Level 2 training, which was another inspiring experience. I have now set up practice teaching sessions at Zach’s daycare and with Steve’s teenagers (Yikes! I haven’t even learned that age yet, but I think I can do it—he wants less than 30 minutes anyway and I think it could really help them.) I have another set of homework to complete, too.
At the same time, my yoga teacher said she’d like me to help with writing for her business, an opportunity I do not want to pass up. Aside from the fact that it’s a way to get more experience and exposure in writing AND yoga, it’s subject matter that I am passionate about for a woman that’s a true gem. She is an incredible person and anything I can do to help in her passion, which is becoming my passion, is a great opportunity.
Also, the guy I’ve been helping with website and course materials for his cyber security business now wants me to continue working for him indefinitely, instead of finishing this week, which was the original plan. This is immensely flattering as well.
Then, as if my cake didn’t have enough icing, an article I submitted back in June to a local parenting magazine, about my identity crisis related to moving here, just got published this week! Ironically, at a time when my identity feels the strongest it’s felt in close to 6 years—isn’t life just amazing?! What’s also ironic is that it didn’t get published here. It’s in Sydney and Melbourne editions of the magazine, but not Brisbane or other, smaller cities.
Finally, to just completely spin me out, I won the sweep today at work for the Melbourne Cup race and got the $45 prize. Haha! I don’t even know if I wrote that out correctly. I have no idea what’s even going on! The big Melbourne Cup horse race is the first Tuesday of November and I described last year in my blog how incredible the experience was at work—being provided with a huge lunch and free alcohol in the middle of the work day, sitting around for two hours and watching a 3-minute horse race. It’s awesome! Every country should stop a work day once a year for something so nonsensical (maybe not horse racing because I really don’t like seeing animals mistreated, but for something….doing so can honestly only spread happiness.)
Thankfully, to bring me back down to earth a bit, a children’s story I submitted to Highlights magazine in the U.S. did get rejected today. So I do know that I’m still human. I think Drew might be most upset about that one, but I told him we will work on the story he wants me to write about fairies during our big trip next month.
Did you hear what I said?! Yes, our BIG trip is next month! Woohoo! So glad to be able to say those two little words—next month. Seriously, 18 months is too long to go without seeing my parents. I don’t like it. And we’re all just so excited to see several family members (meet our new nephew/cousin!), friends, mountains and snow. We are all looking forward to the adventure.
It’s very clear to me as I write this out that these numerous blessings and sources of joy are all about ME, good things happening for ME. That seems a bit selfish. I sometimes wish I could be one of those mothers who experience complete satisfaction and bliss from the transition to motherhood alone. I’m not one of them. I don’t know why, but I’m not. But I don’t feel guilt about all this good happening for ME, because it all makes me a better mother, because it makes me a better person. I’ve learned that, although my kids and my husband are sources of immense joy for me and I cherish so many special, everyday moments with them, that I am just plain nicer to be around when I have something that is all “Kathleen’s” to focus on. Right now I get that boost from exercise, writing and learning to teach yoga.
And speaking of yoga—the learning to teach part has also led me deeper into a practice I have enjoyed for 13 years. In the last year or so I’ve started exploring and learning more about meditation and Buddhism and all of this learning is really helping me right now. I’m learning to be a more positive communicator, a calmer person, more relaxed, kinder, more empathetic. So pursuing my own interests doesn’t just benefit me even if it does sound selfish at first. It benefits everyone around me.
Zach was in the middle of a tantrum the other day and I calmly but firmly said, “Zach! Remember your breath!” I’m not kidding—he stopped. He calmed down and communicated his issue. It may have been coincidence or it may have been that my focus on learning about breathing and staying calm is helping more than just me.
On a lighter note: Halloween! I do get frustrated at the backlash I experience directed towards this holiday, as well as the overall religious and multicultural intolerance I run into in this area. It is all quite new for me. But I am going to focus on the positive right now and emphasize how many more people around us happily joined in our celebrations and silliness this year—many for their first time! That made it an even more fun experience. Drew spent most of the month making decorations to hang around the house. The kid moves so fast—I would find an idea online for a craft and he’d be hitting me with requests for all sorts of outlandish supplies so he could create what’s in his head at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday, while I’m still drinking my tea, so I’d show him what I found online and say, “Maybe we can make this later today.” He’d come back in 20 minutes with the finished product and wondered what other ideas I had. I’m not kidding. It’s gorgeous. And it’s exhausting.
My beautiful parents sent each boy 3 costumes this year. They arrived in September and were the cause of much excitement and fun in the house with all visitors as well. We went to a Halloween party on the 19th and I found an idea online to be the Queen of Hearts—very simple using an old dress and buying a kids’ tiara and some felt pieces to cut into hearts and pin on. Well, to Drew, this was incredible—“making” your own costume. He had to do it. The three lovingly mailed costumes got shoved aside and he got into high gear creating. Of course you have to support that! That’s what Halloween is all about. My favorite part about the holiday is seeing what creations people come up with. We finished my costume about 10 minutes before we had to leave, so that night, he hurriedly put on ALL of his swimming gear to be a “diver” and the next weekend we helped him (mainly Steve. He’s so good at that stuff!) use a trash bag to become a swamp creature for the big Halloween carnival, which is so much fun. Then on Halloween day, he decided to wear the “wolfman” costume he’d received. We also had a very happy Buzz Lightyear at two events and a friendly dinosaur on Halloween day.
We trick-or-treated with friends in the evening, which was great fun. And in the afternoon our local little main street organized a safe Halloween trick-or-treat event for the kids for the first time ever. Apparently, one of the business owners is American and wanted a proper Halloween experience for his kids. It was a lot like the Munchkin Masquerade in Boulder and it was a blast! Such a community-building event! I think it’s safe to say that Halloween has officially arrived and been welcomed with open arms in Australia! Complete with a sausage sizzle in the street—it just wouldn’t be Aussie without one!