Monthly Archives: January 2013




Tonight I lay in B’s bed, with him on one side & his younger brother J on the other, as we read stories, looked at the “big animal book” and sang a mix of lullabies, kids’ tv theme tunes & yoga chants…as they got sleepy, I felt heavy heads rest on each shoulder, and each reached his arm  across both to cuddle me & rest a hand on his brother’s hand, with arms around them both and each little nose in easy reach for kisses…gently they fell asleep to the sound of “om mani padme hum” and I felt that rush of blissful mother love that children evoke so deeply in those quiet moments…it can get drowned out by giggles & crushed in wrestling, but at the quiet end of the day, it whispers its way into every fibre of my being and reminds me to cherish every single second with these beautiful boys, because I will blink, and one day when my eyes open they will be young men…



Hard to explain…


“Climbing is akin to love. It’s hard to explain; we endure pain for the joy that comes with discovering ourselves and the planet.”


I came across this quote in National Geographic, January 2013, and loved it.  It spoke to me about motherhood.

Motherhood is hard to explain.  “No one can prepare you…” is the refrain of new parents the world over.

And we do endure, we mothers: whether the physicalities of labour & birth, the mind-altering sleep-deprivation, the emotional turmoil of your child starting school (or not) or the anguish of anticipating adolescence as your little innocent grows…

And yet, with all that endurance come the most extraordinary joys…

We discover ourselves: the strength we never knew we had; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual; talents for story telling or creativity in crafts made from cereal boxes & masking tape; extreme multi-tasking: making a cup of tea, talking to a neurotic grandmother and breastfeeding the baby…all at the same time, or breastfeeding the newborn whilst changing the toddler’s soiled nappy one handed; being able to laugh so hard our bellies ache (split muscles and all) simultaneously as tears of frustration or exhaustion roll fat & wet down our cheeks to darken spots on our new t-shirt right next to the milk stains or sticky kiss marks; a tolerance for tedium…how many times can you tidy the same toys, wash the same clothes, hoover the same floor…

We discover our children: their open, expectant eyes, their wide smiles and mischievous grins, their tiny hands and chubby, perfect feet for nuzzling & kissing and pat-a-caking…their talent for bringing that warm fuzzy in the middle of the night even as you sigh at being woken *again*…they thrill you with their rolling over, their shaky first steps, their confident climb to the top of the slide in the play park…they bore deep into your heart as you watch the perfect peace creep over their faces as they slumber.

And our children lend us their eyes so that we rediscover our world.  Through our children, we see the wonder of each daisy, the fascination of the dandelion head waiting to be blown across the garden full of the promise of sunshine yellow flowers in your perfect lawn, they slow you down, they force you to take in the snails lazily tracing silvery threads across paving stones in the damp Autumn mornings, or to lift each stone in the garden and marvel at the teeming woodlouse colonies.  Children bring renewed innocence to our lives, fresh insight, a pristine magic that invites us to explore our planet afresh every day, to rekindle our enthusiasm for dinosaurs, matchbox cars, dolls, tea sets, to embrace the childhood that we thought was over and learn again how to forget the rules and play…how to eat an invisible meal & feel the juices of rainbow fruits dribbling down our chins and tingling sweet & delicious on our taste buds, the taste of imagination…our children feed our minds, our hearts, our souls and create the world for us all over again.

So when someone asks you what motherhood is like, remember what was said to you, but don’t give the game away, it is a gift to discover what delights our children bring, and we should cherish that blessing.  Smile, let your heart burst open wide at your own precious awareness of the colourful swirling chaos of motherhood, so that the one asking you feels that aura of magic bathing her, pulling her in, just don’t try to hard too explain…





It is the birthday of a very dear friend’s daughter today.  I never forget the day of her birthday (unlike most people’s birthdays…apologies to many family & friends for the belated wishes that often come your way) because it was also the day that I discovered I was pregnant with my second child.

J will be 4 this year; such a short time has passed since he came to our family, but he seems to have been here forever.  I still remember the day that I found out as clear as if it were yesterday.  And I was desperate to tell my friend, but when I received her text as I went to send mine, I knew that my news had to wait.  

Blessings come in many shapes & sizes, but pregnancy felt like such an honour.  This baby chose me…I am truly grateful every day for the blessings that my children are, for the blessings they bring with their passionate kisses & heartfelt hugs, for the blessing that is watching them grow and the blessing that is the opportunity to grow myself as I see reflected in them the best of me, and the worst.

When children “misbehave” it is easy to assume that we have done something wrong, that we have only ourselves to blame.  Tantrums, untidiness, noisiness, rudeness…society teaches us that even the most minor misdemeanours of our children are a reflection of our poor parenting.

But if we take a moment to count the blessings our children bestow, it doesn’t take long before we realise how much of the good in ourselves they also reflect.  Those hugs were learned in our arms; the depth of feeling in that kiss is feedback, an exuberant return of the energy you put into your love; those whispered “I lub you”s are echoes of your quiet goodnights as you sneak out of your sleeping child’s room; the fascination in their eyes as you create dragons from blu-tack mirrors  your wonder when you saw what you had created as your newborn was in your arms for that breathtaking first moment Earthside.

Their smiles, their open, friendly nature, their love for each other are reflections of the joy in your heart as you watch them grow, of your ever growing, expansive love for them…it spills over from you…


Nothing that your children do is wasted, if you just take the time to see the blessing in it…angry, shouty children remind me that I need to take a deep breath and count to ten some days before I react…sad, pensive children tell me that I need to be grateful for their presence in my life and find ways to show them how much joy they bring…scared, shy, cautious children remind me to embrace new experiences and take good risks…ungrateful, demanding children remind me to appreciate what I have instead of coveting what I think I want…

Children are a privilege, a precious gift.  We are entrusted with new souls to raise and guide, and yet if we really look, we will see that in the short time that they are “ours” they are also here to guide us, never completely ours, always a gift from God, always to be set free one day, children are a true blessing in every sense…



PS Kahlil Gibran said it much more poetically than me ;D

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, 
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, 
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, 
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, 
and He bends you with His might 
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, 
so He loves also the bow that is stable.



Love your body…


This is something I say on my posters, flyers, website…And yet I do not buy into the body beautiful myth.

So why say it? Because your body is phenomenal! It breathes. It moves. It self-regulates. It takes your food & turns it into energy. It heals itself.

And when you’re pregnant…what your body does is mindblowing, the most ordinary of miracles…it grows a whole new organ…and then a whole new baby.

And it opens, stretches, pushes to bring your baby earthside.

And your body can provide all the nurture & nourishment your baby needs as you breastfeed your babe in arms.

What is not to love?

So be gentle with your body. Be grateful for all it does, day in day out, appreciate all it has done in growing and birthing your baby, marvel that it can provide all the nourishment your little one needs.

Love your body by giving it the opportunity to rest, to heal.  Give your body time.

Be kind to your body…Be kind to yourself.  Transformation takes time to get used to.

Don’t rush to get back into your size 10 jeans. You are so much more than a flat-stomach-to-be. Let nature take her course. Eat well, drink well, nurture your body.  Let yourself become this beautiful thing…you are a mother.

Love yourself, love every bump & stretch mark, every inch of you that brought your beautiful baby into the world just as it is.

Love your body



Southsea Beach – New Year’s Day 2013

And so to 2013…I am stunned by how quickly the new year has arrived.  It barely seems moments since we greeted 2012.  And yet, so much has happened, so much has changed, so much has passed.  And I still find myself resolving to be more present.  This year holds much promise.  More time spent in gratitude for those I love, and who love me.  I will be working more, but my resolve is to be then more present in the time I have with my family & friends.  Work time is work time; be present with those I love when work is done.

2013 got off to a startling bright blue sky & stunning winter sunshine.  A New Year’s Day dip is developing as something of a tradition with B and several others of “the Southsea Collective” (not my name, but one aptly used recently by the beautiful R).  An invigorating splash, a few hurried strokes, a moment of panic as my feet failed to find the chilly seabed…And then emerging feeling lighter, newer, ready to face whatever lies beyond the open door that is offered by the new year.

My NYD dip has become deeply symbolic to me.  I approach it with something like trepidation.  It forces me to confront a tendency toward lethargy & fear-thinking.  It’s too cold…to rough…too much trouble to force the children out of the house…And then I realise on waking that it represents another opportunity to affirm my hope, my joy in life & all it has to offer, to show my children that the beach, the sky, the winter invite us to enjoy them and revel in nature, and that joining in with friends brings such community, such fun, such joy…And it reminds me that I can do those things that for so long seemed to be something I could never do, but that looked so inviting.  So I extend that invitation to you.  Step through the open door this year.  Each time a door seems closed, give it a push, peer through the merest crack and venture out a little further.  Some might even lead to the ocean… Dip your toes in, wade out waist deep, feel your feet lift from the sea floor…be buoyed by the waves; as I have said elsewhere, time & waves work wonders.  Let them work for you.  Join me in walking bravely through every open door.  And whilst we’re at it, we can knock on those we thought closed, and search for the keys to any that we find locked.  Each day, each moment, each opportunity, an open door…

Thanks to Becca for offering this prayer today:

Celtic Prayer

This day is a new day 

That has never been before. 
This year is a new year, 
the opening door. 

Enter, Lord Christ— 
we have joy in Your coming. 
You have given us life; 
and we welcome Your coming. 

I turn now to face You, 
I lift up my eyes. 
Be blessing my face, Lord; 
be blessing my eyes. 
May all my eye looks on 
be blessed and be bright, 
my neighbours, my loved ones 
be blessed in Your sight. 

You have given us life 
and we welcome Your coming. 
Be with us, Lord, 
we have joy, we have joy. 
This year is a new year, 
the opening door. 
Be with us, Lord, 
We have joy, we have joy

It reminded me of a Rumi poem that I first heard at a retreat with Peter Yates, which was the week that inspired me to become a yoga teacher…the end of the poem is this:

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

Flow down and down in always

widening rings of being

It is from “There is a community of the spirit” and I still love that poem.  May all the doors in your year open wide!

I wish you deep joy,


Open the door!