One of the things I struggle with most, as a Mummy, Wife and business owner, is Space.
Space in my life often feels scarce, when there's so many things to do and be for others - and myself. If I didn't have boundaries, or a need to sleep, I think it could actually be possible to never stop and still not get everything done. But I know that's not healthy, and nor would I really want that, if given the option.
When I don't make time for Space, I notice myself getting easily agitated, anxious, I feel sluggish, I start finding excuses to go for afternoon walks or my weekly yoga class (the things that usually nurture my soul), and I feel generally overwhelmed about all my 'tasks' ahead. When I notice myself getting sick or burning out, I begin to cut back as best as I can, to allow more Space in my life. The only problem with that, is inevitably, I'll find other ways to fill it.
It's something I've always done, ever since I can remember. Only these days, I'm beginning to become more conscious of it happening and putting steps in place to help me maintain a more constant sense of Space. It's a work in progress, as is everything, but I've found actually making Space part of my weekly routine, the easiest way to ensure I receive it. Notes in my diary helps me achieve it ...
1. Afternoon Walks
I'd love to say that I go for a walk every afternoon, but it's simply not the case. Instead, I've settled for at least three afternoon walks per week. I chuck Bubba in the car and we drive 10 minutes down the road to the Sandgate/Shorncliffe foreshore, strap Bub in the pram and we stroll along the waterfront together. Each day, we stop half-way at a different place to play and I take snap shots of moments to use as reference in my art. We breathe in the fresh air, discover new objects, spend quality time together and get our bodies moving. It's truly food for the soul. And Hubby starts tea before we get home. Bliss.
2. Weekly Yoga Class
What can I say ... My once a week, two-whole-hours-to-myself is one of the things I most look forward to all week. Not just because I get time, just for me, but because it's something that feels amazing, every time I do it. I think anything in life, that we feel truly centred and blessed to be experiencing, is something we could do well to do more of. Yoga is that thing, for me.
3. Eating Lunch Outdoors
Whether you're in an office, art studio or working from home, it's very tempting to have lunch by the computer to fit more work in. When I feel a strong pull within me to skip lunch altogether, or eat while I work, I know that's a sign to do just the opposite. So, even if it's for 5 minutes, I take my lunch outside and sit in the sunshine. I feel so much better when I do. The work is still there when I get back.
4. Starting My Day, Doing Something I Love
This one goes against logic, but it works well for me. Every day I work from my studio, I start my day with some painting. It may only be half an hour to an hour, but it's amazing the difference I feel on those days, once I sit down to work. Because I work intuitively and with my feelings, it's almost meditative when I paint. Time passes quickly and it almost feels like I'm emanating space from within. It's a lovely feeling and I generally glide through the day afterwards.
5. Having a Cuppa-Tea Before Bed
I don't know why it works, but it does. A cup of simple, herbal tea, an hour or so before I go to bed (I love 'Natureland's Night Cup'), helps me wind down, go within and feel spacious. In fact, come to think of it, cuppa-tea-breaks, at any time of the day, are a lovely self-nurturing experience for me. Just don't try it straight before bed, of you'll need to pee in the middle of the night. If you've got kids, you'd be used to middle-of-the-night wake ups though. If not, use it as practice.
So, that's it for me, my five little weekly moments of pleasure. I'll sign off from here, with this image I took on this afternoon's walk with my son. Initially, I thought I'd photograph it because it would be an interesting shape to paint. Now looking at it, I feel it's a beautiful reminder of Space.
Perhaps sometimes it just takes a moment to look up and notice the trees on the horizon. And if we've been good to ourselves, our lives will shift to create more of that focus.