The secret society of anonymous support

If the internet has taught us anything, it is that we as a global community have found over a million ways to judge another. The global community has also demonstrated its sheer power of either being able to support and catapult someone into stardom or crush their soul into a darkness.

There is much discussed about mummy shaming and judgment against parents. It flows in many forms from in person commentary to social media slam matches of comparisons and below the belt digs. Somewhat confrontingly it also occurs by way of glares and negative comments often when the child is having a ‘moment’ optimally saved for a public display.
Today i instead seek to praise the opposite experience – the parental almost secret society of stranger support.
A few of you may be raising your eyebrows in confusion – others will know exactly what I am talking about. This secret society is like a spiders web of their woven silk that crosses through all sections of society, popping up anywhere and everywhere offering non judgmental assistance, guidance, advice and encouraging words of praise. They usually involves brief, anonymous encounters between well intentioned people. These people are parents of young and older children, grandparents, aunties and uncles and people with no children currently in their world, yet one thing they all have in common is great compassion.

The other day I experienced two very touching and thoughtful encounters in the space of an hour that very nearly had me in tears. Not for any other reason than having absolute gratitude to these people and the greater universe that reminded me there was beauty and compassion in humanity.

The first encounter was when I was in a public business having to fill in some forms after waiting a good hour when my infant daughter decided she was hungry and today, very contrary to her usually chilled out, flow with the winds of nature attitude, this very moment she just would not wait (this change of wind being attributed to a terrible cold brewing within her). As I attempted to juggle the forms and settle her, including attempting to awkwardly feed her while she was loudly voicing her demands, a well intentioned lady who was standing by offered her motherly arms to feed my baby to allow me to complete my task ‘hands free’. Her offer was without even a little hint of judgment but over flowing with compassion at my juggling attempts.
Her offer was guiltily met on my part with guarded suspicion and fear that she may just run with the baby! This is partly why I refrain from the vortex of bad news… but that’s for a different discussion.

By that point I had already decided to pack in the towel and head home. I politely thanked this stranger for her kindness and we parted ways with smiles.

My next encounter followed soon after when I pulled over into a fast food carpark to settle the baby. A cuddle appeared to be the only solution acceptable while her body was fighting this new cold. As I stood beside the car with my daughter bundled in 24 blankets as I bounced in a soothing motion, a mother with a toddler in her backseat pulled up beside me.
Its okay” She called out. I turned to be met with her kind smile.
It gets easier and you get use to the lack of sleep“.
I had no real response other than “thank you” which was more than enough for her. She politely followed with the suggestion that i grab a drive through coffee as a little luxury. We parted ways with her kindly complimenting that i was “doing a great job”. I have heard this a number of times and I have given this compliment too. Broadly speaking, I don’t know these strangers extending beyond this very brief, ships passing in the night encounters. I have no idea of their parenting skills and they don’t know mine – nor do we need to. It’s not my place to judge the actions of another, particularly when I am audience to but a snippet of their world. But the paying of that little compliment may be the confidence booster they need as a reminder to soldier on when the task at hand is feeling somewhat overwhelming.

It’s easy to judge.
We subconsciously engage in judgment of others all the time. We all peek into the world of another wearing a superior hat thinking that if you stood in their shoes you would act differently. That may be right, but life is filled with grey shades and is completely subjective. ‘My way‘ doesn’t fit all and that’s the beauty of parenthood – everyone carries out their own role with their personal flare. Keep in mind that any judgement you are passing on another, particularly parents or carers of children having a public moment, is nowhere near that height of the judgment they are harshly passing on themselves.

Words, thoughts and actions are powerful. They can add beauty or act as a poison in our society. Carry out your humanitarian citizenship with responsibility. Be mindful of your judgments as your words and actions may be fueling the cancer of negativity in society.

When you see another in a challenging situation, do not be shy to tell them they are doing a great job – those words may be the turning point of their day.

~ F.P

Advertisements

Does the world that surrounds you fit the person within you?

As the vibrant early sun bathes my space on this crisp spring morning, I take a moment to embrace the simplicity of this happiness. A new day delivered upon natures’ beauty. And with the new day, sets new intentions. This happiness is created without any material item. It is purely a moment between myself and the greater universe spoken through nature.

As the Melbourne weather is slowly (and I emphasise very slowly) warming up and stripping away its hibernation status, it sparks the desire for reform within me.

 

Spring Cleaning!

 

My home is my sanctuary. It is the space I can fall away into ~ where the external world ceases to impact. Where I would close the doors and just exist. Along the way, I had been caught up in living life at a fast past and the accumulation of possessions had stopped reflecting the person within me ~ the person my soul was screaming to be. Many of the things I had come to own were suffocating my soul and pulling it into a conflict as they no longer served a purpose in my personal world. So the decision was made – they had to go.

 

Somewhere along the way I came to learn about ‘hygge’, a Danish word that means cosy warmth, spending time with the ones you love, in a home that is filled with light and well-loved items that fill you with everyday joy when you use them. That is precisely what I was aiming to achieve!

 

There is something therapeutic about spring-cleaning ~ almost as though a crusty layer of life is being removed to make way for a new opportunity. Spring-cleaning is a conveniently timed version of the currently trending ‘de clutter’. I have found myself falling into the romance of liberating myself of materialism, although I haven’t always been this way – truthfully I was quite the opposite. I use to love and feel the need to accumulate things. It was almost as though I was building the life I envisaged through possessions as opposed to building it through my soul. If I looked as though this was my life, surely it would only be a matter of time until I became it… right? The current, back-to-basics version of me no longer believes this to be true.
With an abundance of enthusiasm, I target my first area for reform. I open my wardrobe and step back to pause for a moment. The wardrobe is overflowing in all directions with ‘stuff’. The top shelf is bursting in disorder. My heart sinks ever so slightly within my chest as I immediately feel the enormity of the task, more aptly referred to as a dangerous challenge where god-knows-what can fall and suffocate me or knock me unconscious. For a moment I consider repacking my enthusiasm to opt out of this task – there were a hundred other things I could be doing with this time and my mind inflated this task to potentially taking months to complete! But as I stood there for a further moment and take some well needed deep, meditative breaths, I realise this is much easier than I first anticipated. Many of the items on the shelf are a mystery to me at this point. I have not seen or sought them out for at least two years and I quickly conclude that they are not needed. My new logic. I settle with this thinking from the outset and proceed to pile up a heap of clothes that will make it to a charity bin that very afternoon.

 

With each item, I consider whether it should be kept. In the past, the decision was based upon how much I liked the item, how much I had spent on the item and the potential future use I would have for it. Let’s be completely honest – I am a very optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person – I can reason any future use even without trying – hence how I ended up with some many unnecessary things.

 

Today, it is almost as though I am looking at my belongings with a new dimension – I had reversed the onus. I viewed each item as an anchor, potentially holding me in a stagnant position – I position I loudly chose not to be. Each item had the task to prove their worth as to whether they should be kept as opposed to keeping it being the default position. The question posed was whether this item represented the me of the past and whether that image represents the me of the present ~ forget the me of the future ~ she has yet to be invented.

 

The consideration of how much money I had purchased the item for also fell away. The money had already been spent, I was not going to recover that and there was a greater cost at stake – the cost of my authentic self and potentially at some point ~ my sanity.

 

At the conclusion of the wardrobe de clutter, the mountain upon the floor was piled almost as high as the wardrobe itself! And my being felt a little lighter. The me of this moment recognised that having an abundance of material possessions that I wasn’t using does not fit with the space in which my head is occupying, that being I was bringing life back to basics. The stuff was cluttering my world in more ways than just my wardrobe. The bursting wardrobe kept my mind occupied with constantly nagging feeling that I should be cleaning it and dreading actually opening it. It felt as though it was creating a mental block in my world.

 

I came across a quote by The Buddha

 

“The root of suffering is attachment”

 

This fits precisely with my feelings at this very moment… and with a de cluttered home world the suffering has ceased…

 

~ F.P

 

Hooray for Spring…

Spring ~

The mere thought creates a lightness within my soul.

There is something truly magical about the transition between the seasons ~ there is something particularly special about the transition between winter and spring.

Images of pretty blossoms, the warmth of the sunshine, bright and uninterrupted blue skies dance within my mind. The smells of the freshly cut grass, of the spring trees all immediately calm my soul.  Spring was made to allow our souls to soar in adventure and playfulness.  It is our reward for surviving the harsh conditions of winter we are forced to endure.

 

As I shed my winter self, I stand upon the grass barefoot.  My breath digs deeply into my chest as my feet embrace the grounding.  Spring reminds my body to reconnect with the earth.  My face is bathed in the warmth of the sunshine. The gentle, warm breeze licks my cheeks as my eyes remain closed.

My life source is being recharged and my soul has thawed it’s way back to life.

Here’s to the season that truly makes my soul dance…

~ F.P