Falling in Love with Minimalism

Spring – A time for rejuvenation and renewal.

I openly discuss my love affair with ‘spring cleaning’ and ‘de cluttering’. Whilst I am not a fan of labels, I have come to embrace that of being a minimalist – well, one in the making.

A little over a year ago, we moved from our tiny ‘baby house’ that we had out grown with a walking toddler to a full sized family home. With it came the temptation to quickly fill it with things – furniture, art, stuff. After all, what was the point in having a bigger space with less things?

Our baby house was filled with our past. It was the first home shared with my husband and the first home I had after living with my family. I had never moved and felt the need to hold all of my memories within my possessions. As we packed to move, I started to feel suffocated by my things. They were no longer providing me happiness or meaning but instead they were creating an environment of frustration. I could never easily reach for things. Opening a cupboard could be an OH & S issue and my mind was often distracted with needing to ‘clean up’ because ‘stuff’ never looks tidy. I had mistakenly believed that being organised meant I needed to have everything on hand and prepared for a ‘just-in-case’ scenario with ridiculous just-in-case items – 40 billion shopping bags anyone??

The temptation to fill our new home quickly evaporated – stuff didn’t provide me happiness – instead it was distracting me from living.

The bigger space instead presented us with something far more beautiful than ‘things’ – it gifted us with mindfulness, gratitude, appreciation.

Our home has most importantly provided the space for clear thought and tranquility – our haven to come home and breathe out the day. It has replaced chaos with calm – busyness with quality family time and inefficient time with productive time – like writing or having a soothing, soul nourishing bath.

Visually, our home is calming. Each item purchased is carefully chosen –

Does it reflect us? Does it add value? Do we love it? Is it essential?

It has provided us the opportunity to ‘hunt’ for unique treasures, items that reflect who we are and what life we want to create.

It has provided us with a comfortable amount of space to celebrate events and life – to have family and friends around to enjoy being together – life’s important treasures…The soul of the home is already etched with memories of laughter, love and happiness.

Having a relaxed home has also given us the gift of adventure – the ability to step outside of it without the guilt of choosing to ‘go out’ over cleaning – the expectation of having a spotless house. There is minimal effort of maintenance with minimal clutter. It also provides a beautiful space to return home to with a heart full of adventure.

So in this moment, I can peacefully enjoy a cup of coffee – each sip without the distraction of needing to do something in this moment because I have replaced chaos with calm and life has become a whole lot more manageable.

~ F.P

 

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Life, dreaming and what I have come to learn

On the eve of my 30-B birthday, I started compiling a list of all the lessons I had come to learn along those 30-something years of life. I struggled, not because I couldn’t come up with a list but because it just did not do justice to the thoughts of my heavy heart on this day – and my life isn’t really about lists.

In my quiet moments of reflection, I have packaged by thoughts into a nutshell and this is what I have come to learn:

Life is amazing – Life is too amazing not to be authentic about it …

… About who you are 

…About what you like 

…About what you do.

It’s okay to feel it – It’s okay to say it – It’s okay to do it (generally).

 

The rules are the ones we create for ourselves. Let’s for a moment replace rule with general guideline. In the practice of law, we often refer to issues being viewed in context and on a case by case basis – nothing is a one fits all approach, arguably, the only way upon which we can assess life circumstances on a case by case basis is if we are present in our own world. It’s easy to feel as though we are dragged through life and running to keep up. Things in life will happen – we may be seeking a higher meaning to justify a negative life event – to ease pain and sadness by blaming the universe – if this works, sure, why not! Blame the universe… full moon, life moves in cycles, there is a greater purpose… one door closes for another to open. Some things will never have an appropriate justification and you will be angry without direction and that’s okay – but whatever the life circumstance allow your soul to heal. Breathe through the sadness and give your heart the time and the nourishment to heal and to keep moving forward.

Feel confident enough to ask yourself the hard questions – does this life fit me? Are there things in my life that are counter productive to my happiness? Are there other things that I want to do and can do? 

It’s equally okay not to have all of the answers – It’s okay to have some answers – It’s even okay to have the answers but you haven’t implemented any changes. The reason it’s all okay, is that you are at the very least being an active participant in your life. That’s the authenticity in it.

This is life – your life – Own it – All of it, even the parts that aren’t fantastic or flattering or life events that make you cringe when you think back to your own actions. Own all of it because that is part of your life’s history and your blue print – it helps to shape your world, of which you get to choose how your life is shaped.

Today as I sit here… at the age of 32, I distinctly remember in my early 20’s thinking that I couldn’t wait to be 32 – It was an age I had come to believe would be the age where life would fall into place or everything would be figured out – I am confident enough with myself to allow the roaring laughter at naivety  – I probably have more questions than I did at 19! Again, that’s okay – I am likely to have even more questions at 42, 52, 62…

At 32, life is full of questions, hopes, aspirations, vision boarding, dreaming! All of these blissfully romantic thoughts sit along side the domestic life in my brain because at 32 my life is also full of clothes patiently waiting to be washed, a daughter who is fiercely independent but needs mummy cuddles (on her terms obviously), a thoughtful and loving husband, my awesome tribe of my dearest family and great circle of friends… my work, my writer dreams and glasses of wine for those challenging days…

 

Today will look different to tomorrow. Life will keep happening – whether I have caught my breath or not. I will continue to be shaped by experiences, both the positive and the challenging and that’s okay.

 

I work at life everyday to be in it and to steer it and to make it a life that I continue to feel blessed to live in all of its messy, chaotic and authentic glory!

 

~ F.P

A Letter to my Daughter on Love

To my dear angel heart,

At this moment, you are light years away from any meaningful walk down an isle that is not the local grocery shop, better described as chaotic zigzagging to touch anything you can reach.

You are miles away from a heartbreak that may shape your idea on life and love and you are enjoying the blissful age of showing love with few words and through your innocent affections but at this moment, I choose to pen the ideas of marriage in hope you too come to learn.

So my dear daughter…

Fall in love.

Be not afraid of any future heartache for any guarding of the heart may lose you the opportunity to find the greatest love story of your soul.

Age does not determine the ‘rightness’ of your love. Your daddy and I feel in love as young and spirited teens. We grew together-we navigated life together-made mistakes together and learned but we knew, we always knew that we are a commitment and two souls living our life’s path in compliment to one another and not in consumption of the other and we continue to love each other madly.

Embrace the fear accompanying love. Giving your heart to anyone is one of the greatest acts of taking a leap of faith. You cannot control the response of another but be not afraid for those three words to leave your lips to land on another’s heart. The greatest regrets come from the times we have not more than the times we have.

Throw out the idea of a perfect love. Love takes work, it takes faith and it takes courage.

Settle not for stable. No stability in life is worth the sacrifice of true, awesome, heart pounding love.

Be cautious of distractions by glamour and promise. Be not dazzled by promise of lavish gifts and exotic escapes-love can flourish merely between the souls of each other-minus the fireworks, the roses and any grand gestures.

Marry the person you can laugh at life with… Because when life throws you lightening bolts of chaos sometimes the only option open is to laugh!

Marry the one who holds you tightly when you cry, swooping your hair back caught in your tears and still manages to make a little smile appear… But be cautious if your tears are forever falling over them.

Marry the one who you find yourself caught up admiring.

Marry the one who’s compassion shines especially when they stop to pat a puppy.

Marry the one who dreams your dreams and encourages you to dream to greater scales.

Marry not merely because you were proposed to but because your soul sung the song of a hundred angels rejoicing over the path of fate.

Marry when the time is right by your souls clock and not by the expectation.

Your daddy and I waited until the universe aligned with our souls and life schedules which was not always the accepted situation of those who questioned our motives for delay.

I will tell you a secret – there was no ‘perfect’ time for a wedding.

There was no perfect time for our wedding…we had already well and truly committed our love and that did not need the approval of others as you won’t either because in every love story, you write the rules.

Or marry not at all.

You choose the path of your heart and above all-be genuine and navigated by love.

~ F.P

Happy International Women’s Day

Today I pay my respects of love and gratitude for the women who came before me to pave through a challenging road to grant me the rights I have today…

…The right to vote;
…The right to own land;
…The right to be educated;
…The right to work;
… The right to become a mother ~ or not; and
…The choices I make over the life I choose to live.

I also express my respect and gratitude to the woman who has shown me what it means to practice real, unconditional love; to develop the patience of a monk and to dream as grand as your imagination can stretch, then be so determined, confident and strong willed where the only option is to have your dreams and goals realised. That woman is my mum.

An important lesson my mother taught me is that whilst I shall embrace my life as a woman and as a mother… above all else, I am a human part of the global community who chooses equality of all. I do not define myself as a feminist, a female or woman but I am defined as someone striving for fairness and equality for all of us and not because of my gender or the colour of my skin or things such as my sexual preference but based on what I believe to align with my moral and ethical compass.

Today I show my gratitude to the women of our past and the women of my past and my present and also of my future.

And to my daughter…

To my dear, strong willed, determined and spirited daughter ~ be strong enough to fight for your beliefs, yet humble enough to listen to the opinions of another and have an open soul, willing to welcome a change in your perception, should you be inclined… but dear daughter, strive for greatness not because you are a woman but because the world deserves the brightest future possible ~ as does you.

~ F.P

Today I urge connections…especially when all seems calm

In this connected world, the loneliness is deafening.

We are privy to the snippets of another’s world but how often do we touch deeper than surface? How often to we check in in a meaningful way? How often do we give people the space to breathe out their pain. How often do we feel as though we are heard and hear others?

Just moments ago I called a friend. Not text, not Facebook messenger, not liking a social media pic but actually picked up the phone, it dialled and I waited for her to answer. The moments of silence on the other end were unmistakable. She was not okay – but we connected.

We are able to hide and do so well. Sometimes we pretend that we are chugging along well because if no one asks, we don’t need to confront the question in fear of the truths surfacing. And if we are not faced with the question then we can continue to lie to ourselves that we are coping when perhaps the greatest release is falling into the familiar non judgmental comfort of another and cry it out that in this moment of time, life is kicking our butt. Sometimes our reality tricks us into feeling we just don’t know how to reach out.

It is not a shameful position to feel we are floundering. Often it’s merely a moment in time and fleeting while other times it lasts a little while longer… But in all circumstances connections can be the saving grace when we feel broken.

We should never feel as though we have come to a point when it is such a mess that we feel we now need to reach out for survival. We are all part of a connected society. Connect!

Don’t be afraid to connect! Don’t be afraid to feel as though you are leaning on another – that is humanity. We should not feel afraid of judgment because needing help is not a weakness.

So today I urge you to connect.
Ask how another is.
Be open to listening to the genuine answer.
Allow them to answer free of judgment in return.
Don’t be afraid to ask what they need.

Today when I asked my friend what I could do for her, her response caused my heart to ache in guilt and in gratitude.

“You called”… That was all she needed. I called…

I called was something simple I could have done moons ago and something I will remind myself to do more… And in this moment I will take the time to reach out and connect, even when the surface mimics and calm and serene ocean because connecting is the very least I can do as being a citizen of humanity.
~ F.Pimage

When grief teaches patience

Grief teaches us many things. One of which is patience.

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Im tired.
My body aches all over.
My head is thumping.
But my soul is grateful.

I am a mother. One of the only titles that holds a million emotions in a single noun.

My 16 month old is unwell. Its 2.30am as I sit here with her, night two of a restless, uncomfortable and tiring night waiting desperately for the antibiotics to start their job to take over fighting for my tired toddler.

My own bug ripping through like a tornado in my body…yet my heart is overflowing in gratitude.

Its easy to lose sight of perspective in the haze of exhaustion. It is easy to feel as though life is a series of never ending unfortunate events, but grief has taught me to count my blessings – in that moment.

Grief has taught me that the toughest moments are where the best blessings arise from.

Grief has taught me that there are life events that just are. The universe is not conspiring to break me. Life happens.

So tonight I count my blessings because grief reminds me that tomorrows are never guaranteed and the me of tonight will always look different from the me of tomorrow… with or without a night full of sleep.

~ F.P

Can kindness cure the world….

I am not one to engage into political discussions or conflicts but today my mind feels congested by the negativity that is floating around.

The current political climate shifts ultimately between matters that distinguish people between one another and for this I feel emotionally heavy and not as though the political environment reflects me as a citizen.

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I was raised in a home created by parents who’s country of origin was not Australia. They made Australia their home and that creation was borne of a solid work ethic, complete integration into Australian culture with gratitude and appreciation towards this country. My parents immigrated in a time where Europeans were the subject of racism. Fifty years ago, Australia was the country commercialised as the land of opportunity internationally. The invitation was sent out globally to invite others to inhabit and make Australia home.

Fifty years later, the global landscape has significantly changed. There are a number of countries that are dangerous to remain in and yet this is the time that the doors are closed on those in need. The most vulnerable of the global community are knocking and instead there has been a choice to ignore their pleas or redirect them to the neighbours. It saddens me that Australia has become the country where the invitation has been rescinded.

I was equally raised on a home filled with love.
It was a powerful love unspoken and undefined. I was never made to feel or believe that love needs to be explained nor justified. Love was a feeling that was excepted as just being. Love just is.
I step back as I see political discussion continue about marriage equality. Still.
The discussion suggests that there is a need to justify who you choose to love and commit to. How could that be? We have never needed to justify the love between family, between friends or between opposite gender relationships…

And that’s because love just is…

The world is hurting.

The global community is struggling with natural disasters, famines, wars and tragedies that are dealt at the hand of another. In combination of all those issues, could the answer not be more togetherness, more love, more kindness?

Perhaps this is a simplistic approach but could kindness, acceptance and love not be the cure for the worlds pain?

I was raised to have an open heart.

I was raised to accept all with kindness and respect.

Even though my parents faced racism early on in their lives, it was never replicated at home.

I was not raised to distinguish between race; religion; sexual orientation; class or status. I was not raised to judge another on matters not of their choosing but instead encouraged to see people only based on their actions towards me personally.

I am now raising my own family and I have the responsibility of how to teach my daughter how to live in this world. I have the responsibility of how she perceives love, kindness and acceptance of all people and I take that responsibility on with both hands and all my heart and soul and pray to the universe that she will become part of the change needed in the world for the world needs to heal.

 

~ F.P