Slowing down to Speed Up.

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Those of you that follow me on various social media thingys will know that I’m a yogi.  It keeps my mind clear and my body strong. Last night my yoga teacher read this by George Carlin and  I wanted to share it with you,

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our
possessions, but reduced our values. W e talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more
computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one nights stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe,because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, “I love you” to your spouse and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

If you’re like me, much of this will have resonated. We spend so much of our time chasing ouIMG_3739r tails and not communicating meaningfully with those we love. I am as guilty as the next person. I’m a SAHM with a complex.  I often feel guilty for spending time on my writing while my husband is out there at the cutting edge of profit and loss as he tries to earn a  living for the whole family. I’m always bemoaning that I don’t get enough time for my writing, but any amount of time never seems enough! And it’s been years now and still no novel on the bookshelf! The truth is,  I am not a patient person and writing is the ultimate game of patience. I have just finished Anthony Doerr’s fabulous novel ‘ All The Light We Cannot See’ and it took him ten years to write! In that case I’ve hardly scratched the surface. It’s all too easy to get so fixated on your end goal that you forget to enjoy the journey. I am still young(ish), I have two gorgeous boys who are growing up far too fast; these are the days of my life, these are the days I will want to live again.

It was great to hear the lovely @DinahJefferies on BBC Woman’s Hour this week talking about becoming a bestselling novelist in her sixties. It was a reminder there is no sell-by-date with writing. It’s about perseverance and the only person putting time limits on it is myself. Note to self; remember who won the race between the tortoise and the hare.

Love

Nx (channeling my inner tortoise)

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This one’s for the girls!

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I’m a bit of a tick box freak. I can’t help it. I’m like the Roadrunner (meep, meep). I like to get things done. That’s why Lauren Laverne’s recent post on writing a ‘done-it’ list, as opposed to a ‘to-do’ list struck a cord with me. Immediately, my world spun on its axis. Instead of feeling like an underachiever, I suddenly became a success story. That is the power of the mind people (or the power of a good blog!) It really is that easy to be kinder to yourself, to think positively, to think glass half-full.

So, in the spirit of my ‘done-it’ list I swallowed back my reservations, silenced my inner critics and hit enter on the Mslexia novel competition. Despite more women studying literature and attending writing courses than men,  far fewer women actually put their writing forward for competitions. It’s the same old, same old; women are more self-critical and therefore less likely to put themselves forward for promotions, jobs, and competitions than men. We cower in corners and hold ourselves back listening to our inner critics telling us we’re not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, clever enough etc. etc. So, hitting enter felt like I was bucking the trend and while my courage was riding high I completed my first homework for my new writer’s group. I only joined a couple of weeks ago and reading out my work to ten other accomplished writers makes me want to dive for cover, like standing in the stocks waiting to be pelted with tomatoes! But, alongside my brash and noisy inner-critic, there is a quiet persistent voice that reminds me, ‘what’s the point?’ What’s the point of all the hours, of all the sacrifice, of all the hard, hard work if I never share it?’ So, on Friday I’ll read it to the group and hope there’ll be no tomatoes! This week I’ve ‘done-it’ in the hope that the next generation of literary women can believe they are every bit as good as the men!

Impress yourself and compose your own ‘done-it’ list followed by a glass of something to celebrate how bloody great you are. #girl power

Don’t forget to stop and pick the blackberries.

Now that school has started back the days seem to fly by before I can grasp each one and look it in the eye. No matter how early I rise a single day never seems to hold enough hours for me. We have just begun a renovation project: it’s our dream house, our house for life, it seems unreal that it will actually be ours. It is another huge commitment that is not writing! Instead of spending precious child-free hours at my laptop  I’m as likely to to be found looking at wooden floors or bathrooms. In the past few weeks this has left me feeling stressed.

And then this happened.

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On Sunday afternoon my boy and I went blackberry picking. In a matter of weeks he will be nine. He finds me embarrassing, mostly. He is growing up and pulling away from me. And then, on Sunday all he wanted to do was to walk the LONG way home, pick blackberries in the sunshine and hold my hand. It’s enough to bring a lump to my throat, even now. We spent nearly three hours wandering and picking and eating the best ones. I read Seamus Heaney to him which pretty much fell on deaf ears, but it put me in some kind of heaven.

The afternoon reminded me of the importance of  enjoying the moment, enjoying the day doing nothing, but doing everything.  Most days I am consumed by my focus to write, to etch out a quite time and space for myself in the day when I can chip away at my goal to get my second book finished and hopefully published. Sunday reminded me of my priorities. Yes, getting published is my own personal utopia, but amongst the bigger picture of my family it is very much my own personal dream.  It can never be at the cost of my boys, because like most mothers: it is to them that my life belongs. And what use are words without a life behind them to give them meaning.

Go on – find a blackberry bush and start picking, you’ll thank me for it! x