Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Colours at play
 We had a delicious little break down in the Eastern Cape this past weekend and I had such fun playing with my camera, admiring the striking colours at the beach.

Monday, 6 August 2012

My oldest daughter has started lessons in oil painting, and I dug out my old art box for her to use and came across this lovely quote by Pieter van der Westhuizen, that I had written in my box.  It ties in beautifully with the theme of this blog ...

You won't find an image of yourself
 in running water.
It's the still waters that allow you to rest
and find yourself.

Isn't that just lovely?

Friday, 3 August 2012

A friend of mine shares the following mantra with her hubby - “The fun never stops.” They apply it to their lives all the time in everything they do and I really like it.  Mentioning it to someone the other day, got me thinking about it again and how wonderful it would be to apply it to my family.  However, my immediate thinking then was, "oh, but it’s easier for them; they don’t have kids!"  
I sat with that thought for a moment and was quite taken aback by it – “so we can’t have fun because we have kids?”  Now where does that thinking come from?  I mean kids just LOVE to have fun; their lives are all about play and having fun.  They show us that all the time.  Fair enough, their fun might not always be my kind of fun, but what am I actually saying about my life?
So sitting with that thought, I wanted to know where it came from.  I know for me, becoming a parent was a big, grown-up, responsible job; not to be taken lightly.  I mean, we are dealing with children here, and their very important lives and futures!!  Therefore, perfect parenting entails that my children need to eat the correct foods, have their fish oil and vitamins, know how to swim from age two at least, get good marks at school, read well and read lots, take part in extra murals, do well at sport and school, have good manners, not have too much screen time, have the right kind of friends … now that REALLY sounds like a whole lot of fun to me!! My kids really love it too :-) Seriously though; how heavy is that and what pressure?
And with the synchronicity that only the universe could provide, a day after I started writing this, another friend of mine shared a quote with me, by Nietzsche, which is quite apt; “Maturity is to recover the seriousness one had as a child at play.” I had to read a few times to really get the essence of it and I just love it, because it highlights for me how serious I am about this parenting thing, and have lost the ability to really play.  I have been too busy trying to be the perfect parent. (I could substitute parent for package really, which includes mom, wife, friend, daughter, facilitator, cook, gardener, yogi, pianist and the list goes on.) This is a very heavy place to be in and truly just doesn’t work. It might in some areas some length of time, but it is not sustainable and I don’t think it is meant to be.
I have just realised, that this heaviness of mine is maybe why my eldest daughter jokes all the time – she’s trying to make me laugh and lighten up;  and my younger  daughter often asks me when I am cooking dinner (such timing!) to come and jump on the trampoline with her.  I mean, how can you not be light after jumping as high as you can with a bouncy giggly hair-flying-in-the-wind poppet?!  In doing some of the tasks from The Artist’s Way, I did some delving into my childhood, and my memories of it are also not always light – not enough play and too much seriousness about sport and school and here I am carrying that through with my children.
Now I’m not very good at playing some of my children’s own made-up games and just playing with them, especially when I have a particularly long to-do list.  However in working with the mantra, “the fun never stops” I feel I owe it to myself and my children to be lighter and sometimes just take 5 minutes with a simple game of noughts and crosses, a jump on the trampoline, dancing to a funky song, a quick walk with the dogs, playing piggy in the middle or maybe a swim in the pool for 20 minutes – is that really such a lot?  Nikki Bush, a parenting expert, recently wrote an article called “fantastic fun out of nothing” where she talks about spending Easter with her family, picnicking and playing soccer and volleyball in the park rather than heading off to Sun City for the day.  I loved the following words, “Children just adore playing team sports with their parents and other adults. Most importantly, all the adults took a break from their normal daily pursuits for an entire day, pressing the pause button to stop and play awhile.   It was more invigorating than going to gym, more refreshing than a walk, far cheaper than Sun City and more memorable than a meal in a fancy restaurant ”  Thank you Nikki for sharing that. How powerful a message about the joy of playing!
DON’T however let this bit of reading make you feel guilty about having to play more with your children, as that just adds to the heaviness.  Rather look at how you can you too can have fun, not just the kids. Find the games that you love too. I am also curious as to what play entails for me - what about my play?  What do I like playing at?  Do I do enough of that, or am I too busy being serious at life?  ‘Me thinks’ that is far too heavy and that it is time for some fun.  In fact, I think I am going to take a morning off next week and go to the movies! How deliciously decadent!  Or find a swing somewhere and just swing a bit – now that would be truly delightful!
May the fun never stop!