What it took

And this is what it took

For family bonds to be restored

For homes to be taken care of

For those odd jobs to be done

And this is what it took

For puzzles to be dusted off

For forts to be built

For more books to be read

And this is what it took

For families to bake together

For our bodies to be nourished

For health to be prioritised

And this is what it took

For children to learn of boredom

For friendships to strengthen

For the birds to be heard

And this is what it took

For driveways to be played on

For rainbows to be drawn

For neighbours to connect

And this is what it took

For time in nature to be appreciated

For music to be enjoyed

For creativity to come alive

And this is what it took

For communities to unite

For Mother Earth to regenerate

For new ways to be discovered

And this is what it took

For the world to truly slow down

And if this is what it took…

What are we taking away from all of this?

💛

By Simone Parker

@embarkedwithsimone

14.04.2020


Group Acrylic Mandala Painting Intuitive Art Therapy Workshop with Embarked with Simone in Atwell, South of Perth Western Australia

Magnificent Mandalas

WOW! What a workshop! Last night I held the final session for my latest Mandala Painting Workshop 🎨
Seeing the excitement in the group as they put their finishing touches to their masterpieces, & their amazement at what they were able to create, the colours they chose, & how their pieces evolved was just incredible 💖
It was such a wonderful group, with lots of chatter & sharing over the 4 weeks as we all got to know each other. I’m so proud of each of them for giving this time to themselves, opening themselves to the journey, & for the stunning mandalas they created 💛
I’m so excited for the workshops next year & to see what each group creates! I’ll be releasing the dates for the first couple of workshops soon, so keep an eye on my page for those.
A BIG thank you to these 4 amazing ladies! I can’t wait to see where you hang your masterpieces xx

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Clean the cleaner

I was all ready to write a post yesterday morning on how it had been a big week which started with doing the wonderful Reiki 2 course with Angel Light Heart and Soul Healing, going through & growing through lots of emotions, giving & supporting people through my Mandala Painting Workshop & Reiki sessions, then having the shock of my sister & her beautiful family involved in a freak accident & delaying their start to their round the country trip again (thankfully all escaping major injuries), loving & caring for my family (including one sick child), & then getting sick myself as well… I had acknowledged that it had been a big week, and had planned things I wanted to write, but as the theme has seemed to be this week, plans are never set in stone… My big week clearly wasn’t yet done, as I added an extra cherry on top, ending up with a little health scare yesterday afternoon (because my family needs the extra stress 😬), & so I’m now sharing something that perhaps others need to hear as well.

I’ve had this recurring thought for a while now, that stems from a dishwasher advertisement of all things 🙊, that asks, ‘who cleans the cleaner!?’ I think of it often in relation to those who support other people (i.e. parents, carers, support workers, people who hold space for others in whatever capacity, etc) & I think, ‘who cares for the carer!?’ Whilst I’ve had this thought multiple times, I guess I haven’t gone much further than that… until now!

During the week I had someone close to me ask, ‘if you do this for others, then who’s looking after you?’ Then yesterday my beautiful friend posted something so poignant about being kind to ourselves when we’re always giving kindness to others, followed by a phone call about recent events, & we both agreed that we are now giving so much more of ourselves in our new spaces of work (that we both love so much), & that we really need to do more for ourselves & to look after ourselves as a result. Finally, as I laid in bed with my hand on my heart last night, I got images of a teddy bear (giving a big bear hug) & a droopy rose (in need of some nuturing) impressed on my mind, & I thought to myself, ‘I’m getting the msg loud & clear now!!’

So when I’m up to it, I will be scheduling in some extra & regular time for me. Because whilst I’ve done a lot of work on myself this year, it’s been a few months since I’ve had someone do some work on me, & I know that a regular massage, reiki, or meditation, etc will do wonders & will help keep me balanced so that I can continue giving myself in ways that I am so passionate about ❤️

So if you find yourself in a similar position, & you’re giving a lot of yourself, but not making time to receive, then let this be your reminder to ‘clean the cleaner’ & look after you! Let’s not just make it a once off. Let’s put something regular into place, & if you need someone to hold you accountable, then send me a message & let me know your plans & I can check in every now & then to see how you’re sticking to them 😊

It’s so important to make space for ourselves, to have the power to say no to somethings, & the power to say yes when people offer help (which I’m so incredibly grateful for all the offers of grocery shops, etc that I’ve received over the last couple of days 😍😍)

Have a great week! ❤️


Balance & boundaries

Life is all about setting boundaries to create balance. It is also about recognising when we need to set those boundaries, and when we are out of balance. For me, I would love to paint at every spare moment that I have (around looking after our 3 little ones), but I know that some of my time needs to be spent managing the house and other things. I also know that, whilst I love my painting time, if I spend too much time painting and not enough of my time writing and in quiet reflection then things can also get on top of me. With so many moving parts, it is a constant work in progress to get things in balance.

Balance and boundaries are especially important when we are parents and have so many demands on us. I know that in a busy house with 3 little ones, it can be really hard to have time to myself, or just some quiet time, and so it is up to me to set boundaries to create that quiet time. Creating boundaries with our children also encourages them to learn patience, understanding and gratitude (and is definitely a work in progress). We also need to set boundaries with our families and friends, we need to set boundaries with our work and other commitments, and we need to set boundaries with our partners.

Setting these boundaries helps us to create balance. For example, it helps with creating a balance between time with the family, time with our partners, and time with ourselves. Whilst it can be incredibly hard to achieve, and some days might be easier than others, what can make it easier is knowing what quality time looks like with our families, partners, and ourselves. By knowing what quality time looks like, we can then make better decisions around how we spend our time, and can gain greater satisfaction from using that time to better serve us. Communicating with our partners and kids on the boundaries we want to create is also key.

We also need to take the pressure off ourselves. We don’t have to do everything, and we don’t have to achieve it all alone. It is okay to ask for help when we need it. Sometimes we might need to take a break from something to make room or give extra attention to something else.  When we feel we are spiralling and overwhelmed, the best solution is often to take a break and regroup. Whilst we might think we are ‘wasting time’ when we stop, this is not the case for when we take breaks, we are coming back with greater energy, greater focus and clarity, and often greater motivation.

If you’re recognising that you’re out of balance, speak up and ask for the help you need to create the space for you to restore balance, and be gentle with yourself.


Do you have time?

“Time is a created thing. To say, ‘I don’t have time’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to’.” – Lao Tzu

Every day, I’m becoming more & more comfortable with the message behind this quote, but there was definitely a time (a long time) when it would have made me uncomfortable… Now I can see that we have a choice in how we want to use the time that we have each day, & if we stop to reflect on the things that we say we don’t have time for, & the real reasons why we are saying we don’t, then it can really help with our mindset.

In the times that I’ve found myself wanting to say, ‘I don’t or didn’t have time to do that’ (ie. to clean or to do something for me), I’ve realised that it’s not that I didn’t have time, it’s just that I made something else more of a priority. It can be quite confronting or uncomfortable when we really look at why we say we don’t have time for something, & when we own up to the real reasons, but it can be so freeing when we do.

For me, I used to say, ‘I don’t have time for my Pilates exercises, how am I going to find the time to do them?’, & then I changed my mindset, & with the same time available to me, I made the time to do the exercises everyday. Another example for me, is meal planning. In the past, I would have said, ‘I don’t have time to meal plan’, but when I really looked at why I didn’t, I accepted that it’s not a strength of mine, & therefore I don’t make it a priority, & owning up to that & saying, ‘I’m not great at meal planning, & I’d rather spend my time doing something else instead’ feels good. Also acknowledging that we don’t have to be good at everything also feels good!

So often I am discovering that I say, ‘I don’t have time’ because that is so much easier & more comfortable than, ‘this is what I need’, or ‘can you help me?’, or ‘I actually don’t want to do that’.

How often do we say, ‘I don’t have time to do something for me’, when the reality can be that we just don’t feel we can ask someone to watch the kids so that we can do something for ourselves, or we are uncomfortable asking for help, or we’ve prioritised so many other things (including our families desires) over our own needs & desires?

In my experience, it’s not something that happens over night, especially if you’re used to saying it quite a bit (& I know with 3 young kids & a busy house it was my go to response), but I’m finding that more & more I’m owning up & being honest in my communication with myself & others, & taking responsibility for how I spend my time, & in doing so, I am enjoying the benefits.

Just this past weekend, I made the choice to ask my hubby to look after the kids so that I could spend a morning receiving some much needed energy work from my beautiful friend Fran (who I asked to book some time with), & then to spend an afternoon at a beautiful workshop run by Estelle @themummahub (oh & I got a quick trim in between!). Knowing that I had this wonderful weekend because I made myself a priority & made time for me, not only feels good, but also empowers me to do it again & again!

How does this quote make you feel? How often do you say you don’t have time for something?


Investing in Ourselves

How many of us really invest in ourselves?

How many of us spend time on, or with, ourselves? And how many of us, push ourselves aside, saying, “I don’t have time to paint, or to sit and read a book, or to have a bath, or to exercise or go out for a walk”? And yet, if someone else asks something of us and for our time, how many of us quickly say “yes” and make the time for them?

How many of us shy away from spending money on ourselves because something is expensive or we can use that money towards something else? And then, how many of us do not hesitate to spend money on our children, our partners, or other family and friends?

Really investing in ourselves is what so few of us do, yet is something we all REALLY need to do.

Last year, my husband and I decided to enrol our oldest son into a weekly sporting class. We discussed that it was quite costly, but that we would make it work as it would be great for him. I laughed to myself, and made comments to my hubby and the family, that here we were, not hesitating to enrol our son into a weekly class, yet in the past I had put aside my own interests in Pilates and yoga classes because of such costs. In the same vein, my husband and I (okay, mostly me) had been looking at a new bed for months and months, but money was tight and so we kept pushing our desire aside. Six months down the track, we decided, with my sister-in-law and her husband, that we would surprise my in-laws with some home improvements whilst they were away on a holiday, and as part of this my husband and I, without much hesitation, bought them a new bed, saying ‘we’ll make it work’. Then in January of this year, my husband surprised me for my birthday and booked me a holiday to spend some time with my beautiful friend. Before going, my friend told me of this painting workshop that she really wanted us to do together. As she mentioned the cost, I was a little hesitant, because 1, I had not painted in a very long time, and 2, “I couldn’t possibly spend that money on myself” (especially on top of the cost of the trip).

How often does this happen? How often do we think we are not worthy of investing in, or we make excuses for why we can’t invest in ourselves, or we put others needs and wants before our own?

It definitely happens all-to-often for me, like giving yummy leftovers to the kids for lunch and not saving any for myself, or giving the last of the cold water from the fridge to my hubby because there wasn’t enough for 2 glasses, or holding off going to the bathroom until I’m busting because I need to do something else for the kids or around the house… Well, I’m happy to say I have been making changes. A few months after buying my in-laws a new bed, I saw our dream bed on sale again, and I came to the realisation that if we could make it work and buy our loved ones a new bed, then we could make it work for us too. I attended the painting workshop, and had such an amazing experience, which has been the catalyst to me finding a hidden passion of mine in painting. Whilst I didn’t invest the money to attend, as I was so lucky my friend had wanted to gift me the workshop for my birthday, it was another realisation that if I had said no to investing in myself, I wouldn’t be painting like I am today, knowing now that I would have paid double the cost of the workshop for what I received from it.

Investing in ourselves doesn’t have to mean spending money. It could be as simple as taking time for ourselves to read, paint, relax in a bath, eat a decent meal, watch a movie, do a puzzle, go for a walk on the beach, play a board game, or anything else that you enjoy doing (this might just be a list of things I enjoy :)). It could be making that doctors appointment, or physio appointment, or dentist appointment (although money will be necessary here…) that you’ve been putting off, or saying “no” to something because we have enough on our plate or we just need a day or night at home.

Investing in ourselves is anything where we are putting our needs and wants first, and making our whole health and wellbeing a priority.

The next time you have the opportunity to invest in yourself, instead of thinking “I don’t have time”, or “I couldn’t possibly spend that money on myself”, think about what the investment could really mean, and what doors it could open for you. See any investment you make in yourself as a powerful message that you are sending to the universe, showing how much you are worth and how much you value yourself. Not only will this have positive effects on you, but it will also show those around you your value, and what is possible if they invest in themselves too, including the wonderful little children we have that look up to us as their role models.

What investment will you make today?

xxx

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