Friday, March 1, 2013

Calm





Calmness is not a character trait, it's simply a skill. You have to decide that it matters; that the quality of your presence would be better if you slowed yourself down and were really connected to people and to the moment you are living in. Then you practise until gradually it becomes part of you. It benefits everyone around you - they feel peaceful and happy in your presence...It's well worth cultivating.
Calmness is made up of certain actions - breathing deeper, dropping your shoulders, settling your muscles, feeling your feet strongly planted on the ground, focusing your thoughts on the job in hand in a steady, easy way... Even just counting three or four breaths, in and out, will slow your heart beat and calm your mind down...
...Everything is better - the taste of food, the scent of flowers, the feel of the shower warm on your skin. You will find that time slows down and you can think more...

From Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph page 20

I love the idea of calm. But I am not by definition a very calm person.
But in amidst the chaos that was this past week, I decided to try harder. To make a conscious effort to be a calmer person and make a calmer home.

Here's my calm list so far;
  • exercise for half an hour a day
  • go to bed a little earlier each night to read
  • try to get organised for the next morning the night before
  • be conscious of lowering my shoulders
  • pick my battles carefully
  • make time for each of my girls and their homework (as much as I disagree with it)
  • try to clear and clean out our home space
  • breath deeply
  • try to stick to the to do list
  • try to be organised with food and laundry
  • keep an up to date calender for all to see
  • fill in and send back school notes as soon as I get them
  • try not to feel other people's feelings for them 
I think it will be a bit of a work in progress. Some items will be easier to stick to than others. But I am on to it and looking forward to seeing some changes around here.

I did entertain the thought of writing out my crazy list too. The list of things spinning around my head at the moment threatening to make me hyperventilate and fall over, but I decided not to. The crazy gets enough of my time and head space, I need to restrict it. I need to control my crazy and concentrate on calm. Yes I do.

How about you? Do you keep calm amidst the crazy chaos?
Is my list the same as your list? Do you have a list? Do you need one?
Do you have some extra tips for me to add to mine?

I hope you have the most wonderful weekend friends.
I hope it smells divine, tastes delicious and feels fabulous.

Bye xx

51 comments:

  1. I remember my mum having Raising Girls and I loved reading it when I was a teenager! Those doileys are looking scrumptious, I love that forest green. So rich. I think I need a calm list too. I think the most important thing on my list would be to check yourself before you wreck yourself!

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  2. Some of those made me laugh, especially the school notes. I'm just trying to breathe. In and out. In and out. Enjoy your weekend xxx

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  3. I love your list and will definately take on board/add these to my list. I'm all about loving simple. Enjoying the simple things in life. Not rushing, taking time to stop and "smell the roses". The world is crazy busy enough these days without bringing it in to the home. xo

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  4. Some people are so calm it's like they may as well be dead. I like my people to react! Sure, being calm has its uses as well I know when I am running about like a fool, but I do hate it when people proscribe to us how it is best to be as if we are not good enough as we are. We are. We are all different and that's a good thing. Mr Biddulph has no idea what my food tastes like, or if I think a lot already, calm or not, so by all means give out ideas for being calm when needed but acting like a dictotorial know all is not helpful. A calm sea isn't always good, sometimes a bit of wind is needed. A person is a person - no one comes with the rule book of life so why should I think Mr Biddulf knows more about raising girls than anyone else? Girls are all different and I was one where he was not so I've already got a head start as do all mothers trusting their instict. Why should other people have the answers to all the questions when we don't? Are they superhumans or something? I hate people telling us how we should do things their way. Just plain old bossy, and ego driven. Trust yourself is best. The internet is taken over with people giving us lists on what we should do, wear, behave like, just so we can be more like them. Why, when they are just as fallible and wrongheaded/footed like the rest of us.

    My gripe is with the book author only. And I disagree. Calmness is very much a character trait with some people while inculcated by others. Silly man.

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  5. This post came at just the right time for me so thank you! I am a person who sometimes struggles with calmness and right now is one of those times. I have never thought of calmness as a skill and I absolutely love this idea, it's something to work on and it's something you may not always succeed at, it's something to learn and to develop, it's something to foster. I don't have a calm list but I think it's something that I would really benefit from. I also love the simplicity of your list, it makes it seem more attainable. I think on my list I would add taking 5 minutes to just observe and experience the moment and spending quality time with my fella, really listening and contributing. The thing that really struck me about this post was the last item on your list "try not to feel other people's feelings for them ", this has been something I have done since very young and something that has caused me a lot of anxiety, including at the moment. Feeling for people tends to lead to me feeling as though I need to rescue people and I am slowly realizing that this not only stresses me out and exhausts me, but it also compromises the persons autonomy and that's not something I want to do. I'm sorry for the rant but thank you for your post it showed me another way of looking at and working out my calm :)

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  6. I used to look at those calm women and think oh if only I could be like them but I have come to terms with the fact that it just isn't me. I am who I am (as Gloria Gaynor sang back in the '80's) I live in a chaotic house with 3 boisterous boys and no family support in this country, life in hectic. I do like your list though, I am trying to clear and clean out our home space but I seem to have made more mess not less, there is stuff everywhere!

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  7. My only comment about this list is the use of the word "try." I once had a therapist tell me there was no such action as "trying." You either do what you say you're going to do or you don't. That bit of wisdom has made a huge difference in my actions.

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  8. Calm comes from within, confident and knowing that you are safe and secure. Having Someone to trust, to face life's challenges with, not alone. I don't find it to be inactivity or slowness, but in being. I'm enjoying those amazing, fragile-looking doilies growing in number and admire your talented hookiness!

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  9. Kate, this is my life's work!
    I am a very instinctively bossy/reactive person, and found that I was so crazy and stressed last year, I decided to become a bit more Zen. I have been reading Buddhism for Mothers, if you haven't read this then it might be helpful for you at this time.
    I was making progress over the holidays, but with the school routine starting up again it has been much harder. I've found that I need to read/practice a little each day, to make it a constant instead of a brief glimpse.
    I also try to instill my yoga calm into my every day; using the breath, being in the moment etc.
    Keep us posted Lady, we should start a calm study group! xxx

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  10. I need a list like yours! My week wasn't very calm at all (and next week is shaping up to be even less so). I'm going to promise myself that after that - there will be *some* calm, somewhere in my household!

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  11. This is a good list, I try to be mostly calm most of the time, and I think i do ok until someone mentions shoulders and then I realise how uppity mine are..

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  12. What what a good lst, Kate. I could definitely do with more calm in my life too. x

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  13. I think Steve Biddulph is a very wise man! I learnt more from his Raising Boys book than I ever dreamed possible.

    I don't do calm well. I am constantly on edge, tense and to be honest, sometimes a bit snarly. It's something I'm aware of, but unfortunately things like chronic pain bring out the worst in my personality. Your list is a great idea, I think I will pick just one or two things and try them over and over again until I master them, then repeat!

    One thing we have all already mastered, the whole family, is preparing for the day the night before. Bags are packed, instruments are by the door, music is found, notes and diaries are signed and lunches are made. Mornings are always my worst time for being unwell, so we wouldn't have survived any other way, and now it's a great habit that makes our days run so much more smoothly!

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  14. That list could be mine! Not feeling too calm this afternoon: kids are grumpy, one's a bit sick, the house is a tip, and I'm too hot and bothered. But we've made honey semifreddo for dessert, so I'm hoping that might bring some calm! xK

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  15. i did laugh as i was reading your list ~ so many familiar things there as i slowly learn the art of getting 2 kids ready for school and through 2 lots of homework {tho i disagree with it too!}. i like the last one on your list!
    xx

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  16. I am going to take your words about controlling the crazy and concentrating on the calm Kate...and hold them close this week. Thank you

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  17. I am not a calm person either but I find that being organized helps. I like order & routine but it doesn't come naturally, I have to work on it & sometimes even fight myself for it. I'm busy with work, kids, the house & having a husband who does 4:1 FIFO is hard so it's very easy to let things slide, become messy & disorganized. When the physical things get out of hand so does my mental state & that's no good at all.

    I have a notebook full of lists. I like them. They help free up my mind.

    Enjoy the weekend Kate xx

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  18. I like this. I try very hard to be calm and really notice the difference it makes to the whole family when I can manage it ;) Nice post Kate. Kx

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  19. crochet makes me calm! I try and do a bit everyday.

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  20. Hmm calm ??.... Its something I often wish for, seldom work at and rarely achieve.
    It is also something that we could do with here at our house!
    So I'm stealing/borrowing your list, pushing the shoulders down, breathing deeply and trying to calmly make sense of the madness that is life with 3 kids and an upcoming move interstate.
    Hmm calm .... keeping a lid on "panic" - is that almost the same thing ???

    Love your list - may it work wonders for you.
    Jenny

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  21. I do the same in my paid job as I do for my unpaid job: make a list of all the things I need to do and mark them with 1,2 or 3 to work out the important ones. Most days just get through the items labelled with a 1.
    Also -schedule the time wasters - eg web browsing, blogs and reward yourself with half an hour when you've achieved some of your list. I'm not naturally calm but am calmer when I' m not rushing and devote proper blocks of time to kids or home instead of jumping between tasks and never finishing anything.

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  22. You are so on the money with this. I love your list. I love lists! It strikes me as a very female problem, this pursuit of calm. (Or is it a mama problem?) We have so much going on, such high standards, so much to keep in check, so many people to keep happy, well and fed, that getting our own needs met often gets squashed and forgotten. Or maybe it's just me? That's when my stresses bubble up. People who don't know me often say I'm calm. Mostly I am. I'm least calm with those who most deserve it. This, I'm trying to change. Thanks for posting this! Happy weekending! :-)

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  23. I do pretty much the opposite to all of the organisational tips to stay calm! I just get on with life, and when it is brought to my attention that something was not bought / signed / washed / etc I just LET IT GO. None of that stuff matters.
    Meditation has saved my sanity and probably made the kids like me a little better as I am not yelling (as much...).
    Kali

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  24. Take one minute. Lie down. Close your eyes. See nothing. Hear nothing. Harder to do than you might imagine!
    Have a great weekend. Thanks for the reading matter this week.
    Have just realised my last post is the same title as yours. Maybe we're all looking for a bit of calm as we navigate the chaos.

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  25. Those doilies are adorable......trying to keep calm as I type...breathing breathing....
    Daisy J

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  26. I really liked this post and many of the things on your list are also on mine. But when I started thinking a bit more about my pursuit of calmness I realised that I was after two different types. My first type should actually be called Avoiding Unnecessary Drama; which I try to do by having routines for boring stuff. Then I can do them without thinking about them. I hate routines but I hate PE kit panic more. And my second type of calmness is calmness for me, personally. Stepping out of the bloody routines and having a few moments for a podcast of The Archers (BBC Radio 4), a large coffee and some crochet or knitting.

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  27. I could do with a huge dose of calm at the moment Kate, wise words and pretty photos too x

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  28. Ah Kate, I can completely relate! I feel so overwhelmed with everything sometimes... even when they're only little things. I actually just wrote a blog post that mentions a book (How to get things done: the art of stress-free productivity) and a website (Simpleology) that have really made a difference to me recently - I actually feel more relaxed and in control! It's all about writing lists...
    www.cumquatsandquinces.blogspot.com

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  37. Kate you are bang on the money for me this post. My New Years Resolutions are 1. Calm and 2. Organisation. If I can work towards these traits I will be a healthier person and a better mum.
    Do you recommend the Steve Biddulph book? I'm at the beginnings of the teen years with a nearly twelve yr old, and looking to read as much as possible. Maggie Dent keeps being recommended to me.

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  38. I am trying to do everything on that list and I can't say I am feeling much calmer at the present moment. I do keep trying though.

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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