Kon Mari your mind - What Sparks Mental Joy?

18 October 2017

Dear friend,

The last month has been a struggle. Dealing with my mental load has left me floundering. My outward image of calmness and control has started to crack and snappy, anxious mummy has appeared.

We are constantly sold the ideal of a happy mummy making for a happy home, well perhaps they were right after all because my big lad has also had a month filled with struggles and anxiety. Sometime I wonder, does he feed off me or do I feed off him? I am sure that my personal happiness is linked to his. (Read this fab post from my blogging buddy Hayley at Mission Mindfulness: A parent is only as happy as their unhappiest child). My mental load has increased significantly with my worries about my autistic son.

I recently convinced my friend to Kon Mari her wardrobe. I heard myself explaining to her how it made me feel, lighter afterwards. It lead to a light bulb moment. Why not Kon Mari my mind?

For those of you who don't know; Kon Mari is a home organisation method created by Mari Kondo; "The life changing magic of tidying up." The method involves taking everything out of your wardrobe and placing it on the floor. You then need to look at it and think - Does it spark joy? If yes keep it and if no, donate, sell or throw it away. This method sparked a home organisation craze with the book becoming a number one best seller.

What if I applied Kon Mari to my mental load?

Kon Mari your mind:   

In a bid to organise my mind I started with a list of the main things affecting my mental load; Family, Friends, Home, Work, Blog. I then asked myself; What sparks joy?

Family: My number one joy sparker. I certainly don't plan on giving away either of my boys and hubby can stay (as long as he keeps doing some washing - joke). It is clear that big lad really needs my support at the moment and that has to be my priority. I need mental space to deal with this properly.

Friends: This is a part of my life that I am really guilty of neglecting but that can bring me the most joy. I definitely need to try and make more time to do things with my friends, or just to call my UK friends more.

Home: I hate housework but it needs to be done! But like many mums I know I do tend to take on too much and then feel resentful. I have decided to delegate some of the home responsibilities. I have made chore charts for everyone to share the load. I have started doing my housework to music too as music is a real joy sparker for me and it seems to go much quicker!

Work: I love some elements of my work and not others (I think it is the same for most people). I am learning to say no and to work smarter. 

Blog: Blogging is my hobby but my blog has grown beyond belief so taking a look at what on my blog sparks joy for me has been a real eyeopener. This is where I have made the most changes because I had fallen into the trap of doing what I thought was required to be a 'Good blogger' instead of being driven by my passion. I have let go of several posts/series and will be posting less. It feels gratifying to get back to what really matters to me; raising awareness of autism and supporting my blogging colleagues. 

I need more mental space and more time, to be able to give my son the support he needs and to be a calm and happy mummy.

Using the Kon Mari principle to declutter my mind has been a very positive experience. We all have busy lives, responsibilities and demands placed on us but it is good for your health to ask yourself, what really makes your soul happy. Why don't you give it a go?

What sparks your joy?

One Moment in Time with Petite Words

6 October 2017

Welcome to one moment in time, a guest posts series, where bloggers share the stories behind special or significant photographs. This week's featured blogger is a blogging buddy of mine, a fabulous illustrator and writer who always makes the blogging world more beautiful, Charlotte from Petite Words.

I rarely share sad experiences, mostly because I feel when something upsetting happens, it’s usually good not to dwell on it. However, some experiences aren’t just remembered for being sad, they are also very poignant moments in our lives. And this is one of them.

2 years ago was one of the worst days of my life: my wedding day.

Most women spend years planning every detail of their special day: the white dress, the gorgeous venue, fine tuning every last frill and canapé.

But for me, our wedding was just an essential task that needed to be completed, ipso facto a way to insure my partner and I could continue life together, because, yes the world really is that cruel. Anyway, to cut a long story short my husband is Colombian, I’m British, we met in China. And so, the government don’t care how beautiful your love is, if you haven’t got money to throw at an immigration problem, it’s a brick wall.

So, some time later off we flew to Hong Kong to get married. We had just enough money for 3 nights in a beach hotel, on a tiny island next to Hong Kong, Llama island; a bump of tropical trees, expats and frogs. You might be thinking, wow, what an adventure and that’s what I thought too! We’d made the very brave decision to forfeit anything remotely weddingy. We would have no reception, no white dress, no guests, just us and we would just do what we had to do, in the hope that a few years down the line we could have a real wedding celebration back in the U.K with our families.

The day started off as surreal as you’d expect. Breakfast looking out to sea, we didn’t talk much, but I tried my best to feel happy thought quite frankly, we were lonely. We missed our families, we missed the celebration of it all. We were both awash with emotions and somewhere between the cava and the getting glammed up, everything fell apart. My husband was stressed I had told him the registry office is pretty casual and that he wouldn’t need a jacket. But now he regretted not bringing one and had a massive superman without his cape moment. The wedding was in 2 hours and now he was devising a plan to head into central HK to buy a jacket and then meet me at the registry office. My husband has no harry potter time turner and is quite possibly the worst time keeper in the universe. So, fearing he’d be hours late for his OWN wedding and that I’d be stood there like a bridal lemon, I tried to talk him out of it.

But, with emotions already stretched, it all began to unravel and the arguments began. Screaming, shouting, our love letters and wedding gifts to each other, torn up, thrown around the room. My face, that had been perfectly made up, was now a mess of tears and smudges. I collapsed on the bed, sobbing, why was this happening to us? The rest was a blur. We bellowed at each other for what felt like hours and then, a reality check… we were already late for the ferry which would take us to the registry office and the final one was leaving in 10 minutes.

To wed or not to wed, that was the question…..

Then there was silence, and the next thing I know, we picked ourselves up. There was no time for fresh makeup, no time to get dressed, so I threw on my shorts and stuffed my bag with makeup, my dress, shoes, rings. And we ran. We ran for our wedding, we ran because we didn’t know what else to do. Through the bustling streets with men selling lobster and expats enjoying beers in the sunshine, our faces bathed in sweat, 38′ heat and we’re running, literally sprinting. My stick on bra, which stood so firm before, was now far from doing it’s job. (F.Y.I stick on bras don’t react well to humidity).

And we made it. And here in ferry bathroom I tried to piece myself back together, covering my blotchy cheeks with concealer, placing the flowers back in my hair, applying lipstick to my smile-less mouth. I was not a shining bride, but I was there.

We sat, bobbing up and down on the ferry, looking at each other painfully, our love so unsettled, we just didn’t know what we were doing. Most people would have taken a epic argument on their wedding day as a sign NOT to get married. I just wanted to press the restart button, have the day afresh but life is no game and we don’t have the luxury of 2nd starts. It’s go forward or go home.

In the end, 45 minutes late, with puffy eyes and frayed nerves we said ‘I do’. But not just to marriage, we said ‘I do’ to struggle, to life being difficult and accepting that real sadness is not a wedding day ruined or a disappointing moment, no, real sadness is something you can’t come back from and there were we, standing together accepting that.

After the wedding, things continued to be a nightmare, lots of ignoring each other, feeling strange and unsettled because honestly, we were both broken. I was desperate to make things normal, to push us back together but my husband, who was also hurt by the whole mess, needed time to find himself again. So we spent the following days with no smiles and lots of resentment.

Not exactly a honeymoon recipe, but isn’t that just life.

I mean, there is NO fairytale, marriage is not a dream and romantic things usually never work how you hoped. However love, if you want to put your money on anything, love is your best bet. Love IS a bit special, it’s the magic which binds life together, which makes disasters that bit more bearable and the happy days that bit more blissful. Love always wins, no matter your situation never forget that.

P.S Incase you’re wandering, my husband and I are still very much in love, have been together almost 4 years and have just had a renew wedding blessing, which was as magical as could be, read all about our WEDDING BLESSING, no stick on bra this time round and of course my husband had a kick ass jacket!

What an incredible story and I agree 100% love always wins. 

Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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