It’s Cultural

via Daily Prompt: Culture

“I’m creating a culture!” I half-yelled after the curious onlooker, who sped up none to slightly at my affront.

“I’m creating a culture,” I repeated under my breath, more for my own sake than for anyone else’s.

Culture is a funny thing. We half expect it to have something to do with ancient civilisations and weird and wonderful traditions that we really have no interest in anymore. But culture is created daily. Culture is what shapes us into the people we are, and what we teach our kids as they grow up. Culture develops from tradition, and tradition develops from habit, and we all know that habits can be established (or for that matter, broken).

By that reasoning, if I can develop good habits, then I can establish good traditions, which can lead to a good culture. I realise that when we speak of culture, we think large-scale. Whole continents, or nations or cities, and yes, culture does shape those; but every single culture started with an individual. I am an individual. You are an individual. Every nation is made up of individuals. So why can’t a culture be changed by individuals?

Our world is desperately in need of a culture shift. Hatred and anger and self-love have become the culture of the human race. This is not limited to a single continent or nation or city, it is universal.

The human race may be broken, but we are not lost. As long as there are individuals who are willing to step out of the cultural norm and start creating a new culture, there is hope. We can change. We WILL change. We can learn to love and to forgive and to think of others before ourselves.

I for one, am willing to try. Are you?

Create your culture – you never know what impact you can have!

Life Happens

via Daily Prompt: Vigor

So often we allow life to simply happen to us.

Wake up, get dressed, go to work… come home, feed the family, put the kids to bed and eventually put yourself to bed. These things are necessary. They are expected. But often we let them happen without being present. By allowing this, we are robbing ourselves of so much beauty, and so much richness.

Sometimes I remember to not let life just happen. Sometimes I am what happens to life. Those are good times. Those are times when I really see the wonder and the beauty in the smallest little detail. Those are times when I am thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for. My life and my heart are full. I love and I am loved in return. Truly I can say “my cup runneth over”. I am smiling as I write this, because as of this moment, today is no longer happening to me: I am happening to today. I am alive and I will tackle the rest of this day with vigour and purpose.

Yes, I will still do the necessary. I will finish work, and I will go home and feed the family, and I will put the baby to bed… But I will be present for the moments. I will be purposeful in my doings, and I will be a better person for it.

Today, I hope that you will be what happens to your day!

 

Dear New Mama

First off, let me say CONGRATULATIONS on starting the most epic adventure you will ever embark on! Being a mother is, without a doubt, the most exciting, terrifying, rewarding, awe-inspiring, exhausting-yet-energizing lifetime commitment you will ever make. I promise you that you will have days that will leave you weeping in wonder and amazement, and days that will have you sobbing in terror and frustration. Sometimes that could all happen in the same day. I wanted to take a moment to share with you a few things that I have learned in my (albeit brief) time as a mother.

My journey into motherhood was not all smooth sailing. In fact, it came as quite a rude awakening in some aspects. I understood that my life was about to change irrevocably and that I would never be the same again.  I tried to prepare myself for the unknown as best I could.  What I could not foresee or prepare for was the veritable minefield of thoughts and opinions about motherhood that I was about to start navigating.

The moment people find out you are expecting, it seems as if they feel it their responsibility to pepper you with (sometimes inappropriate) questions and then to solicit their own advice, whether it was asked for or not. As if it is not daunting enough to become a first-time-mom, suddenly you are thrown into a frenzy of decisions you had no idea you needed to make – and heaven forbid you make a decision that does not sit well with someone else! I mean, it’s not as if you have the right to decide what you believe will be best for you and your baby, right?

Today we have so much information available, and so many different opinions on what the best practices are for giving birth and raising kids, that it is impossible to listen to everyone.  So here is what I have learned:

Silence the voices.

Stop for a moment.

Take a breath.

Realise the beauty of the miracle that is happening to you.

Exhale.

Now, remember that you have a choice – YOUR choice on how you want your baby to come into the world and grow up.  You are about to be a parent, and your baby will be your responsibility to raise in the best way you are able.  When they are grown up, people will look to you as the parent and either commend or condemn you for how they turned out, regardless of whose advice you chose to follow.

So, whether you choose to be a silky, crunchy or scrunchy mama – it is YOUR decision. Whether you decide to have your baby in a hospital or at home, with an OBGYN or a midwife/doula, whether you decide to vaccinate or not, whether you breast- or bottle-feed, whether you co-sleep or not… and any of the hundreds of other decisions you will be making on a daily basis, let the decisions be yours.  Do your own research. Trust your instincts. Don’t be bullied into doing something you are not comfortable with.  Remember – your baby will look to you and only you. Your baby will love you and rely on you to make the best decisions for him or her. And guess what?  You can do it! Above everything else, enjoy the journey.  It is one of a kind, and you don’t get to go back and try again, so savour every moment.  The landscape changes in the blink of an eye, and you really don’t want to miss any of it because you were distracted.

If your baby is still on the way – stroke the joyful bump of the promise of what is coming; if your baby is newly arrived, take a moment of face-to-face time to appreciate this little miracle; if your baby is not a baby anymore, give them a kiss and a cuddle; and then remember to go easy on yourself. You are doing your best, and you are doing great! Even when it feels like you are lost and have no idea what you are doing – take a breath, have a cry, pick yourself up…. You are amazing! I know it. Your baby knows it.  And in the end, that is all that really matters.

Summer

via Daily Prompt: Pungent

Summer is upon us. I can feel it in the quiet oppression of the once cool morning air. I can smell it in the dying of the spring blossoms – so fragrant just a few short weeks ago, now pungent in their decay. Their death is the final cue for spring to flee and leave us in the wilting, silent heat.

And yet I find comfort in the predictability of it all.  Summer comes, year after year, followed by autumn, winter, and spring. I cannot change it, I cannot prevent it.  I can only feel it.  It is life, and it feels good.