As I sit here in the midst of Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossing the Queensland Coast, bunkered down with my Nana and Pop in our 1960’s (and probably asbestos ridden) house, a few things have come to mind. With the ferocious wind roaring outside and ripping the yard to bits, I can’t help but feel a little shaken, and stirred. It was a long, tense night tossing and turning in bed, trying to drown out the noise of our home rattling amidst various bangs and brief silences. We had our emergency bags packed and ready with the essentials – tea, coffee and sugar being of the outmost importance. For what crisis in life can’t be aided and slightly sweetened by a good, hot brew?
The reality of losing our home is something that’s hard to think about, but ever so possible. This is where I came home to after being born 27 years ago in the Mackay Base Hospital. I had my first birthday here, multiple Christmas lunches, BBQ’s, family memories and happy times. This house has been in our family since 1966 and has seen a lot of things. Despite my Nana and Pop never officially owning their own dog, there have been over 8 wonderful dogs pass through their doors (and 3 resting at peace in the back yard). They have always opened their doors to family and friends, with the promise of a hearty meal and warm cup of tea at regular intervals during the day. This is where I’ve come back to every school and university holiday break, with nothing beating the smell of Nana cooking scrambled eggs in the morning to wake me up.
I’m so lucky and blessed to have grown up with these wonderful family memories, and wish I could pause time to keep my grandparents in this moment forever. But as we all know, life goes on and one day I must inevitably accept that they won’t be here. Until then though, I’ll cherish my time with them, and rest peacefully knowing I’ve got somewhere to call home.
Photo credits – airpixels & theophelia_
If you’ve moved house a couple of times like myself, you’ll understand the feeling of not being quite able to settle in until you’ve completed your ‘homely’ rituals. Even after the long days of packing, hiring utes (and friends) for the heavy items and the inevitable unpacking, nothing feels right until your favourite items are in place and a candle has been lit. I could be sitting in an absolute mess of books, clothes and bathroom products at the end of moving day, but as long as my family photographs and rose quartz crystal are on display, and the scent of a (preferably lavender or lemongrass) candle is delicately touching the room – all is well in my world.
So why are these rituals so important to our happiness? I think it comes down to a sense of grounding, of bringing us back to our perception of ‘home’ after engaging in activities that are perhaps unusual or exhausting. We all like to end our day with a familiar routine so we can feel calm, centred and peaceful. If I don’t get the time or chance to wind down after a stressful day at work, or a night out with friends, I feel uneasy and tense going to bed. I think it’s extremely important to ensure these little rituals don’t get pushed aside when life gets too busy, because it is precisely in those times that grounding ourselves and checking in is most needed.
In the last 9 months I’ve also become a huge believer in meditation. Before I got into it, the idea of taking 20-30 minutes to just focus on my breathing seemed ridiculous, and it did take quite a few weeks to feel comfortable with it. Before long though, I actually found myself craving those precious minutes, where all I had to do was focus on the in and out rhythm of air through my lungs – something so simple yet critical to overall well being. Learning the art of deep belly breathing can also help in times of tension when your body goes into fight or flight mode. Now that I’ve made meditation an almost daily ritual, I feel in tune with my body all the time. Even if I’m feeling a little agitated, I’ll enter that mind space of simply breathing to bring myself back to focus.
Whatever your little rituals are – keep at them, relentlessly. These are the small things in life that make us smile and keep us grounded, and sometimes that can make a world of difference.
Photo credits – fleaandbear & theophelia_