Work-Life Balance

Is it possible?

Surely only if your work is actually something that you would include in your life if you had the choice. Then it is automatically part of your life and doesn’t need artificial balancing…

I’m finding it hard at the moment – I dislike being at the office, doing the stuff that I have to do to fulfill my job. I like the people there – I would in fact choose to spend time with some of them from time to time, so it’s not the social aspect.

It’s having to deal with petty problems all the time. Even when they are solved, nobody is happier and the world is not a better place. The only outcome is that my employer has made a bit of money.

I was rather thrown into the field I work in, IT. It wasn’t my choice, I didn’t study it, I have never enjoyed it, but I landed there all the same because Mr Ex insisted that this was the only field that mattered in the world.

So I’ve been thinking. What could I do that I would be good at, that would be meaningful, provide a comfortable living for myself and the kids, and that I could really make a difference with?

I’m good at teaching, in particular complicated, scientific stuff. I like to break it down, as simple as possible, instead of insisting that it is complex and thus must be hard to understand. I’m good at listening and providing honest feedback. I’m good at being positive, and showing others positive options. I’m good at understanding whole situations and consequences of different actions, and finding good ways forward. I’m good at reviewing processes and adjusting them if necessary.

I  have many ideas of things I would like to do – but they would not provide a living for my whole family, nor would I have the time to build these things up at the moment.

So maybe I will just have to wait until the kids have grown up. This is not something I really want to do, because I feel I am just wasting time and energy in my current job. But it might be necessary for better things to open up when I am ready for them…

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts…

And frustration…

plus a growing urge for change…

 

What a Ride!

What a wild ride this year has been.

I feel strangely reminded of last New Year’s Eve – same job, same house, same status – but on the other hand, I am so far away from last year.

There is Mr D – and although he has decided not to play an active part in my life now, he has left a big print on my soul all the same.

With Mr D came a new language, and many new people of which some have become friends ♥.

With Mr D also came the realisation of my interfering masculine energy – an energy that is secondary to my nature and sometimes required in my life, but is better suited to play a helping role rather than a leading one. I think this may be one of the big lessons that Mr D came to teach me.

Last year also brought a lot of new direction for myself – yoga, which centers me, running which makes me feel good, and a deepening connection with my running buddy and co-homeeducating neighbour. I had given up on yoga for a bit over the last few months, but have started again and notice now how much it does me good. My smile is coming from my heart again, and I feel more connected and whole than I have done for a long time.

Last year has also been a big one for the children – they have become such grown up people. It pleases me to look back on their development and see that they are growing into wonderful people – people I would choose to have around and spend time with.

I wonder what the new year will bring. I know what I wish and long for, and I think I have an idea now of what my part is in getting it.

Happy New Year!

La Multi Ani!

Bonne Année!

Frohes Neues Jahr!

 

Feminine Energy

Feminine energy – some people seem to have it, some have less. Some should have an ample supply of it, because they are women, but don’t. Some have it but aren’t in touch with it, and wonder why something feels uncomfortable.

I don’t think I have been very connected to my feminine energy much lately. I have definitely never been consciously connected with my feminine energy, though at times I know I have loads and use it well.

Professionally, I have been in a male dominated world since I started earning serious money. Growing up, I sometimes had to take over for my mother, when she got overwhelmed with the need to move house after her divorce, or if my siblings’ needs and her new job clashed. Later on, having kids myself, I was always the mother as well as the “strong, can-carry-anything, can-fix-anything” person in the house, as their father only fills an intellectual role, not a very physical one. Now I am on my own anyway, with the demands on both sides of energy at all times.

So I suppose, it’s no wonder that my feminine energy sometimes gets a bit stuck and overruled by the louder, quicker masculine energy.

I am grateful for the yet persistent strength of my feminine energy, that got me through grieving and healing through Lily, and many other less strenuous times.

Now it’s time to strengthen that feminine energy and let her take control, asking the masculine to help out sometimes (maybe), but she won’t be ignored anymore if I can help it.

I have learned that feminine energy lives through movement, through the process of creating, through connecting and consciously using all senses. Very importantly, we grow strong by receiving – conscious receiving is something I will have to include in my life. I have always seen the role of a mother as a more giving role, but then again, as a woman, one is not only a mother (though sometimes it can feel this way).

I am trying to explore these ideas while I have some days off work. I am hoping that I will be able to explore far enough to be able to keep it up when the usual work-kids-sleep trott starts up again.

Any ideas and experiences are most welcome!

Time to grow again

…little soul.

Time to stretch and go to new, perhaps uncomfortable places, to become more centered, more balanced.

We have done this before, you and I. And I think we have come a long way together – but we have been resting for long enough now. I have spotted some old habits creeping back in. They remind me of the garden gnomes in Harry Potter. No matter how far you fling them and how much you scare them off, if you have the right kind of garden, they will come back.

So, this time, dear soul, we will try to dig a little deeper, and see if we can’t find out why these old behaviours that we keep cutting ourselves on like living with us so much.

You have no reason to be afraid. We are doing well. We have pulled through so many things, together. We have a lot of strength and experience to draw from. I know from experience that we will find good, even if it is a little foggy right now. You have to understand – we can’t stay in this place now. We need to go, even if we are tired.

You forget sometimes, how old and wise you are, dear soul. You hand the reigns to the little girl, who is desparate for safety and love and has been like this for quite some time now. You, wise soul, are the only one who can give that to our little girl.

I know – sometimes it’s exhausting. Sometimes there is no energy left to be the safe haven for the little girl. But she needs it, and there is nobody else in the world who can give her what she needs. Maybe the time has come for her to grow a little wiser – but she can only do that if she is feeling safe. She mustn’t be holding the reigns.

She needs to be free of worry, and she will share her carefreeness with the world. She needs to feel safe, and she will share her endless trust. She needs to be loved so that she can share her love with the world around her. She needs all this so that she can be part of us again – part of you, old soul, part of me, the body being flung from one situation into the next.

Because in the end, we all need to be one.

So, so good

…to hear that “I’m so sorry“.

So calming to hear your version.

So much fun hearing your excitement and disbelief when I jumbled my way through a little sentence in your language.

So funny to hear you get a little bit mad at me for learning it without you.

You need to learn to trust in us enough so that jealousy is never an issue. Because although you are not one for jealousy, you got a bit jealous all the same.

So good to know for sure that you are back. In fact, in your heart, you were never gone.

Journal Update #13

Things are quiet, yet moving here.

First of all the kids – they are developing fast at the moment. The eldest is hitting puberty – a completely new experience for me, I’ve never experienced a boy in early puberty close up before. I like it, but he could really make better friends with the shower.

My second, the musician, finally seems to be picking up on her practice routine. I have been pushing her to try to achieve her best on the violin because I am certain that she would not be happy working in any other domain. She is very talented but until now has lacked the drive to do her best – instead she has been relying on her talent. But now, something seems to be changing. Maybe she feels more capable. Maybe she is seeing herself in a wider context. Maybe it’s only a phase and we will be back to the old ways next week. I will see soon enough.

The youngest has started football and identifies strongly with the local football team. It’s as if he’s found his people. He gets the team thing, loves the sport, wants to improve himself so that the team will improve etc. He is the first person in the family to be into team sports. Neither I nor Mr Ex did anything like that, neither did my siblings. My father may have played a bit of football but he never talked about being enthusiastic about it. So this is also new!

I also took my youngest with me to a rubbish  orchestra I am helping out in, with his cello. I have taught him the cello part of the pachelbel Kanon (also called cellists’ nightmare), consisting of 8 notes over and over and over again. He missed the beginning of the piece, then realised he couldn’t keep up with the rest of the orchestra and dropped out after trying very hard for a few bars. He was devastated, sobbing, hiding his face, so unhappy. I was playing next to him and couldn’t have stopped – so there was really nothing I could do. But I was silently hoping that he would still want to play the cello after this experience… I wasn’t sure he would.

But

He calmed himself down

Wiped his eyes

Gritted his teeth (maybe, I’m adding this to illustrate his determination)

And tried again.

This time it worked, he could keep up and by the end of the piece he was playing with  a huge grin on his face, so happy to have succeeded.

I was so proud of him. Not because he played the piece, but because of how brave he was to try something again that he had just failed miserably at, in his own perception. I feel more and more that this boy is going places…

Mr D is being…. quiet. I miss him tremendously. He has started conversations a few times in the past weeks, and he has always answered when I sent something. But I have made up my mind to stick to what I told him a few months ago – that I would be leaving him alone as long as he is being quiet.

I say I miss him – which is true – but on the other hand, missing him is not making me unhappy. The latest activity that is making me particularly happy is running. I have never run regularly (or irregularly), so this is quite something. I’m following a training plan and so far it’s working. The kids come with me sometimes on their bikes or rollerblades, and sometimes I go with one of my neighbors. Every run leaves me feeling good physically as well as mentally, and I can feel and see my body benefiting from the exercise. I feel this is a perfect addition to my life.

I don’t even mind the wet grey weather at the moment!

How I Unexpectedly Left My Ex

I like telling this story – it’s full of unlikely twists and awakening.

Imagine a happy family. A man who obviously relies on the woman for everything, but all in all, she seems to be coping and happy with the three kids and him. They do things slightly differently than other people seem to, and they are in agreement about these things. Some people may see them as a mild form of hippies.

Actually, three months before the unexpected turn came, things actually began to get better inside this little family too. After 9 years of deprecating just about anything I did, this Mr Ex suddenly became (morally) supportive, positive about what I was doing and also slightly repentant about how he had been behaving throughout the relationship. (This didn’t change his level of involvement in the house work or anything – but it was such a change!)

I remember feeling insecure because all of a sudden he was actually thanking me for the meals I cooked instead of complaining about them. He was saying positive things about what I was telling him about work, instead of suggesting better behaviour for similar situations. Imagine my surprise and fright when he simply rolled over with an “ok I understand” for the first time ever, when I said I was actually much too tired for adult activities after lights out. I honestly thought there was a horrible surprise for me around the corner and was watchful and ever so careful for weeks after this experience.

I got used to this after a few months and eventually learned to trust the situation and to enjoy it. Then he started talking about polyamorous relationships. Fine for me, I wouldn’t have minded somebody else to take some of the emotional and physical load of satisfying this man’s needs.

So, we were both happy. He didn’t succeed in winning any woman he was interested in, but he felt free to, and I felt free too.

Then all of a sudden, I started dreaming. I never remember my dreams, and now I was waking up from these crystal clear dreams every night, scared that I might have been talking in my sleep. For one week, I had a dream about the same person every night. I hadn’t spoken to this person for 10 years – we had been in love a long time ago, and it had ended unnaturally. In some dreams he was just there – a figure outside the story line – in the others he was the main character. In the last dream, he had prepared everything to kill me, so that he could have me to himself forever. After the last dream I decided that this couldn’t go on and made up my mind to get back in contact, and just to find out what he was doing and how he was. I felt that this was no big deal, particularly as Mr Ex was busy trying to get several girls’ attention and I was only going to write a letter. However, I didn’t want to tell Mr Ex about this just yet, as I was almost sure that I wouldn’t get a reply.

While waiting for the reply, I found out that I was pregnant with the 4th child. This pregnancy is worth another blog post – it was very different than the others had been.

Anyway, one day, I had an email waiting in a private email box which Mr Ex didn’t know about (he read my other emails…) We started chatting via email – exchanging details about our current situations and catching up. After some time, he said he would be passing through the town I work in, and could we meet up?

I decided that this was a good point in time to tell Mr Ex that I was in email contact, reassure him that all communication was in the context of friendship and we could all continue to be happy.

That night I breached the subject – and Mr Ex exploded.

I didn’t have any time to explain anything. He decided within half an hour that this was it. He wanted to see the emails, which I refused. He then threatened to leave straight away if I didn’t delete the email account without any further ado. I chose to do this – only it didn’t help of course. Mr Ex spent the whole night worrying me, saying “what shall we do with the children now” and similar things. He came to the conclusion that he would take the caravan we had at the time and “move out” with the kids for a month so that “we could both think about our priorities” – meaning I should think about him, my only priority, of course.

That is what happened the very next day. As I had to work full time to support him and the kids, I couldn’t stay at home and look after the kids.

I missed him and was sad for 5 days. I missed the kids terribly – they were with me for the weekends only and were totally bewildered. After 5 days I realized how wrong the situation was and how wrong things had been in the entire relationship. How I was the one who adapted to all his ridiculous needs without him even being willing to help out when I was ill in bed, or I had just had a baby. How I was living 2 days in one – one full 8 hour day at work, and then another when I got home, because he never did anything. Sometimes I had to get the children dressed when I got back home in the late afternoon, because they were still in their night clothes. He never changed a single nappy in all the 9 years – it was a terrible state of affairs. But I had never had the time to ask myself if this was ok for me – I was always busy trying to make the best of it all and make up for all his shortcomings. After all – he had successfully convinced me that I needed correction and needed to prove that I was worthy of his love.

After he had left, I had time, and I thought about it a lot. In fact, thinking about it made me cringe in embarrassment at the person I had become.

I will cut things short here – this situation with him in the caravan with the kids went on for 2 months. I met up with the person I had dreamed about, and he turned out to be very important in those next few months, ending in more than the initial friendship and helping me rediscover myself.

Mr Ex began to show his will to change, and I gave him a chance. In the middle of all this, my 4th child came and went. After this Mr Ex spent 2 weeks at what I then considered to be my flat, and it became clear through all the pain that was happening at that time, that I couldn’t stand him anymore. He was pretending to have changed, but actually, he hadn’t at all. He finally moved out (without the kids this time!) 6 months after the initial explosion.

I have never looked back.

He told me I would be crawling back to him on my knees after 2 years – I never had the desire to do so, because however hard it has been, it has never been as hard and wrong as it always was with him.

Journal Update #12

What a couple of days.

I set up some travel plans, related to an awesome job interview which is not a job interview and related to love. So now I have the dates, I have a place to stay for the first part of this adventure, and I’m going through all the different possible scenarios for the second part of it. You see, my brain doesn’t rest unless I force it to by doing something that requires it to focus, like yoga. If I am not doing yoga or something similar, my brain  is usually busy remembering all sorts of useless stuff or thinking possible and impossible things through.

So naturally, I was feeling happy about having the dates in place as well as having the correct days off work. I was also feeling extremely jumpy about the whole idea.

There was also a big client meeting last week, for which I had to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning because I opted for doing all the traveling in one day. The meeting was going to be critical – another reason for my brain to prepare for all sorts of scenarios. In the end, the meeting went very well and there was no reason to worry at all. Only of course I was very tired that day.

By chance, I was talking to one of my language partners. The conversation was too much fun as to end and go to bed, so I stayed up late again – late enough to receive that initial message from Mr D. This turned into the kind of conversation I have missing for such a long time. It was emotional, it was open, it was close, we went from writing to talking.I had missed hearing his voice so much!

We spent that time catching up a little, laughing together and feeling together, making plans and so much more. I didn’t feel the need to go into my feelings over the last few months – this will be a different conversation in the not too distant future. He has been in contact since this conversation as well, which feels good. All my jumpiness concerning that adventure I am planning has disappeared – but it seems that I might have to reschedule the love part of it, as he has a tightly packed travel schedule for the next few weeks!  I will get the details though – we’ll see whether my plans will still work out. If not, there will be other plans.

So – I am feeling calm again, and excited at the same time. I don’t think I am being blindly optimistic though. There is space in my thoughts to accept that Mr D is extremely good at messing up and perhaps won’t understand my worries, or won’t be able to take any notice of them. I have that in the back of my mind, and will be making sure that I am aware of my needs and won’t let them be ignored like they have been.

Even if at the moment, all I am feeling is relief and love.

Journal Update #11

It’s been a while now that I have written a simple journal update. I’m not even sure I’ve got the number right. To be honest, I’ve been trying to fit too much into my day, and I’m spending a lot of time chatting to people in my new language. This steals time without me even noticing…

Anyway.

I had an interesting little (written) conversation  with Mr D the other day. I left a silly comment on one of his pics, and he answered privately in what ended up being quite a silly conversation, in a wonderfully funny way. In the middle of this conversation of silliness he suddenly brought up my birthday, which is soon. Only he got the month wrong. He went for a month later than it actually is.

Of course I’m thinking ***if my birthday is on his mind, he must have been thinking about me!!!***. Even if he got the month wrong. The fact that my birthday was on his mind at all made me quite happy. BUT – I am sticking to my resolution of leaving him alone. More or less anyway. And he’s not doing anything to change that.

Most of the time I feel like the spectator of a very weird play; strangely detached and yet caught in the thick of it.

Otherwise, I’m busy trying to sort afternoon activities and groups out for the kids, trying to stay on top of work which is boring me most intensively and trying to keep in touch with all those lovely people who are helping me learn their language – it’s not a popular language to learn, so I am one of few potential language partners, resulting in lots and lots of conversations (which is great for my progress, but not so great for getting stuff done which is the opposite of interesting and useful). I need to find work that is meaningful! This would be easy, only I can’t work full time and I can’t  move from where I live now. Anyway, we’ll see. There might be something interesting cropping up in the not too distant future, I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

So far I am doing quite well in looking after myself and being happy with the present.

I do miss Mr D though, there is no denying that.