Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
How do you define happiness?
The dictionary says:
delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. and characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy:a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.
Simple right, just be delighted and pleased and smile alot? Well not so much. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics nearly half (45%) of all Australians have experienced a mental disorder at least once in their life, and most commonly anxiety and depression are the culprits.
The thing is as much as happiness is elusive, defensive and aggressive behaviours based on fear and pride are running rife, smothering the workplace, the home, sport and schools. I was lucky enough to attend a course recently for work, HeartStyles, that lifted the lid on why we behave like this, and exposed how we are spreading unhappiness between us as fast as a cold virus can sneeze and cough its way through a peak hour bus.
The premise they lead with was how the vast majority of people have a good heart and good intentions. As they move through life wounds and voids occur and often work to crowd out the goodness as we protect and defend ourselves from having to suffer again. Our once vulnerable self is covered by a dark wall that lets nothing and no-one in to hurt you again. This is when happiness really becomes a huge struggle. Brené Brown, a researcher "storyteller" from the US explains it so well in her TED talk below.
The courage to be imperfect and show imperfection to others.
I love every minute of what she has to say - basically she has found that if we are going to be happy vulnerability is key. Her research shows that those people that are happy are living wholeheartedly, being vulnerable with the knowledge that they could get hurt. And even more interestingly they strongly believe they are worthy of love in spite of their imperfection.
For the sake of our children
We can't escape our parents, you will become your mother, the good and unfortunately the bad stuff passes down the line. Our behaviour gets hardcoded into the neural pathways of our children, and even more so our whole outlook on life. Our anxiety when their imperfections start to show is SO damaging to their worthiness and like Brené says "Our job is not to keep them perfect but to realise they are imperfect and hard-wired for struggle...our job is to make sure they know they are worthy of love and belonging."
I can't think of any better reason than looking into the beautiful unaffected eyes of my two sons to find a way to be grateful and wholehearted about my life. Maybe by doing so I can start to really get on this single ride I've got in this big theme park called life. We only get one chance at it and quite frankly I'm tired of not throwing my arms in the air and screaming with unbridled joy.
Do you want to get on too? or are you on it already and can share what it feels like to us who are still holding back?
Monday, 11 June 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
|Pre and post-op, or you could say blissfully ignorant and not so.|
The sun was still asleep as I woke Bang on Friday morning at 6am. Clutching his beloved blankie with one hand, and with the other warming my own, he followed me down a dark path we'd both never seen before to automatic doors into fluorescent lights.
The nurse, used to early mornings, was alert and kind in the face of our vagueness. Bang was being brilliantly brave despite telling me the day before he didn't want to go to hospital.
I filled out the necessary paperwork, signed that I didn't mind them deducting lots of money from my credit card if need be and we were on our way to the waiting room with TV and toys! I knew that this operation was minor and very likely to improve Bang's quality of life. His ears were blocked with fluid and had been for months since the last ear infection, and his hearing was at about 60% of where it should be.
But there is no escaping the feeling of betrayal as you lull him into a false sense of security, with smiles and half truths. That feeling reached a crescendo as I lay him on the operating table and sang to him as a mask was forced on to his face. His eyes darted from the massive operating light back to my forced smile that existed in opposition to my arms holding his still.
"1,2,3,4,5, once I caught a fish alive, 6,7,8,9,10 then I let him go again, why did you let him go, because he bit my finger so, which finger did he bite? this little finger on my right" floated in the space between us as his eyes went bloodshot and filled with tears moments before the anesthetic took him away. The doctor singsonged "don't worry we'll bring him back", my smile was displaced suddenly with all seriousness "You better" I almost threatened.
Through tears I tried to understand the instructions that would have me back in the waiting room, "your shoe covers here, and your hat and gown, through the double doors, use the exit button on the right and then turn left." By the time I saw my husband through glass I was a mess, demolished at the thought of leaving him with strangers who had his small, trusting life in their hands. As I buried my face in my husbands hug all I could remember was him lying on the hard metal table, no pillow under his head and the anesthetists hand holding the mask roughly on his tilted perfect face, his body limp, unknowingly lead to a place where a surgeon would operate on him.
Half an hour later the same surgeon was in front of us with a reassuring smile, and good news. Bang's ears had been full of fluid which he drained before putting in grommets and cutting away his adenoids. Winter would be a lot more pleasant for our little man, not to mention a lot louder.
Lucky for us the surgeon was a lovely, kind man and the surgery was as minor as you can really get. It didn't make seeing him after the surgery writhing around disoriented and confused by all the drugs any easier. I wondered if his subconscious would remember his misplaced trust as he arched his back and yelled out against the world. Half an hour later he was asleep in my arms and three hours later, two more than both the other patients, he was awake and happily devouring sandwiches and a neon-coloured tub of jelly. The blood in his ear the only sign that something was amiss.
And when we asked him "Can you hear better punky?" A huge smile and a resounding "YES!" made me realise it was worth all my angst and his discomfort to get to this better place. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I hope I apply it to the larger decisions I am sure will come.... but for now I'm just happy he is back in my arms and no where near sharp metal instruments and gases that mysteriously send him unconscious and temporarily mad.
Has your child had surgery? Were you worse off than they were?
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Saturday, October 15, 2011
All was going ok with the only casualty so far being the Virgin Lounge floor and a few very serious Lounge patrons (I love the looks I get when Bang or Crash make Pro Hart’s carpet ads look amateur, mainly because pre-child I was fantastic at delivering them too, karma).
Anyway things started to turn ugly when all the planes behind and in front of ours started boarding – the space next to ours…empty, the only clue to the delay was the ever-changing departure time. Three amendments later we were called and then seamlessly aboard, phew!
Things just kept getting better, takeoff was a breeze with a bottle shoved in Crash and cloud-spotting with Bang, I was feeling very smug and stupidly proud of my brave boys. Other than their desire to climb all over the aircraft once the seatbelt sign was turned off, we were coping pretty well. Then Crash passed out which was perfection.
Even the pressurised water bottles that turned into one metre high fountains at 20,000 feet weren’t going to dampen my spirits.
But then we looked away from the ocean, that is my 2 year old, for only a second. As my hubby and I were patting ourselves on the back for a race well run, a huge wave hit in the form of the seatbelt sign flashing on. We still didn’t see the magnitude until it was too late, but the simple and unavoidable act of strapping Bang back into his seat unleashed a screaming tsunami. No amount of “listen for the wheels!”, “ooooo look a digger, did you see the digger!?” and so on could stop the deranged song he intended on entertaining the whole plane with until we hit the ground.
I went into this adrenaline-filled state, eyes darting around frantically looking for distractions, my mind-spinning thinking of calming things to say, all in an overly animated voice that when I think back sounded like Giggle and Hoot on speed.
We got some respite as we taxied towards the gate as there were planes and trucks to be wondered at. But the hysteria that was sitting just below the surface was triggered again when we had to leave the window full of big planes to watch for the baggage carousal. At this point I almost forgot I had another child. Refreshed by his nap he just quietly looked on slightly bemused as his big brother writhed around lunatic-like. When it was my turn to take Bang for a walk to calm him down while we waited for the straight-jacket, I mean pram to come out of oversized baggage, I spotted a cherry picker and with insane hope and excitement headed towards the beeping equipment. My dreams of a screech-free world were quickly shattered by even more intense screams and I found myself sort of insanely walking in circles towards the cherry picker and away again as I tried to decipher the reactions and tear-filled shrieks.
This is when I started to laugh, which of course didn’t help my poor exhausted boy, but I couldn’t help it. It was so insane it was funny, and the picture of me doing circles with a toddler that had lost his nut just tipped me over the edge.
The pram arrived and we strapped our inconsolable little man in there and left him to cry until the hire car arrived and then ten short minutes later as we drove, all shattered in our own way, Bang passed out. His exhaustion demon was quiet for the first time in an hour and beautifully replaced with the angelic peace of sleep.
We can’t wait for the flight home.
If flying with toddlers your armory should include:A bottle or dummy for infants or lollipop for toddlers during takoffs and landings - A laptop or iPad with Toy Story DVD on pause - Small toys, favourite books and sticker books - A fun way to explain why we all have to put our seatbelts on - Snacks - Water bottles that don’t have pop-up straws - An imagination that would rival the writers of Shrek - An off-the-wall sense of humour - Did I miss anything flying parents?