dreaming, motherhood

Empowered to begin. Permission to try.

June 24, 2015
Empowered to begin. Permission to try. // Fiona Lynne #wholemama

I messaged my sister a photo of Kaya the other day, one I had instagrammed (but she’s not on instagram so she misses all the photo goodness). In the photo, she and her little friend are both lying in Rasmus’ arms, one on top of the other. Her friend’s mama snapped the photo so I’m not quite sure how this situation came about but what’s clear is her friend is somewhat unimpressed by the whole scenario. Kaya is giggling hysterically.

My sister quickly replied: “she looks so like her mum when she laughs”.

She’s right. When I laugh at something in that real, stomach-creasing, can’t control it kinda way, my eyes screw up just like hers and my shoulders inch towards my ears and I’m all in enjoying it.

“Is she always this happy?” people ask me, and the answer is, mostly yes. This morning she was grumpy and clingy and had a meltdown when it got to teeth-brushing time. But now she’s napping and she’ll wake up with a grin on her face.

We play hide and seek around the house and she screeches with delight when I jump out or her or she at me. We play football with the little red ball with stars on it and she giggles the entire time she’s chasing that thing down. She will stand on the balcony, holding onto the bars with one hand and pointing everything out with enthusiasm, “det, det, det”. (We think she’s figuring out the Danish first).

“I wonder where she gets it from?” a few of my friends ask with a glint in their eye. And I guess they are right about that too. I’m an eternal optimist about everyone I meet. I want to know your whole story please. From the beginning. I want to explore all the places and promote all the great things I find.

I’m an eternal optimist about everyone except myself.

With myself it’s a battle to offer the same enthusiasm, the same kindness and generosity as I will easily extend to others. My default is to doubt myself. My default is to think I can’t do it, I won’t be accepted, I will fail. It’s stopped me from beginning way too often.

I’m reading Seth Godin’s book, What to do when it’s your turn (and it’s always your turn). It’s kicking my butt.

On one page he speaks about two kinds of pain, the first kind of pain of “being a cog, of not fitting in enough, never enough. The pain of having to measure up in a world that keeps telling us we don’t…”

“The alternative is to experience the pain of being free. The pain of saying, “here, I made this”. The pain of living with the opportunity to make a difference. There’s no pain-free path. But at least you can do something that matters.” – Seth Godin

I want to do something that matters. I want to feel empowered to start some of my ideas, kick off some of the projects in my head, chase down some of the dormant dreams. But only I can do that. No one else can empower me if I’m not willing to embrace the tension, the pain even, of being free to act and free to fail.

I’m trying. This week I invited a small group of people I know to come and spend a morning together talking about writing as a spiritual practice. It’s a step. I’m not sure exactly what it will look like and it might not work perfectly first time (or even second time). But I want to try anyway. I want to take my turn. Stop with the excuses.

To start being as optimistic about myself as I am about everyone else. To reclaim that joy and curiosity that my little girl still has, even the hundredth time she ends up on her butt. She still sucks at getting back up on her own, but once she’s up, she’ll run after that ball with no less enthusiasm than all the previous times.

Only I can give myself permission to begin. So I’m going to try to do just that again today.

//

I’m linking up again with the #wholemama community over at Esther Emery’s place. The theme this week is empowerment and superpowers. It’s such a lovely place to meet new-to-me writers and read some encouraging words.

dreaming, new horizons

Moving on (a somewhat big announcement)

June 19, 2015
Moving to London // Fiona Lynne

I left the UK right when I finished Uni, heading to Brussels for an internship that turned into a job and put me in the right place at the right time to meet the man who would become my husband. And then together we moved to Luxembourg three and a half years ago.

So I’ve been out of my home country for all of my adult years (because student years totally don’t count – we ate takeout pizza for a large percentage of our meals and tried to ignore the fact that this idyll of coffees with friends and walks on the beach and a few seriously procrastinated essays in between might one day come to an end).

But I’m about to move “home”.

You might remember, the company that Rasmus worked for closed the same month Kaya was born, making the whole team redundant. It was wonderfully perfect timing for us, honestly, and how many people get to say that about their first child being born to two unemployed parents? We recognise how ridonkuslously privileged we are.

Nearly one year later, I’m so happy to tell you he has accepted a new job that he is really excited and optimistic about. The kind of job that builds on all his experience and skills but will also be a good challenge.

And it’s in London.

So we are moving. The details of when and how are still a little unclear right now but we’re expecting to move all our things (minus the large pile we plan to sell/donate) out of Luxembourg the last weekend of July, which is scarily soon.

Here’s what I want you to know about this. I am so looking forward to living in London. It is an amazingly energetic city, and it will be an adventure. I am excited for the job opportunities. I’m excited to live in a country where I am fluent in the language. I am excited to be closer to my family (about two hours from my parents and sister!!!) I am excited by how multicultural it is and how much creativity there is, new things happening everywhere you look.

I’m also a tad overwhelmed to be moving again. Because I’ve done it enough to remember the first six months is pretty lonely and confusing. And because I have amazing friends here in Luxembourg that I hate to be leaving. And because not everything in Luxembourg feels “finished” for me, and I have to figure out how to let go. And because job applications are soul-sucking in every way but I really want a job. And because I grew up in rural Oxfordshire so there’s little about London that feels like “home” yet. (It will, I know it will).

We are sure that this is a good next move for our family. (I use the word “good”, not “right”, because I believe there are multiple paths we could choose that are good and the word right somehow makes me think there’s only one right path and then I start freaking out that maybe we picked the “wrong” one, when really, I’m not sure there’s ever really a wrong path when you remember you are Beloved and make your decisions from a place of love rather than a place of fear…)

So that is our big announcement. It is going to be a busy and heartbreaking and exciting and terrifying summer and autumn! I’ll be sharing some of the journey along the way. I’m so glad you’re along for the ride. x

faith, motherhood

Shalom (on embracing the both-and)

June 17, 2015
"Wholeness looks like admitting I am both happy and struggling, that I am both full of faith and doubting everything." - Fiona Lynne #wholemama

Kaya stood up all by herself on Monday. She’s learning everything back to front. She’s been walking for three months but she still can’t crawl and when she wobbles and topples to the floor, she’s stuck there, having no idea how to get back up to standing.

But on Monday we were at the playground. And she was on her butt in the middle of the tarmac where an overenthusiastic run had planted her, and she leaned forward onto her hands, wiggled her butt up into the air, held the pose like a yoga pro for a moment as she figured out how to get her balance, and then just stood up. Just like that. Rasmus and I looked at each other in slight disbelief and then broke into applause.

It was one of those moments you imagine experiencing before you get pregnant. The pride at your little girl who figured it out, it fills up your heart and you don’t care that nearly every other child in the world achieves this minor feat because right then you are certain your baby is a rockstar. She will go far this one, because just look at her standing up all on her own!

Then there are the other moments. The moments I have to grit my teeth and take three deep breaths so that I don’t do something I’ll regret. When she’s whiney and clingy or she throws the food I spent ages preparing straight on the floor in disgust. She refuses to let me cut her toenails so she looks a little like a neanderthal baby. And she’s at that stage where she starts to know what she wants and exactly what she doesn’t want and it requires more patience than I have. And sometimes she’ll hit me in frustration and I will want to hit her back and then feel so horrendously guilty that that feeling could ever exist in me.

I am not the perfect mother I thought I would be (don’t we all secretly hope we’ll be the ones to figure it out?) But I’m learning step by step to offer myself as much grace as I offer my mama friends when they confess their own frustrations, their own failings.

The road to shalom, to wholeness looks like acknowledging it all, owning it all.

Wholeness looks like stopping pretending it’s all easy, or I feel exactly what I hoped I would feel. Wholeness looks like admitting I am both happy and struggling, that I am both full of faith and doubting everything.

Wholeness looks like working out ways to take regular breaks, to escape for half an hour or a morning, and drink iced coffee and read beautiful words and sit in the sun and feel myself fill up again. It looks like sharing my struggles with others and hearing them tell me, “yeah, that is so normal”. It looks like accepting their offering that I am enough. Even when I fail. Even when I don’t meet my own standards. I am enough.

And then it looks like going home and seeing her little face break into a big grin as I walk through the door and suddenly knowing it is true. I am enough. I am on the path to wholeness and shalom and it’s messy and sometimes so so hard but it is also the feeling of a chubby toddler running full speed into your arms because she’s so thrilled you are back again.

// Some of my favourite bloggers have a great summer initiative called #wholemama. It’s a community challenge and invitation for mamas to integrate our creative and spiritual selves in our day to day. Each week they’ll post a word to write on – this week it is shalom, and this is my contribution.