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Micro Dates

The pink plush velvet seats couldn’t appease the sound of the argument ensuing at the table beside us, but my ears couldn’t un-hear the tone that haunted. We were grabbing a fast dinner post movie and were keen to chat and hang out. As the conversation behind us got louder and louder, the awkwardness grew.

You see we were the only ones in the restaurant beside this couple. The pain reverberated around the room and my friend and I tried not to listen. The waitress held her eyes steady on the floor, trying to shrink the atmosphere looming but a long-held miscommunication was spewing out of their mouths, and we didn’t know what to do.

I know they were in a bubble of pain, but each sentence became fuel thrown on a log fire. I am pretty sure they were now separated and trying to rediscover how to move forward. I am pretty sure they have kids and were trying to talk through their way ahead. Every word a wall. Each topic with agenda.

I sat there desperately trying to eat my curry and stay focused on my friend and her conversation, but they broke me. My heart for their family and the pain following them with every spoon full of their food, each sip of champagne made me wonder about the beginning.

What happened that led them to this pink, Indian Palace on a Monday night in Autumn?

Where did the cracks appear and how did they go from wanting each other forever to hating even the sound of the other’s voice?

My husband and I celebrate eight years of marriage this week. It is not a huge milestone, but we both know the tension we walk, is staying interested in each other. Our love didn’t begin with outrageous statements or gifts. Our passion has never been explored online with extravagant gestures. We often smile with the simplicity of the life with which we live.

If I could offer any encouragement from eight years of walking alongside him, it would be looking for the micro-moments of intimacy, rather than the extravagant emotion fuelled displays of love.

Our culture creates a pressure cooker that shows us that love is a mixture of feelings and gift giving. Whereas I have learnt love is walking alongside and noticing one another, learning to express our thoughts, ideas and possibilities with care and courage.

Recently we bought a coffee machine. We saved for months to be able to upgrade after our machine broke. When we were engaged, we attended a barista course given to us from some of our closest friends. Ever since that day we spent learning the art of espresso, it has become a daily competition in our relationships of who makes a better coffee than who?

I sit on the counter, watching his espresso pouring and he snuggles in behind me to watch my milk frothing performance. It is a daily dance that brings intimacy into our mornings and a warm hug in those tired afternoons. He walks a coffee in on the mornings that I get out of bed and I extend an offer to make him one as he walks in from the garden.

These little moments maybe inconsequential to those who may look on and observe, but these are our micro dates that fill up the spaces, that life drains us of in between. Then it is those little smiles or texts full of laughter, light and love. Maybe the emoji’s that no one else understands the meaning of, or the daily call from his intense workplace at lunchtime every single day.

It’s the “I appreciate you” as he walks out the door at 5 am to begin again and the daily phone call at 7.15pm as he walks out the gate. It is the giggles behind the corridor as our four-year-old said the word “duck with an f” this morning, having no idea what she said.

These are the micro, inconsequential moments that no one will ever see and familiarity makes us forget. As I sat and tried not to listen to the couple in the corner, as their relationship ended on that rainy Monday, I remembered it is the micro that creates the macro, and our culture doesn’t teach us to look at the in-between moments.

Next time you see a flashy demonstration of love on Facebook or a new diamond ring, maybe it is a romantic holiday to a far off destinations or a photo shoot in front of a coloured wall. Maybe remember that there is nothing wrong with the big, but you have important everyday moments and intimacies that count just as much. If not more.

I am learning to love the little in my relationship and to allow the scaffold of micro dates to deepen our intimacy, our love and our in-between.

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A sacred secret place

The Sacred

The sacred in my life, is my source of inspiration. We live in a world that focuses on the external, we watch the highlight reels and we allow desire to run rampant.

Desire was foundational to the redemption of humankind. If you believe there is a story beyond the story of this moment, then you come to a place of reckoning in the midst of desire.

Yesterday my daughter found five dollars under her pillow from her first tooth falling out. In our house their first tooth bounty is five dollars and from then on it drops to whatever we can find on the floor of the car.

As we walked through the shopping centre, I heard the coins she received that morning clanging in her pocket. Everywhere we went yesterday she was insistent. “Mum can we go to the shops.” “Mum, how far to the shops.” “Mum I need to spend my money.”

The treasure in her pocket, was unravelling her desire to buy something new. Oh the delight of a five year old and the possibilities of a new toy, lolly or lip gloss.

I see that same desire in my own heart over and over. Each and every time I scroll through your screens the desire ignites and somehow I believe the lie, that one more pair of shoes, a holiday or a new pen will fulfil the deep longings in my heart.

We were created with desire. There is nothing wrong with surrendering to the potential of wanting more. However in my life, I am learning that when I allow that desire to be filled with the sacred it completely changes the way I step into my tomorrow.

When we desire what others have, instead of rumble with our stories it becomes a place of shallow comfort. Just like our hunger pains, to remind us that we haven’t eaten. Our heart has pangs that create a longing for something more.

In your heart of hearts do you desire something more of your life?

My answer to this perplexion is digging and developing a sacred secret place. There are secret questions, there are places that my heart has delved, that you will know nothing about.

The authenticity clause of our online culture, does not mean that we lose the beauty of living a quiet and surrendered life, that unpacks the pain, the longing and desire in places away from the public eye.

Vulnerability is not about a public showing of the hurt and stories that have plagued our lives. It is the capacity to surrender to the process of growth and wisdom is unearthed in those places of quiet.

Solitude

The sacred

Paths that no one can walk except you.

A conversation with our Creator, where He reminds us that the desire we hold in the cradle of our hearts was put there for Him. in conclusion those desires show us that we were made for more.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

CS LEWIS

1 John 2: 17 says it this way “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

How can we know what the will of God is for our lives?

In the secret sacred places. Those paths that we walk through forests of opinion, judgement and pain. The times that we reference our beliefs and belonging by the sage’s of days gone by. Where we sit in the seat of the learner rather than having to be the one on the stage.

Success is reformed in these places by the ache of belonging to a world beyond our today. Leaving a legacy of hope that is framed by eternity rather than our belongings. A hope that speaks so deeply to our soul that we were named before the earth was even formed.

Our identity is not shaped by the external. Success is not experienced through the amount in our bank account, but the depth of our souls.

Fame will never satisfy the longings of your heart. Being known across the world only magnifies your pain rather than heals it. Each and every time we surrender to the discomfort of sitting in the sacred, we grow.

Growth is not easy, but it is satisfying. To look back over our own stories and see that we have surrendered to the stretch of the sacred and developed depth and humility.

This is a the sacred in my life. These are the places I cannot show you or give you. You cannot take my sacred away from me. You can copy my ideas, you can try to mimic my voice but the sacred secret places cannot be replicated.

As they are mine and His alone. These are the places that we write hard.

Amanda Viviers

2019 Manifesto.

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Walk the earth with kindness

Walk the earth with kindness

Today I stood and watched a big crane rip apart my primary school. It sounds dramatic, but it is both brilliant and sobering. As I got out of the car, I looked across the vista that used to include the bricks and mortar that contained my childhood.

My children now go to the school I went to, and I can’t really explain how much it sometimes catches me out with memories resurfacing. They will have a brand new school next year, but I have been left wondering where all the memories contained in those bricks and mortar will go?

Sometimes I see a face in the crowd as we line up at the school gate. I wonder if they were in my class because recognition floods my conscious. On other days I remember mean words that poured out of my mouth and triumphant times of victory when I overcame.

Childhood was both glorious and it was also brutal.

I think a whole heap of my last few years of unravelling have been unpacking the memories that have just sat below the surface.

Writing has been a powerful tool in this season of immense self discovery.

Reframing the narratives and stories from my past.

Crowds of people and faces weave conversations in my mind.

Lately, there has been a huge conversation about bullying in the media where I live and it’s so important. Last night as I remembered my crumbling primary school and the pile of rubble, I saw laying in front of me, I wondered what makes a bully.

I don’t think bullies are born, I think they are made.

Pain needs expression and whether we are aware of our pain or not, it has to escape somewhere. Rather than shaming bullies in our culture, I am realising that people who hurt other people are often hurting themselves.

Are there emotions surfacing from the rubble of your childhood that need reframing?

There is a power in the way that we speak to one another. If I was to make an assumption I would say that bully’s often use their words to wield power because they are holding deep pain or shallow pride in some area of their stories.

Children who don’t show kindness, I think are just regurgitating the unprocessed pain from their parents. Susy Parker wrote this on Instagram this week and it really impacted me;

“Your child’s behaviour is simply a vessel to wake you up to your own healing. “

It doesn’t take very long to unpack the pain in our world. Just scratch the surface of the nightly news and scroll through social media. Listen long enough in a cafe to the conversations of strangers and sit with the complexity of all of our own stories.

The pain of unprocessed narratives, lay really close to the surface of all of our lives. When someone is behaving badly, you can be assured that there is a battle lying below, fuelling their rage.

Writing is a powerful tool to heal.

Conversations with safe people are like water to a weary soul.

Laughter is a medicine, that can heal even the most weary of hearts.

This year as we walk the earth, what if kindness became our calling card?

Yes, we may have a story of rubble and pain to process but we all do. Instead of shaming each other back into the shadows, what if we allowed one another the space and capacity to heal?

Are you a safe person to those in your circle?

Do you hold their hand and pain with kindness?

This year my goal is to walk this earth with kindness.

Would you like to walk together?

Amanda

This blog is a part of a series 2019 Manifesto.

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Finding connection in a disconnected world

Photo by Kristy Lee Photography

This afternoon I was sitting at my computer and my husband snuck in behind me and whispered “Wanna come to the beach with me?” You’d think my answer would be of course, but across our ten year relationship I have said no to this question many times.

I’m too busy,  embarrassed or I have too many chores and the list goes on.

At the beginning of this year we wrote a family manifesto from one of my writing tool for families Together. We agreed that our year was all about “Island Life”. Slowing ourselves, eating simply with intentionality and getting to the beach as often as we can. We have gone on a journey this year of setting our eyes on the horizon of the ocean every single day.

In the midst of this simple shift, I did something today that is quite uncommon but it feels like a massive yes to my years intentions. I left the chores, the work list and my computer and I went to the beach and swum freely, watching the islands in our bay float ahead in the distance.

It might seem simple, but it is monumental for me. Embracing Slow. (a devotional designed to help you slow and be more intentional) released this last week and if I am not living what I am writing, then why even bother?

Island life for us, looks like a slowing and an intentionality that truly brings out our best days.

Last week I wrote about saying no and I did not expect what it would bring out in my week. I have said no, over and over this week and it has been so hard.

This is what it means to set ourselves goals and intentions for the year. Its fun and inspiring in January, but what about March when the squeeze comes.

As I prepare for my kids to run into our lounge room from their day at school I want our house to truly feel like a haven of grace. With photos of our island times, up on the walls and our fridge overflowing with their drawings.

There is something really special about photos coming off our phones and printed up on our walls. We can easily take for granted, seeing what our world looks like through our children’s eyes. My children don’t see all your facebook feeds or your instagram selfies. Their eyes are impacted by the four walls that hold them safe as they fall asleep and greet them in the morning as they sneak to the kitchen before we are awake.

In families, seeing photographs of themselves can serve as a scaffold that enables conversations about the past with children. Pictures strengthen images of happy times, growth, discovery and creativity.

My husbands family live overseas and every time they visit which is really only once a year, they print photos of themselves in their everyday habitats, work, town and family events, so that my children have a scaffold around the importance of their grandparents in our children’s lives.

When was the last time you printed a photo?

This year one of our goals is to put more photos up on walls. To continue making our house a home and laying down screens to look one another in the eyes again.

It is all about finding connection in a disconnected world.

What are some of your intentions for this year?

I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy March friends

Amanda

This is a part of my series 2019 Manifesto

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How to say no!

I have a friend her name is Anne. She is wise, and one could say very safe. She makes me laugh as often I feel like a “bull in a china shop”, and she is more like a swan gliding through the lake called life.

I met her many, many years ago but it has only been the last few years, that I have gotten to know her better. There is this question that she asks me all the time that has completely changed the way I make decisions.

“Amanda, how does it make you feel?”

You see I’ve always been ashamed of my emotions when I was told over and over that I am too emotional, too loud, too much, too strong, too opinionated and forthright.

And maybe, sometimes there have been seasons where I have been this and more. But the funny thing I am learning from Anne is this;

The more I ignore my internal emotional temperature (my feelings), the louder my emotions become. Then the more I listen as a leader intuitively to my body and how it feels the quieter and peaceful I become.

I wonder how curious you are about your emotions?

The thing I have learnt lately is that making a decision when I listen to my body when I listen to the small voice within; it is often a quick no for my best yes. This week I have had to say some hard no’s. Rather than making decisions out of obligation, I am making decisions out of joy.

The second thing I am learning is when I listen to myself more than others…When I listen to my body when I am making decisions, my intuitions, my internal emotional gauge grows. It is a confirmation to my mapping system that tells me that listening to myself means I can be trusted. When I listen to my body, when I am making decisions, my intuition and ability to listen first and foremost to God and secondly to people grow.

A quick no, for a best yes.

A quick no to obligations for my best yes to my purpose.

A quick no to people for my best yes to my family.

A quick no to social media and notifications for my best yes to meditation and prayer.

A quick no to screen scrolling and binge-watching television for my best yes to my writing page.

Next time you have the opportunity to make a decision ask yourself this question;

How does my body feel about this?

Instead of;

What SHOULD I do?

Living out of obligation means you are losing the opportunity to say your best yes!

This excerpt is a part out of my series 2019 manifesto

Amanda Viviers

My latest book EMBRACING SLOW can be found here. It is a series of devotionals created to help you say no to busy and step into the greatness of a full life.