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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.

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Ten seconds to spare

TEN SECONDS TO SPARE

I can feel him shrinking away from me. At the school gate in the morning, checking who is close by. Maybe its the memories of the bully who shamed him last year, leaving remnants of not enoughness. Also I think it maybe because he now reaches for the computer game controller rather than his beloved soft toys.

But I can feel this shift and transition, in the space in between.

They told me this would happen, that my little boy who was once my second shadow has now become my sometimes friend.

Even though I knew this would come there are moments like when he runs out of the classroom at the end of a big day, so fast that he bowls me over. It is in these moments that I hold on a little longer than I am supposed to, especially at the school gate. Finding ten seconds to spare and my heart beating slower as I remember what it was like to be his only friend.

I can feel familiarity settling in, like a pair of worn in shoes. I hear his chewing louder than ever before on the couch late at night after the children have been tucked into bed.

This April we mark eight years married and nearly ten years standing alongside. I can feel familiarity settling in like a favourite winter coat but I need to be careful that it doesn’t turn into complacency. I want to remain present to our feelings of gratitude and remain present in the midst of the familiarity that walks alongside.

So even though I’m tired and had enough of giving at ten past eight. When he walks in the door, I try to get off the couch and hold him ten seconds longer, even though my bones ache and I feel so ever tired. I hold him just that little longer reminding him that home is safe from the war he’s walked away from outside.

I can feel her confidence bouncing from the room that is away from mine Every, single time she walks away from me, not even turning back to check in and say goodbye. I can see her mind ticking over and seeking affirmation amongst the day. Looking across crowded rooms and wondering where she belongs and looking for the fun.

There are moments that I have noticed however that defy her four years of living. Those moments unravel when she stands in front of our hallway mirror looking deeply at the reflection staring back at her.

I remember the time I stood trying not to betray her trust with my shock when she whispered that this outfit made her look fat. Or the time that she told me she wants to brush her hair one hundred more times so it looks flat.

She didn’t pick these words up from our house or see me looking at my reflection in this way. She found out these untruths out there and somedays I am not sure how to answer her questions about the world and its cruel ways.

So I hold her just a little longer. Sometimes demanding that she comes and sits alongside. At nighttime or when she feels sick, I try to drop everything I am carrying to give her ten seconds to spare, focusing on the moment that slips away so quickly. Through my fingers, heart and life, she is growing quicker than my heart can realise.

She’s not great a long hugs like her brother. She’s more confident than that. But somedays I catch her out, I come alongside. I pick her up and twirl around, making her believe she can fly.

Ten second hugs are my intention for my family and all I meet this year.  Because we all need a little extra.

Have you got a hug,

or two

or ten to spare?

Amanda

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paper over screens

The crisp sound it makes as I turn a page, draws me into a deep, releasing breath. It’s hard to explain it any other way. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of paper between my hands.

Let’s be honest though; I’m sitting here in a library whilst waiting for my son to finish his Tae Kwon Do class and my daughter is next to me watching a movie from a screen. Yes, she could go get a book and on other occasions she has, but for today I am trying to finish this blog, which I have sat down ten times to try and write and the list of why’s goes on.

Over in the corner of the library is a noisy class learning computer coding and from the window vista of the desk I sit at, a Mum is playing frisbee in the park and recording her kids running around on her smart phone, I assume for Instagram.

The why’s are profound and the brilliance we have captured for the future amazing through the lens of a screen, but at what cost?

This year I have written a manifesto for my family and one of the goals is choosing paper over screens. Learning to pick up my novel rather than my phone. Being curious why I am scrolling social media accounts instead of showing up to my writing.

Writing letters to my friends rather than a short emotionless text and I have set a huge goal of novels to read for this year, instead of wasting my time reading other peoples stories.

In the past I have worked on my addiction to screens by taking drastic steps to disconnect. I am learning however, to reconnect rather than disconnect and explore why I am scrolling instead of creating.

When I pick up a piece of paper and write I let go of the story I am telling myself, allowing clarity and capacity to rise. Rather than shaming myself for the need to slow and watch a screen to decompress, finding ways to replace the behaviour rather than beat myself up, is such a powerful tool.

Some questions to ask yourself as you sit in front of a screen.

  1. Ask yourself why you are logging in? Boredom, fear or tiredness.
  2. Are you avoiding responsibility? Procrastination, hiding or frustration.
  3. How many times have you sat in front of a screen today? Work, Netflix or phone.

Write a list of ways you can achieve the same feeling without a screen.

  1. What makes you feel connected that doesn’t include a screen?
  2. What can you do that helps you relax, instead of sitting in front of a screen?
  3. When was the last time you left the house without a phone?

These are very simple questions, that can help you set more boundaries around the amount of screen time in your everyday. Boredom often leads to creative answers, but we live in a society that is very rarely bored anymore.

Do you prefer paper over screens?

How are you exploring this part of your world?

Happy Exploring Friends

Amanda

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