Around the blog-sphere, during these first days of the new year, there is such a great talking about resolutions and goals.
I adore these states of ferment, mostly because , as some of you could have well presumed, I am a huge fan of plans and organizational skills.

One of the hottest topics of the moment is decluttering, a simple word that became so popular thanks to Flylady, and that means getting rid of the useless stuff around our houses, with the intent of taking off the superfluous and keeping only what it is strictly necessary. Elisa on wrote just some days ago, an interesting and useful post on the subject, that I highly suggest you to read. And Silvia and Serena have just launched a brilliant therapeutic initiative for drifter parents as we all are.

I am talking about that, because since some months ago, our house has been the subject of a huge decluttering operation.

Pushed by the soon arrival of the third baby boy, we are working hardly room by room, to literally create space for the newborn and get everyone ready to welcome him in our house.

I began some time ago with closets: taking advantage of the change of the season, we abandoned our needless clothes and took only what was right for our actual life (and size!). Then, we moved to the master bedroom, to the craft room and to the kids’ room and, finally, to the garage, a sort of purgatory of any kind of objects that fell into disuse and that we, just as a habit of unconsciousness, thought we couldn’t get rid of.

Meanwhile, something is happening. The more we proceed, the more I am conscious that our decluttering, that started from material items, is actually more and more becoming a spiritual decluttering of our entire family.
As if, everyone of us, is creating space to the new baby inside our soul as well as inside our rooms.

The act of getting rid of the items of the past, is slowly but progressively helping us on resetting ourselves as a family and on getting ready to begin again, in a new, different and unknown family asset.

We are all 4 conscious that our family routines will be soon no longer the same. And, even if sometimes we perceive it with a little of preventive nostalgic attitude, we think it’s all extremely exciting.
Surely we don’t have any idea of what after would be, when the little baby will be here, but everyone of us, according to his own rhythm and reactions, is getting used to the idea that what some time ago were only words and expectations, will be soon a living reality that will surround us all. And will take us elsewhere. Elsewhere from the past. And where only the present moment counts.

During this special moment, the moment just before the leaving, when we say goodbye to what we are dropping behind and when we get ready to face the new, we are living really strong contrasting feelings.
At the same time, the objects (may they be letters, documents, toys, clothes or so on) and the act of taking them in our hands to feel the weight of their value for ourselves and to feel what kind of relationship connects ourselves with them, are helping us understanding how much, by the flown of time, they actually have become sorts of emotional catalysts , as they attracted tangles of thoughts and memories inside themselves that actually we took, for too much time, for granted.

We all realized, everyone in his own way, that most of the times these objects, so fully plunged in emotional habits, don’t correspond (anymore) to our current feelings. And that often they are some kind of fetishes of some simple and automatic connections of thoughts, that no longer belong to real feelings anymore.
Thoughts like: “…This was a gift from…” or “..I played with this when…” or even “…I take this in case of…” are evident signals of an attitude focused in the past or in a hypotetic future, that don’t actually deal with ourselves as individuals and as a family.

But mostly, as soon as we stop and just reflect a little on that issue, they don’t have really any kind of relationship with the items themselves.
In fact, they, emptied by that inappropriate weight, become lighter and regain their true material nature, letting us looking at them for what they really are, instead for what they represented or they could be. And for the most part of them, this means knowing that they are no longer necessary items.

In that way, decluttering has become a sort of family therapy towards our inner nature. Towards the values and the priorities that define us as family.

This path, that started from the mess of a cluttered house, full of piled-up objects, belonged to other selves and other ages of body and soul as well, is becoming more and more a journey through the deepness of the simplest living as possible, in line with our inner feelings.
This is allowing us to leave behind, without useless resentments and obsolete sentimentalisms, what is really needless and that could
only make our journey harder.

So, we came to an agreement with the liberating conclusion that, even if we can practically get ready and organize for the new life’s coming, we could never know how it will actually be until we are living it in the present that isn’t come yet.

We are feeling surely happier to see we have lightened our luggage from what doesn’t belong to us anymore and to cherish mindfully, even just as a precious memory of our past lives, only what is worth to be preserved.

Coloring Mandalas

It’s holiday time in our house and with no school until the 9th of January, we’ve been scheduling lots of activities with our children.

Now they are more grown-up kids, most of our time has been spent outside, at relatives’ or friends’ houses or even at the theatre.

But one of the most successful activities of this time around, has been coloring Mandalas.

I read some time ago in Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children, another one of the wonderful books by Thich Nhat Hanh, how this activity could be simple and relaxing for kids of all ages…and not only for them!

Browsing on the web, I found lots of links, in Italian too, like this one by Claudia, written in her blog The little house on the prairie, so I decided to give Mandalas a try.

As I wrote in the post Bellies & siblings, this is a very challenging moment in our family life, due to my child P.’s aggressive reactions, especially towards his older brother.

Though I made some plans to take children engaged in some sort of activities during the entire days, I am currently suffering from managing transitional moments between the activities, as for instance, that challenging time while making lunches or dinners.

The art of Mandala has been used from ancient times and in different cultures around the world to visualize the circular form of life and universe.
Coloring Mandalas, it is said, helps finding balance and focus and it could have a reassuring and relaxing effect. Marie Louise Von Franz, Jung’s most famous pupil, used, as his master, Mandalas to study human personalities. She underlines how, by the art of Mandalas, individuals can reach clarity in psychic confusion and how they can actually empower new positive psychical abilities.

My children love drawing, but when they are at home, they usually prefer to draw by their own than coloring pre-made drawings. I attribute this to the fact both of them have been taught in school to color inside the borders as the main priority in creative arts.

However, I had been noticing that both of my children were soon attracted by the shape and the symmetry of the printed Mandalas I gave to them and they immediately began to color in a focused and quiet atmosphere.

Even P., who usually gets easily stressed if those kind of activities last for too long, surprisingly asked me to color some more of them.

Even more surprisingly, the quiet atmosphere protracted for the rest of the afternoon, even in challenging moments that usually require my full attention and patience, as for instance, before and after dinner, when children are nervous and tired and they get easily frustrated or excited.

We are longing to come back to coloring Mandalas, as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the web is full of links where anyone can download for free amazing Mandalas for kids.

For our fist experiment, we downloaded Christmas theme Mandalas too, in fact, actually there are so many out there, that you just need to digit “coloring mandala” in the search box and you’ll get millions of them!

If you are interested in purchasing the Thich Nhat Hanh’s book I wrote about in this post, you can do it from this affiliate link:

What will next year bring?

New year, time of reviews and projects!

Personally, the year is coming to end, has been one of my bests.

Beyond stars’ favour (didn’t you know 2011 was a great year for cancers?), looking back I can see that mostly was due to having spent enough time on visualizing and envision my priorities and my missions.

Actually it has been a 1-year-long attitude and it has really helped me on clarify the what and how of my several projects and visions.
Only after this brainstorming approach, I had been really able to focus on the concrete steps of my path.

I know myself as a person whose life needs, for her own physical and psychological sake, a clear plan. A plan I am actually able to follow with determination and consistency.

But during this year I have discovered as well that too much productivity can really challenge my inner calmness and undermine my mood.

In fact, as many mothers , perfectionism is my personal enemy. And what perfectionism usually does to me is making my days more a matter of erasing tasks from a to-do list than focusing on what really matters in my life as a mother, wife and individual.

Moreover, I am, of course, never able to reach the perfection I seek. And that leads me inevitably to feel depressed, discouraged and guilty.

Being pregnant has pushed me to going deeper in finding a way to cope with this insane way of thinking. I have realized that I was living too much importance to my thoughts and to my expectations without being able to be grateful for the life I live.

Inevitably, my main dare for the new year is approaching by, will consist on the arrival of our third baby boy that will surely be a revolution in our settled family life.

Then, one of my most important issues would be for me practicing the concreteness of my organization skills and contemporaneously adapting them to seeking a new family balance, with an attitude of patience and compassion towards each other.

I can say it will be mostly about finding the meeting point between productivity and real life, between plans and flexibility, between prefixed thoughts and what Byron Katie calls “Falling in love with reality”, that is quality of living where inner peace flows from a non-judging dwelling in the present moment.

Once I have read a sentence that I still keep in mind and that goes something like this: “Living both the length and the width of life“.
Then, that’s what I am longing to accomplish during next year: conquering this new dimension of width, in which the present would be a prior value.
Undoubtedly, with 3 small kids in the house, this would be a real challenge!!!

But at the same time, I am now more aware about the fact that my kids could actually begin to be, now more than ever, my Zen Masters, as Sarah Napthali puts it.

In fact, just after having made a shift in my way of thinking and embracing the fullness of reality, I can see clearly my children actually continuously tickle me, allowing me to abandon rigid schematic approaches and perfectionist rationalities and instead they force me to give my complete attention to the fullness of the moment and to the awareness of listening and accepting reality just as it is.

And you?
How about the year is over?
Which are your plans and resolutions for the new year?

Please, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Happy new year!!!