Today is a day out of Jane Eyre. Gloomy and grey. And yet I love these days…as long as I’m warm. Which I am. I’m wearing a lovely bright green cardigan which has been Blitzed. That means with a hole. Quite a big one. Wrought by our new Labrador puppy, Blitz. In fact I have a whole pile of Blitzed clothes ready for the tailor to mend. This is what happens when you get a cute, black Labrador. The Princes race into the kitchen (Blitz was kicked out of the rest of the house when he continued making his territorial business on the rugs) and jump onto the counter to avoid his clutching jaws. They eat their supper on their haunches high up on their chairs. And we put him outside just so that they can clear the table. Would we change anything – never. (Although I’d like my jerseys back. Hence I think getting a puppy in Spring is probably the best time, when you can just wear jeans and a t-shirt that you won’t mind getting blitzed. Of course you won’t look presentable in public again…) I never imagined having a puppy would be like this. The holes, the guilt of maybe not spending enough time with him, and the pure terror and frustration as my ankles get nipped. I never knew what to expect as I never had a dog before. It was the unknown, the feared, and to be honest if my mother in law had not gone ahead and booked Blitz, I don’t think we ever would have gotten beyond that fearful procrastination. Which is what this blog is all about.

Jump into the unknown, who knows what will happen, but jump anyway. I’ve had a weekend of this. Sunday to be precise.

Sunday was the day of the Princes’ Judo tournament. It was their first one ever. Prince No. 1 wanted to back out from the moment he woke up. We cajoled him and convinced him to go and do his best, which he did. They all fought with a lot of heart. (Or so I was told as I had a sugar low of some sort and ended up spending the afternoon in bed.) They all lost their fights. Prince No. 1 was in tears. And that’s when our role as mentoring parents kicked in. Where it was okay to lose as long as you turned up. When you didn’t get that gold medal you wanted but you tried your best and learnt along the way. Where it’s the process not the goal that counts. I told them they were all winners – because winners never quit. That’s what Sensai Irv (their Judo coach) teaches them. (Us parents who manage to sit and watch learn a lot in Judo.) We went for a celebratory pizza supper, with waffles and ice cream. And their self esteems lifted. They were proud of their medals, even if they were silver and bronze. The main thing really was that they faced their fear, got through their first tournament, and learnt that it was okay to lose.

Ouch – how many of us are okay with losing. How many of us would rather not try, then lose, or make an ass out of ourselves. I raise my hand to that. What I have been challenging myself with is doing things, even though it makes my anxiety levels soar to the moon. And so I found myself on Sunday night giving a talk on meditation to the Rosh Chodesh Waverley Women’s group.

Instead of tearing myself up in side with my lovely, critical voice, ‘Who are you to do a meditation talk, when these days you can barely get out of bed for the school lift, let alone meditate.’ I ignored it. I said to myself, ‘Who am I to back down? I’ve certainly done enough meditation, deep breathing, yoga in my life, as well as reading every book out there, numerous courses etc. etc.’ And so I did it. Armed with a lovely meditation by Natalia Baker, called  ‘Three Fold Flame’. (You can google her, she’s based in Cape Town and her CD’s are lovely.) and an introduction on relaxation, deep breathing and their benefits.

The evening went well, very well. And the best part was I’d challenged another part of myself that I hadn’t used before. Jumped that chasm of fear and come out the other side.

If I had lost that would have been another story… but at least I’d dared to try. I quoted that evening Nelson Mandela (who was quoting someone else apparently please comment and tell me who????) from his 1994 inaugural speech. He said:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? 

Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.”

I may have quoted this before. I have it framed in my study because for me it is a powerfully true message about our deepest fears and issues.

I’ve been told this week to stop ‘trying’ and start ‘doing’. Stop ‘trying’ not to be anxious and have negative thoughts. Stop ‘trying’ to stop procrastinating, be present for the Princes, play with Blitz. Just do it! Deal with it. Live it. I guess when we die and God says to us ‘So what did you do with your life?’ we can’t exactly say, ‘Well I tried to live it.’ Trying is not quite the same as actually living it. Being the best we can be no matter what.

For me that was a sobering thought. A freeing, sobering thought. One that I understand is a life journey to fulfill.

But anyway…that may all be a bit heavy. On a lighter note. For those of you concerned – we are taking Blitz to puppy training classes. (He’s been the best thing for Prince No.1)

And I also want to relate how I’m putting the Princes to bed these day. With a meditation called ‘Bedtime Meditations for Kids’ by Christiane Kerr. It’s a set of three magical journeys that helps them relax as they go to sleep. It’s made putting them to bed such a pleasure, and they usually fall asleep half way through. A win-win-WIN. You can download it on iTunes. So anyone who wants to help their kids relax before bed, I highly recommend it. The Princes love it!