Reclaiming The Inner You - Head's BlogPosted on: 30/11/2018
A couple of weekends ago, I took time out to spend quality time with a group of female friends with whom I had found myself losing touch over the years. We rented a beautiful house in the Cotswolds and spent two days indulging in each other’s companionship. It had been about six years since we were all together last without husbands and children, so we had much catching up to do...but what I had not bargained for was that I would be leading Mindfulness meditation sessions throughout the weekend and that we would end the weekend writing notes of gratitude to each other which were then shared at breakfast on Sunday as we prepared to return home.
Time, as we all know, flies by and it really saddened us all that we had allowed so much time to pass without making time for each other; yes, we had all seen each other over the years, but always at busy occasions surrounded by so many other people and our conversations had mainly centred on our families.
We all have very different careers, ranging from successful Global Director at a well known IT company to pharmacist, senior recruitment manager, nurse…but what was most surprising to me was that all these female friends, except myself, were currently not working….they had removed themselves from the treadmill of the work place to reflect on their lives, regain some balance and give more time to themselves and family. They are very fortunate that they find themselves in this position and all are grateful that they are able to do so. It is not often that I am told to sit down, relax and dinner will be prepared (never, in fact - although the fact that I also had a raging temperature and horrendous cold coming on did help)!
Over the course of the weekend we discussed our children (ranging from 7 to 20 years old); we all wished that we had been given that ‘parenting handbook’ that someone will make a fortune from when it is published! Parenting is definitely the most rewarding, challenging and important ‘career’ that we all have, and one that you really cannot step away from (except for that well deserved you time!). Schooling was also a key talking point and I am always very mindful when amongst friends that I do not to get on my soap box about education. Each of our nine children had attended independent schools either for their primary or secondary years and our experiences were all very different. None of the schools were offering what we offer at St. Helen’s College in terms of the balance of instilling that love of learning alongside outward and inward development - striving for academic excellence but also valuing personal development to the extent that we do. Mindfulness, Positive Psychology and P4C were new terms to them when talking about the education of young children; work places and universities offered such aspects of life learning, but not a Prep school curriculum! (Yes, I felt very proud of our school community!)
To spend such quality time with close friends, nourishing our souls with laughter, compassion and empathy, was just wonderful. We did nothing over the weekend (a visit to the local village for coffee was the most energetic activity!), but the time relaxing back at the house was the ‘therapy’ we all craved.
I came away not only with rekindled friendships and appreciation of my friends but with both a book and music recommendation that I will share with you.
The book is ‘59 seconds’ by Richard Wiseman: ‘At last, a self-help book that is based on proper research. Perfect for busy, curious, smart people’. Some great chapters on ‘Parenting’, ‘Relationships’, ‘Motivation’. Easy to read...thought provoking.
My music takeaway, some of your children have already shared in assemblies: ‘Einaudi - Waves’ the piano collection...beautiful!
The biggest takeaway though for me personally is something which I am sure many of us need to embrace...remember who we are...not the mother, father, wife, husband, engineer, lawyer, doctor, teacher….it is only by giving yourself time to reclaim the inner ‘you’ that ‘you’ can give the best of yourself to your family and your career.
Have a great weekend!