Breathing in and breathing out…

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I find it is so important to strike a balance in our lives between ‘breathing in‘ and ‘breathing out‘. Physically we need the exchange of air from the in and out breath for our survival, but metaphorically speaking, we also need the ‘in-breath‘ of work, activity and concentrated effort balanced by the ‘out-breath‘ of relaxation, rest and play.  With too much activity, we can feel exhausted and overstretched and with too much rest, we can become lethargic and demotivated, so the balance is important.

As a family of introverts (who get our energy from time alone), we really need our downtime between activities or social times. With too much activity, we can become tired, frazzled and frankly quite antisocial (especially to family members!). So after a full week followed by a busy Saturday, we were all relieved to have a lovely long ‘out breath‘ on Sunday, an unrushed, playful and restorative day before the ‘inbreath‘ of the working/school week.

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I finally ‘undertook’ a trip to IKEA on Friday, which is a three hour round trip. My husband refuses ever to set foot in the place again (too overstimulating – I know what he means!) so I made the trip alone. My eldest was due to go to a friend’s party followed by a sleepover, so I seized the opportunity to arrange for my youngest to play at a friend’s house after school. This was her first proper ‘play date’ without me or her sister. It was a big step for her, but she loved it, so this could be the start of a new era for her and for me 🙂

Ikea was thankfully very quiet and I found most of the items I came for, so it was worth it and I got to listen to my own music in the car which was an added bonus!

We had an early start on Saturday, picking our eldest up at 8.30am and driving into town so she and my husband could take part in our city’s annual Children’s Parade. Every first weekend in May, all the local schools pull out the creative stops and parade through the City in wonderful costumes, heralding the start of the City’s month long Arts Festival.

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Both my daughters took part last year, but my youngest found it too loud; with all the drumming, whistling and chanting, so she took a break this year. My eldest still wanted to participate, so we have been attending weekly workshops after school to make costumes and willow waves.

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The theme this year was poems and our school chose the nonsense poem The Akond of Swat by Edward Lear. We are blessed to have some very creative parents in our school, so the willow main structure was amazing. The costumes were relatively simple this year, but there was still plenty of sewing, glueing and painting to be done!

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Last year our theme was Alice in Wonderland and a wondeful costume designer, whose children attend our school, designed the costumes. Here are the girls at last year’s parade 🙂

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My youngest and I waited in the quiet of a cafe for the parade to begin and so I could take some photos 🙂 Here are are a few of the impressive main structures we saw.

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It’s a very creative City we live in 🙂

My youngest daughter and I escaped for half an hour or so for some peace and quiet whilst the Parade was on – we spent the time in a field, cleaning up (or poo picking as they call it!) after our pony. Not glamorous, but just the ‘outbreath’ we both needed 🙂

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In the afternoon we headed out to the circus, just me and my daughters this time as Daddy needed his own ‘outbreath’! We always try to catch a circus show once a year as the girls really enjoy seeing the feats that the artists can perform. This circus was in our area for the weekend and as it was only ten minutes walk from home, I could find no good reason not to go!  It was certainly good fun, if rather loud again 🙂

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My eldest has so much more stamina now she is ten. She used to find sleepovers exhausting and it took her days to recover. But this weekend she managed a sleepover and a full on day and was still in good spirits by the end of it all. She is stepping further away from home slowly and has some more sleepovers lined up over the next couple of months. It is heartening to see her venture out and become more adventurous (especially as both her and her sister tend to be very cautious and anxious about anything new).

We had a slow start on Sunday and later took a trip out to visit the home of the well known author Rudyard Kipling,  Batemans in Sussex. It was our first time there.

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 Rudyard Kipling lived there from 1902 until his death in 1936. He and his wife Carrie fell in love with the property and gardens at first sight, despite it being rather dilapidated at the time and he is said to have referred to it as a “good and peaceable place” and what a beautiful place it is!

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On her death, Kipling’s wife entrusted the property to the National Trust as a memorial to her husband. Kipling was a world famous author and poet in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. His books are still well loved today, including the Jungle Book, Kim, Puck of Pook Hill and The Just So Stories.

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Last weekend they just happened to be celebrating the story “Rewards and Fairies”

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so there was a fairy-themed trail, with four gorgeous fairy houses to discover amongst the grounds – perfect timing for our fairy loving girls!

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and we heard “How the Camel got its Hump”, one of the Just So stories narrated by Kipling himself (well, sort of!)

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There was even some beautiful fairy face painting, which my eldest could not resist.

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The gardens are extensive and are both formal and informal. There was certainly plenty of space to run around and let off steam, including weaving in and out of a row of pleached trees. Great fun!

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We had a lovely day out and will definitely visit again.

And on the subject of breathing, I leave you with some wise words from Thich Nhat Hanh – I use them as a meditation tool when I want to calm my system down and practise gratitude 🙂

“Breathing in I calm my body down, Breathing Out I smile”

“Breathing in, I dwell deeply in the present moment. Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment”   

4 thoughts on “Breathing in and breathing out…

  1. Kipling’s house and gardens look amazing, if we are ever that way we will have to give it a visit. You are so right a rhythm to life a time to rest, a time to work and a time to play is very important if we do not want to be left feeling frazzled. The parade looks amazing 🙂

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    • Yes it was really amazing to see what everyone had made. Some very creative folk out there! I found it hard to visualise how the willow sculptures would turn out – not my forte! Yes would recommend Kipling’s place. Looking forward to checking out the house next time.Yes balance is key to a peaceful life. 🙂

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