Best Foot Forward

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“MARRIAGE REQUIRES AN EQUAL COMMITMENT TO GROWTH AND I REALISED IN THE PURSUIT OF MY BUSINESS, CAREER AND SUCCESS, I HAD LOST A PIECE OF MYSELF.”

Travel is my life elixir. Whenever I am feeling uninspired I plan a trip. The process of getting away to a new-found destination awakens inspiration. Recently, I was riding on the back of a motorbike in rural Indonesia and I realised something was very wrong. The wind was rushing through my hair, I was resting my head on my husband’s shoulder and everything within me should have been buzzing. This situation in the past would have filled me with adrenaline and my heart would have been loudly beating. It was in that windswept moment that I realised something needed to change.

We stopped at a cafe at the end of a cul-de-sac for a flat white and burger. We started to unpack the season of our marriage. We had been running too fast and the combination of two children under four, two businesses and a full-time job was stretching our capacity to enjoy life and one another. That trip to Indonesia showed us we were ‘redlining’ and unless something changed, the result would be disastrous. The changes had to begin with me. Every time I stop looking after my heart and my soul, those closest to me are deeply affected.

Our marriage can only be as good as the two parts who are seeking growth, healing and discovery.

As a creative soul, my heart aches to rebel. It is like I have always been curiously designed to push the boundaries, not in an intensely negative way but an innovative edge to challenge the status quo. I knew something needed to change and I came to the conclusion that there were many reasons for my squashed adrenaline response on the back of the motorbike that day.

Marriage requires an equal commitment to growth and I realised in the pursuit of my business, career and success, I had lost a piece of myself and it affected everything. I began to realise I had to re-prioritise some important parts of my life, to bring self-care and my heart into alignment. I decided to prioritise ‘rhythm over accomplishment’. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the urgent rather than the important. The life of a parent is filled with urgent needs in front of our vegemite smeared faces and yes our attention is absolutely needed by those closest. But an empty washing basket, worn as a badge of honour, that is prioritised over a manuscript awaiting attention does not give me the same long-term satisfaction as expressing the gifts that lay dormant. I am pursuing a rhythm this year where I am seeking the important over the urgent and saying no to those things filled with the obligations that drain.

Each and every time I find my voice as a creative soul, my marriage is enriched, simply because I am satisfied and living on purpose.

I decided to prioritise ‘connection over scrolling’. There are many days that I cannot remember who contacted me, where and what I am responding too. It is like social media has fractured my connection space, and it used to be one of my strengths. I have messages waiting on Instagram and people texting me replies to something I posted on social media, and Facebook messages, tweets, likes, follows and comments. My brain is exploding from all the messages
that are flying back and forth and it is changing my capacity to remember who I have spoken to about what. I have decided that I am not going to feel the pressure to respond to every text, message and invitation that flies at me. I am prioritising face to face connection and phone conversations with people. I will have only one email account on my laptop and will be unsubscribing from all the emails that do not add value. I am prioritising my connection with people. And most importantly when I flop on the couch after the littlies are asleep, I am hiding my phone away in a cupboard and leaning into space between my spouse and me.

I decided to prioritise ‘health over speed’. My life as a novice mum has been categorised by vegemite toast on the run and coffee going cold in a cup. I have survived the last five years by saying yes to others over time exercising and creating healthy boundaries with food. So once again I stand here at the beginning of a new year and I am faced with the weight I have carried around as I have chased my children through life. I am choosing health over speed and apples over toast, water over soda and herbal tea over coffee. Each and every time I make a decision about my health it directly affects my marriage, as I feel so much more confident in my body and I am full of energy.

I decided to prioritise ‘listening over sorry’. This one is a hard one. My husband said this recently, “Do you realise how often in a day you say sorry love?” I spend so much of my day teaching my children to say sorry and to stop and to sit in the corner, that I have become an apology machine. When I slow myself down, I have realised that I constantly apologise for my voice. So rather than say sorry, I am going to listen more and be slower to speak. Rather than quickly
apologising, without even thinking, I am learning to actively listen and yes ‘say sorry’, but slowing down my responses to bring intention and life. These are just a few thoughts that I have implemented in my life this year, to reframe how much I give to others and how it directly affects those closest to me. Being conscious of how I respond and what I am prioritising is one of the greatest lessons I am learning. Awakening those parts of me that only those closest can see. Re-prioritising these areas has helped me find my voice again and that is the greatest awakening our marriage has ever encountered.

Carly Tia

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