Weather

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They say there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing choices (paraphrasing there) and I guess this is probably the most positive way to look at it. Otherwise it is easy to get caught up in the see-sawing of will I, won’t I when the weather is not to your liking. I should know because I constantly do it. For me the rain coming down is a perfect opportunity to snuggle up at home without the guilt of thinking I should be making the most of the day. In fact often the stormier it is outside the calmer I feel inside. However this past weekend I found myself walking out in the rain at a time of the day when everyone else was snuggled up avoiding it. I was caught in the pull between my warm bed (the option my son took) and the fear of missing out on seeing the North end of Kāpiti Island with himself and my daughter. The latter won.

Okupe Lagoon – North End of Kāpiti Island

So we headed off in the rain to meet the rest of the himself’s fire brigade group bright and early. Songs of weather came into my head as I tossed up my choice and the thoughts of going back to bed. ‘Rain drops keep falling on my head’ – yes that works today. ‘Four seasons in one day’ – yes, it was fine and calm at 4am after blowing a gale and before the rain set in. I can’t stand the rain – well not technically true for me but a fair enough point today given that we would be ‘marooned’ on the Island for almost 5 hours. Maybe ‘Here comes the rain again’ or ‘Ain’t no sunshine’ were the most apt for the day. Interestingly enough though as we lined up for check in and bio checks I noticed that people were a bit loathed to mention the obvious. Sure there was the odd comment about ‘Oh, I thought it would be cancelled’ but generally there was no mention of the heavy rain that was forecast to remain all day nor the fact that we were going to be out in it. Usually weather is the fail safe topic of conversation but clearly only when you know you are safe from it; after you’re indoors or after the storm has given way to sunshine. Beyond that ….. speaker beware.

Looking South from the lookout on Kāpiti Island (210m)

We blame and praise the weather for so many things in our lives. We even let it dictate our health and well-being at times but really it is our internal ‘weather’ that forecasts how our day goes. Sure, I could have bitched and moaned about being soaked, about the rough ferry over, the cold and lack of shelter but instead I tried my hardest to embrace it all. Enjoy my choice, take it all as it came and be grateful for the opportunity to be in such an amazing place. Grateful for the opportunity to be with my family – well some of it 🙂 – experiencing nature together. Grateful for seeing birds up close and without multiple sound distractions. Grateful for the opportunity to step up into positivity, creating my own a good weather. In the end the choice is always mine.

Kererū – New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Breakfast pancakes

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With Christmas next month and a very excited boy in the house – think he takes after his grandmother there in his enthusiasm of Christmas so early 🙂 – I have begun to think about what kai we are going to have. With two dedicated meat eaters in the house and two dedicated vegans it can sometimes be hard to find recipes that will keep everyone happy. Add to this my preference to be gluten free, caffeine free and refined sugar free and well …. you can probably get the picture. Someone is usually less than impressed with what is on offer!

Himself found a Christmas Turkey to help him bring the festive cheer into the house! So like his Nan 🙂

So I thought I would start getting out the recipe books again and trail some ready for next month. I confess I was at a bit of a loss until herself decided to whip up a pile of waffles the other day. It reminded me that I had a pancake recipe from The Happy Pear lads which they reckoned could be used for waffles too. We have tried vegan and GF waffles before but the result was a little slow going as the mixture needed cooking a little longer and the waffle needed quite a bit of coaxing from the waffle iron too. Herself pretty much banned us from doing it again but ……… as she went into town today I thought I would give it a go with the new recipe. The recipe below is pretty much The Happy Pear recipe (pretty sure it was in this book) except I added some more milk (soy), which gave the mix a better consistency, and also just used a GF flour rather than regular flour.

I felt for sure that the whole waffle thing would go much this time without her watching over my shoulder and with my ‘new’ recipe. Sadly I was wrong. The whole waffle thing still ended up taking ages, still needed a lot of help to get out despite me putting in loads of oil first and tasted a little too crunchy by the time I got it out. Time for the frying pan to emerge and time to head back to basics. When waffles were the mission I decided to omit blueberries as I knew the waffle iron was not partial to them. Now that I was back to making pancakes I decided to throw a handful in to make them all the more delicious.

I used sunflower oil for cooking these so that there was minimal flavour from the oil and decided on making chunkier mini pancakes to stack. The results were so much better and everyone was munching happily. Not one comment or question on the ingredients either which is a great sign! So I think we have our Christmas breakfast sorted …… yay ….. and without further waffle from me here is the recipe.

Breakfast Pancakes

-Mix all the ingredients together

-Heat your frying pan (I love my cast iron one)

-Spoon in the mixture to create two small pancakes

-Wait until they ‘bubble’ on top then flip to cook the other side

-Check and remove when both side are done

-Enjoy either by themselves or with your favourite topping

Hope this finds you relaxed, rested and ready to enjoy the week ahead.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Advice

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I remember years ago hearing a comedian talking about this topic. The one thing I took away from it was ‘A piece of advice is like an @$$hole; everyone has one but that doesn’t mean we want to see or hear yours.’ I have carried this gem with me for years now and always think about it as I proffer my ‘advice’ to others. I say think about it because it rarely actually stops me opening my mouth and spouting something to some unsuspecting soul. I thought I was pretty good though at not giving too much advice (well not as much as I secretly wanted to give) and trying to get the other person to follow what felt right for them but now that I have teenagers in the house I can see that may not be the case. There is nothing like a surly teenager to put you in your place and show you that your advice is meaningless to them!

Following my own advice and getting out in nature for a walk

For most of us when we hear that someone else is having a bad time of things we often want to help, maybe even rescue them. The most common and easiest way seems to be giving our advice, regardless of whether or not it has been asked for. We often think we have the answer to others problems and so want to share our knowledge. In my experience so far though, this isn’t the case. Sometimes themselves (our teenagers) actually get a bit peeved off if I do have the correct information to help them move forward, like they want to have a unsolvable problem. Sound familiar? Do they want the challenge of figuring it out for themselves or do they just enjoy moaning? From the lack of action I sometimes see I’m thinking it is the latter, with them at least. With others I would say that the majority of times I have offered unsolicited advice (which I think is the kind of advice most of us give) I can see that it was like ‘water off a duck’s back’. Their eyes kind of glaze over and the rhythmic head nodding begins as they block me out without actually telling me to ‘P!$$ off’.

I realize too that I am often one of the worst offenders of that glazed look and heading nodding. Though I do hear what people say I often won’t accept the validity of their advice until much later, sometimes not until someone else has told me a similar piece of advice. Sometimes not until my world is in collapse! They say we need to be exposed to things multiple times before we accept it so maybe I can use that as my excuse for now. I guess though we all like to think we have things sorted and if we don’t have our issues sorted now, that we can sort them if we really wanted to. I often wonder too why I share things that are going bad when I there is a part of me which doesn’t want any advice on solving it. What is the need in me to let others know the bad rather than all the good in my life? Is it a form of bonding? A form of self trimming tall poppy syndrome? I’m not sure but I do remember a friend telling me that in some cultures when someone asks how you are, you are expected to tell them something that is going wrong. The idea being that this way you make the other person feel good about their lives as sharing loads of good news is seen as boastful. So maybe it is an inbuilt survival tool.

Maybe there is a happy medium somewhere in giving advice; somewhere in the midst of limiting what we share which we don’t want advice on and asking others if they want help, advice or our opinion before we actually give it. I’m certainly still looking for it. Until I do find it I think I will continue spouting my ‘advice’ on here, oblivious to how it is received, so at least you have the option to close the tab rather than feigning interest 🙂

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Why stress and worry?

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So often we increase our stress levels simply by worrying about everything we have to do, what others think or that we are not living up to our potential while everyone else around us seem to have their lives sorted. Truth is that if we had an opportunity to take even the tiniest peek into those ‘other lives’ we would recognize the same fears, worries, un-decidedness and underlying troubles we ourselves have.

It is easy to compare ourselves for better or worse with others however it doesn’t always serve us very well. We don’t really know what the other person it thinking or feeling and we don’t know what they have experienced. You can always benefit from seeing how others deal with issues in a positive way; just comparing yourself and rating yourself better or worse will never bring true, long term gains. Our stress and worry levels are determined by one major factor – how we react to the events in our lives – not by how we are ‘measuring up . Event + Response / Reaction = Outcome. (Canfield, The Success Principles, 2015). So how we decide to react can bring us more or less stress and more or less happiness in life.

The question is then; if we are all going through similar problems and our stress levels are decided by how we response to those problems then what are we to do? Give up? Go with the flow? Battle it all? Find a compromise? Or change the way we respond to problems to move forward? All are valid, and possible, plans of action. Whatever we choose we would be able to justify in our minds, and to others, so maybe a better questions would be ‘How can I live a more relaxed life’; ‘What would serve me positively’; or ‘Which actions will enable me to grow as a person?’

Even when it seems that it is other people who have created the problem if we are worried or stressed about it then it is our issue. We can’t change others, only ourselves. However; and here is where the magic comes in, sometimes in changing ourselves, in reacting to events in a different way, the people around us want to change too. Problems and issues seem to lessen or disappear, the stress eases and life feels better. The law of attraction states that ‘like will attract like’ so the more positive and calm we are the more positivity and calmness we attract and the reverse is also true. So which would you choose?

By focusing on the present, being grateful for all the positives and abundance we have, and moving forward from there we will attract those who are also thinking along the same lines. The past is already history, it has created the people we are for better or for worse and the future is still a mystery. While we can acknowledge the past and have goals for the future if we stay in either place too long it can leave us in a stagnant space dwelling or dreaming rather than acting. Here and now is where and when life is happening!

As the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Home comforts of GF bread on the road

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I have been craving a bit of carbs lately and so have been digging up a few of my favourite recipes. This bread is so easy and delicious I thought I would share it again. Rather than inventing the wheel though I’m taking the easy way out and re-blogging my original post 🙂 The Gluten free flours can be changed up as you like too … I now use quinoa instead of chickpea flour in this recipe and it still tastes just as good. From August 2017, when we were still living on the bus rather than just holidaying in it ……

So, I know … it has been a while since I posted, longer than I planned anyway.  It seems that one down side to bus life in Winter is the reduced solar power we have.  My old laptop is the one thing on the bus that needs to be plugged into a regular (i.e. not solar) plug and sucks up the power fast which means that I either have to duck into the library to use it for any length of time or wait until a sunny day! Well here it is a sunny Sunday afternoon and I thought I would get onto a blog post at last.

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Themselves in the bus … looking south to Oaro

We are just back from a quick overnighter down the coast.  It was only 30 mins away and yet with SH1 closed it was such an awesome break.  Parked up right on the beach without the hum of traffic made us all feel very spoilt and themselves spent hours on the rocky shore exploring and playing.  It is wonderful having our home with us where ever we travel and being able to have those home comforts too.  One home comfort I have been enjoying lately is some homemade Gluten Free bread (and toast).  The shop stuff is good but it usually comes a quite a price and invariably gives me a bad case of wind …. enough said!!

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Slices so well and I even got an ‘It looks just like shop bread’ seal of approval comment.

Anyway … this recipe is one that I shared last year but if you are like me and completely forgot about it while basking in the Summer sun then here it is again.  Actually I have a lovely mum from one of Infant Massage Courses to thank for the reminder and I’m so glad she did.  This loaf recipe is super easy!!  It is my favourite kind of recipe in fact … the chuck it all in and bake kind ;).  I have changed it only a little since last time so as to accommodate my vegan child however you can’t really tell anything is different and it makes a fantastic loaf.  This GF loaf will last quite a few days in an airtight container, slices really well and can be frozen for toasting later.  I have to say, with many other recipes tried and tested, that this really is my favourite Gluten Free bread recipe. Hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten Free Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Yeast
  • 2 Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
  • 8 tsp black chia seeds
  • 8 tsp boiling water
  • Sprinkle of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil

– In a large bowl whisk the water and yeast and leave for 10 minutes to activate.

– Add all dry ingredients apart from chia seeds and mix well

– Mix chia seeds and boiling water then add to bread mixture with the oil.

– Mix well and pour into a lined bread tin.

– Leave to rise for 10-15 mins.  It doesn’t rise much on baking so if you want a bigger loaf then leave it to rise longer before cooking.

– Bake at 170 C for 45 minutes.

-Enjoy!!

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and warm,  possibly enjoying some yummy GF toast 😉

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Sunshine

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I’m definitely not a hot house flower like my mum used to be. I’m happiest in winter, it has to be said or in the cooler autumn and spring sun. Our writing group topic from last week triggered me to think about how my mum would sit out in the sun and ‘bake’ at any opportunity while I would rather view it early in the morning on a walk, from the shade of a tree or indoors. I remember when we were travelling in South America, often being covered from head to toe , in a bid to avoid getting too much sun much to the amusement of our fellow travellers. I’m lucky though in that I’m not quick to burn rather my skin continues to brown and look a bit leathery ….. so maybe vanity also plays a part in all of it too.

Sunset walks on the beach

Though I had never really given the importance of sunshine much thought when I was younger, it was when I went flatting that I suddenly had a whole new perspective on it. When you have to pay your own bills you realize that having some natural warmth during the day can make a huge difference to your wallet …. and recreational abilities 🙂 Having a flat which only got a sliver of sunshine each day and then only in summer, which the cat usually monopolized, I quickly understand how essential sunshine was. From then on I would always look for sunny accommodation and where possible only move in Winter so I could see it at its worse!

Living on the bus too brought with it the focus of ensuring we had enough sunshine each day. As nearly everything on the bus is solar it was often a juggle on hot summer days between having the ability to run lights and charge items or bake in our little tin (actually aluminum) can. Usually we baked which would drive us out into the sunshine to find shade elsewhere, themselves all reveling in it and me covered in a sarong ‘shawl’, hat and glasses. In Winter we would often dabble with moving just to get the sunshine on our solar panels in a bid to keep the bus toasty warm.

The dog making the most of our shade

I admit too that without some sunshine in my life the days can feel a bit dismal. There is no denying that it brightens up the day, making me feel happier and healthier, and many people feel the same too with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) impacting many people’s lives. In fact,, we need sunshine on our skin to produce Vitamin D and to help our immune systems function correctly, helping our T-cells to move around the body. Not getting enough sunshine on our skins to prompt the body to produce Vitamin D, can even lead to muscle and joint pain, and doctors have documented a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and increased instances of heart attack, stroke and heart failure, as well as multiple sclerosis.

So while I’m not for being in it too much I am mindful to continue with those morning walks to get my daily dose 🙂 I hope this finds you getting your dose of sunshine too whether it be a waning autumn one or a warming Spring one.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Goodness of nature

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Every morning come rain or shine I head out with our four legged friends for a walk. It has become a bit of a ritual, in fact it has now got to the point where I don’t even think about walking or not …. I just get up, put on my exercise clothes and go. I have noticed, over the years, that not only is their behaviour and energy levels better during the day but so are mine! Sure some days the walk is less energetic than others. Some days the walk is shorter than others but everyday I know that if I miss our walk I just won’t feel as good that day.

When we’re out it is my time to reflect on the day before, thinking what I could have done differently, and also to ‘prepare’ for the day ahead by saying a few affirmations as I walk. We also invariably get to chatting to another walker (usually a neighbour) at some point, get distracted by some new ‘stinky’ highlights (that is more the dogs than me it has to be said) or just enjoy the birdsong and the elements. Not being that eager to venture out too much in a day if I can help it, our morning walk is the main time when I get to tick off some of the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ in a day. It is my way of ensuring I’m taking action about my health rather than feeling on the back foot and reacting when things don’t feel so great.

There is a lot of research out there which backs up what I’m experiencing too. The benefits of exercise on our health are proven but actually getting out into nature when you’re being active can amplify those benefits. Making the time to go outside and be in nature – both green (trees, grass, bush) and blue (rivers, lakes, sea) spaces – can also boost your well-being in many different ways. Using the green and blue spaces around you as part of your well-being routine can improve and regulate your moods, reduce stress and also help you feel more connected to the world. Evidence suggests that being in nature for more than 120 – 150 minutes a week (around 20 mins a day) is related to the best possible physical, as well as mental, health and well-being.

Getting the benefits of the blue and green effect

Now I’m aware that not everyone is as fortunate as us to have a river walk on their doorstep but being in nature can refer to many different things. It doesn’t have to be a mammoth trek in the mountains or an epic swim in the sea. It may be parks, gardens and allotments in an urban setting or even a trip to a wildlife park. It may be working on the land or being on farmland. It may be short bush walks or just the local botanical gardens. Maybe a stroll along a creek, stream, river or lake. Even sitting by the water fountain in the park will help gain some positive blue and green health effects.

Just stepping out onto your lawn to do a few breathing exercises and moving the body will help boost the impact of what you are doing. Getting into your garden (not my specialty I have to say), reading outside, taking a lunch break in the outdoors or just making the most of that walk to the car can all count. The best thing is there is nothing to lose in trying to add a bit more nature in your life and everything to gain.

Hope this finds you exploring, enjoying and engaging in the nature around you.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Homemade Kombucha

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Every Sunday morning I have a routine …. get my 2 litre jug, add some loose leaf tea and some dextrose along with hot water and let it cool. Later in the day I then drain off my last week’s brew and pour the cooled ‘big cup of tea’ in with the a SCOBY ( Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast). All this is to create my refreshments for the week … homemade kombucha. My big jar of brewing Kombucha then sits on the bench all week waiting to for me to begin the process all over again the next Sunday.

The Routine Begins

Despite its current popularity, my kombucha making routine began almost 10 years ago after attending a fermenting workshop in Hokitika. There we were given samples of different kinds of homemade kombucha to try and sent away with a piece of SCOBY. I remember coming home with in and themselves laughing at my rubbery ‘squid’ like creature in a jar. How on earth was that going to make a drink? Despite all the ribbing though they all enjoyed either making some or drinking it in the following years.

The great thing with this is that it is so easy and inexpensive to make unlike some of the shop versions. Like many of the fermented foods Western cultures are ‘discovering’, Kombucha itself has been around for a long time ….. at least a millennia maybe even two. This little fermented drink is thought by some to originate from North East China and was drunk throughout Russia, Eastern Europe and Japan for centuries. Aside from being delicious (though some may argue with that so maybe it is more of an acquired taste) is also has many health benefits which have be scientifically studied and proven. Some people may worry about the added sugar however this is mostly ‘eaten’ by the SCOBY in the ferment so Kombucha is actually a good low sugar alternative.

As a family we have experimented with all sorts of variations in tea and sweeteners. Himself was very fond of a black tea and honey version until he became vegan. Herself on the other-hand enjoyed a berry tea and sugar variety. My favourite however is Green tea and dextrose and I now have two jars of it on the go every week after herself gave up making her berry kombucha. Being a wee bit impatient (I can hear my mother laughing already) and an ardent believer in keeping things simple, I drink my brew within the week rather than giving it a second ferment. A quick google search will give you all sorts of information on creating more exciting brews through second ferments though if that is your thing 🙂

The Benchtop Brews

The SCOBY with grow to the diameter of your jar thanks to the ‘food’ you are giving it in the form of tea and ‘sugar’; it will eventually cover the surface of the brewing kombucha. . To help the new brew along though we always leave at least 2 cups worth of kombucha in with the SCOBY … a bit like you would have a sourdough starter. There are loads of fermenting groups around the country which you can contact to get some so that you can begin your brew, usually free as the SCOBY just keeps growing layer upon layer. If you’re local to me though I’m happy to get you started too 🙂 Below is the basic recipe for feeding your SCOBY each week.

Kombucha Recipe

  • 2 Litres of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea (or 2-3 teabags)
  • 3/4 cup of Dextrose or sugar (you only need 1/2 cup if you are using honey)

-Combine all ingredients into a large jug or bowl.

-Allow to cool

-Pour over the SCOBY and starter in your glass jar

-Leave, covered with a cloth, for a week before pouring into bottles

Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying the changes of season around you.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Finding the good despite the blah ….

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After a bit of a blah week filled with injury, illness, setbacks, a funeral and disappointment I thought I would re-post this blog from way back in 2015. It is a good reminder for me to keeping on looking forward and means I save a bit of thought and typing this week 🙂

It seems sometimes, no matter how much we try to focus on being positive and living a life of gratitude, all it takes is one annoying slow driver when you’re in a rush or some minor hiccup in the day for any iota of positivity to disappear.  Or maybe that is just me! 🙂

Our brains then seem determined to mull over, ruminate, replay or get frustrated with the ‘bad, blah’ bits of our day, no matter how insignificant. We end up with our needle stuck on the record of negativity (showing my age here) rather than seeing and focusing on all the fantastic things that are actually around us.  Research tell us it is a survival thing to keep the bad stuff in mind but maybe it is also that we are so accustomed to all our ‘pleasures’ and ‘freedoms’ that we are begin to take them for granted and expect them constantly.

When we take even a minute to focus on all the good things that are happening to us or around us it helps to lift our moods, our spirits and our health.  I know it can be hard when life is turning you upside down yet just a quick minute of thinking about the good in your life and giving a bit of thanks for that can actually improve your mood, improve your health and help you to live longer!

I am so grateful for a clear, crisp day; for my ability to climb up my kids 'adventure' trails; for my kids; for an obedient dog; for a camera to record the memory, for an injury free walk; for such a beautiful spot to live and much more.
I am so grateful for this clear, crisp day; for my ability to climb up my kids 'adventure' trails; for my kids; for an obedient dog; for a camera to record the memory and for getting to have this to look back on.

Remember though, just like one shower will never keep you clean for very long, the practice of gratitude needs to be a regular thing. Not necessarily daily but the practice of gratitude needs to be something that we make a point to do. Without it our lives don’t feel quite as good because we tend to focus on the things that aren’t great instead of what is. Honestly … I know from experience on this one that looking for the positive is a game changer!

Even in times when the world feels like it is falling in around you there is always something positive that you can be grateful for. The fact that you are alive, that the sun is shining, that you have unlimited access to the Internet, that you have running water inside, that you have heating, that you live in a culture that allows you personal freedoms could all be reasons to be grateful.

So to get you started with seeing the good give this little exercise a go. It has been modified from Christiane Northrup, M.D’s book.

-First think of something you can ‘brag’ about, something you are proud of. It could be a recent or distant achievement.

– Second identify something you are thankful for or appreciate having.  What do you have in your life that others in the world don’t and wish they did?

– Lastly think of a time when you were happy, truly happy, and let that bring a smile to your face as you move into your day.

Sometimes it is an effort to halt the wheels of negativity however it is an effort worth making regularly. Not only will it help increase your lifespan but it will make that life a little more pleasant to be in. Taking time to remember all the things we have in our lives that are great and wonderful will only benefit you and the people around you.

Hope this finds you counting your blessings already.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz

Wash your mouth out with soap

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My mother was a champion swearer. I’m not sure where she learnt her skills however she never lost them due to her daily practice. We were often subjected to a tirade of swearwords which were even combined with a song at times. The angrier she got the faster and higher pitch the swearing and singing combination would become. I find it hilarious now when I think back though at the time it often left me feeling terrified of what the outcome may be. Despite all of Mum’s swearing or maybe because of it, I never really swore as a child …. well at least not what I considered swearing …. though I have more than made up for that in adult years.

I learnt the art of seamlessly swearing while working in racing stables as a young teenager. It was here that I observed and mastered the skills of adding expletives into everyday conversation. I didn’t think anything of it as that was how all the jockeys, stable hands and trainers around me spoke. I must have been quite proficient too as I remember having a conversation with someone in my late teens where they were saying how rude and disgusting it was to use swearwords however when I mentioned that I did it all the time and apologized for upsetting them they were perplexed. It seems they hadn’t actually noticed how much I was swearing because of the way I used it which was hardly ever in anger.

I was good at reading the situations I was in and would often adapt my speech. After all it would have been a bit hard to get jobs outside of stable life and keep them if I was cussing non-stop. Swearing instead became a recreational pastime for me. The more relaxed I felt around someone, the more I felt I could be myself and as a consequence the more the swearwords would flow. Nothing has changed, even when I don’t really have to factor in keeping a job or protecting little one’s ears. In fact I noticed just the other day, while at our writing group, that I was swearing my head off and realized I had obviously reached a level of comfort with the group. A level of comfort where it felt safe to be me. I’m not sure that everyone appreciated my language however for me it was a sign that I had relaxed to a point where I could be myself without fear of judgement. A compliment to them as accepting women, though maybe trying to explain that wouldn’t quite come out right.

There are definitely words and phrases I don’t use though, words which even to my seasoned ears seem harsh and too aggressive in any context. Strangely enough ‘Shut up’ is one of these, thanks to my Uncle who washed my mouth out with soap after me saying it when I was little. I remember at the time thinking that of all the things I had heard my mother and siblings say ‘Shut up’ was a pretty safe option. Not to my Uncle though and so now anytime I hear it I shudder a little. Hearing the word instantly transports be back to being taken into their bathroom at the back of the house to have ‘my mouth washed out with soap’ and being told that sort of language would not be tolerated. His lesson on swearing was clearly learnt well! I’ll leave it to your imagination as to what the rest of the words are.

While I am actually quite comfortable with my swearing for the most part there is always that little voice in my head that tells me I shouldn’t. That little flashback of soap in my mouth which makes me assess the situation a little more closely. So imagine my delight when a few years back I read some research which indicated that swearing can be a sign of intelligence and then another study which said swearing can help in pain management. In fact there are many benefits to swearing like a sailor it seems. It was all music to my ears I can tell you.

So for all you fellow foul mouthed, intelligent and creative vocabulary users out there, I salute you. Time to do away with the shame and the shushing. Time to revel in the joys of expressing yourself in a way that is yours and yours alone. Obviously no-one wants to actively upset others and we do need to gauge the audience, a little at least, however at the same time you can take this as a reminder that it is OK to be you whatever that sounds like.

Arohanui

Y

www.becominghealthy.co.nz